There are many ways that the holidays can create stress and overwhelm in our lives. The least of which is when it comes to food. Unfortunately, this is the time of the year when you get hit from all sides about the food you should consume. Whether it is friends, family, or co-workers, everyone is trying to get you to eat things that are bad for you. If you need help surviving the holidays, here are some tips for you!
Just a Little Bite Won’t Hurt, Will it?
It’s very hard to get other people to understand that eating foods you react to will actually hurt you. They push you in the name of love because food equals love in our culture. Then, you feel this enormous pressure to cave out of fear of offending them or hurting their feelings. This is a social norm that we have to deal with during this time of year.
In the end, when others are pushing you to eat foods that are bad for you, they are asking you to commit self-harm. This is where you have to draw a line and let them know that even a little bite is detrimental to your health and can make you extremely sick. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean your body is going to be ok with you feeding it garbage.
Don’t Wait Until New Year’s to be Healthy
Another social norm that we deal with is New Year’s resolutions. Most often, people make these resolutions about their weight goals. A lot of people spend two months destroying their health by eating garbage, and then they want to commit to stopping on January 1st.
Instead of putting your health in jeopardy this holiday season, commit to making a healthy resolution right this minute, before you go to the next party.
Surviving Food During the Holidays
Before you head to a family get together or work party, you need to have a game plan in place on what you are going to say when the offending food is offered to you. This is a tough thing to navigate through because it involves the emotions of people you love. For example, you’re going to have to explain to your grandmother why you aren’t able to eat her famous cookies or tell your aunt why you can’t have her homemade pie.
Understanding The Psychology Behind The Pressure
If you have been on a grain-free, gluten-free diet for a while, you’ve no doubt already experienced this to some degree. You tell a friend or family member that you can’t eat something and then they try to convince you that a small bite won’t hurt you. When you stand firm, they start picking your diet apart or calling you names like “health nut”.
It’s important to understand the psychology behind their reaction because it will help you navigate your response. This is the same type of response smokers have to people that are trying to quit. When someone tries to quit smoking, the other smokers will tell them they don’t need to. Not because they don’t want that other person to be healthy, but because they don’t want the pressure to quit.
Your Diet Change Causes Fear in Others
Whether you like it or not, your diet changes will cause fear in those around you. When you tell them that eating something will damage your health, they start questioning if it will hurt them. The truth is, they likely already know that they are damaging their bodies with the food they are eating.
Doing the right thing, even when it comes to your health, is not without judgment. You are going to get a lot of push back because you are inadvertently asking others to look at themselves.
Make a Plan For Surviving The Holidays
If you are planning to visit family for the holidays or even go to parties, you need to develop a plan ahead of time. Consider the type of situations you are going to find yourself in and come up with solutions ahead of time so you don’t cave to the pressure.
Here are a few things that you can do this holiday season to stay on track with your diet:
1. Choose the Best Place to Stay
A day trip is not necessarily the problem, but if you are going to be away for a few days, then you need to choose the best place to stay. If you think your family or friends are not going to accommodate your special food needs, then it might be best to stay in a hotel. This will give you the space to nourish your body without judgment or a fight.
Find a hotel that has a kitchenette so that you can prepare your food. Take a cooler with your food and put together a suitcase that has what you need.
2. Prepare the Host Ahead of Time
You don’t need to demand that the host take your special diet into account, but you do need to let them know that you might not be able to eat the food they’ve made. It’s really important to let them know this ahead of time so their feelings are not hurt. This way, you don’t show up on the day of and snub your nose at their hours of work.
Explain to them that while you really love their cookies, pie, or special recipe, you found out that grains and gluten are causing major health issues in you. But, you don’t want to be a burden to them so they should feel free to eat the foods they love, even if you can’t.
3. Hosting The Party Yourself
Maybe you are in a position where you can host the party yourself. But, it comes with its own challenges, because you don’t want to cross-contaminate your cooking utensils. Cooking with the normal ingredients for festivities isn’t a good idea for you. In this case, let your guests know that they should bring their favorite foods to the party.
Another option is to look at putting a spin on traditional classics that will remove the grains, dairy, and sugar that you are avoiding. There are ways to make pumpkin pies without the crust and dairy-free. Let your guests know ahead of time what to expect at your dinner table.
The holidays can be a difficult time, but by planning ahead, you can stick with your diet and surviving the holidays will be just what you do! You’ll be able to enjoy the time with your family without confrontation at the dinner table. Stick to your plan. I’m rooting for you!