Take a deep breath. I know that the bustle of the holidays is already sweeping you away. You are thinking about everything you need to do and all of the promises you have to keep, but as you jump from gathering to gathering and as you check your list once and then twice, there is one thing I want you to remember:
For many people pursuing optimal wellbeing, the holidays create a special kind of anxiety. We sometimes face peer pressure from our loved ones who want us to forget our Habits of Healthy Eating for “just a day.” We see piles of cookies in the breakroom. We are lovingly invited to extra nights out for drinks. At every turn, we face temptations and challenges.
Perhaps the greatest obstacle during the holidays are the people we care about most. When grandma pushes a big piece of pie to you, she is genuinely doing it out of love, not realizing how hard you have worked to build new Habits of Health and how important your journey to optimal health really is.
You’re not alone. Nearly all of us have faced these situations before. Here’s the good news: We can help.
As you head into the holiday season, follow these steps to enjoy the season without sacrificing your Habits of Health:
- Talk to your loved ones ahead of time (before you’re sitting at the dinner table waving away a big plate of food). Tell grandma that you know she loves you and that you really do love her cooking and then explain your health goals. Tell her that what matters to you is spending time with her, and you hope she can understand how important your health is to you.
- Plan for support and use the buddy system. Ask your spouse or a fellow loved one to encourage you to stick to your Habits of Health. If you have an extra voice reminding you of your goals, you are more likely to make healthier choices.
- Look for healthy alternatives. If you’re sure that healthy options will not be available where you are going, bring your own. When you have healthy food to eat, you won’t have the challenge of a rumbling stomach while everyone around you eats.
- Drink a lot of water. If you stay hydrated, hunger cravings will be less intense. Carry your water bottle with you throughout the holidays, and take a sip whenever you feel tempted to eat something out of plan.
- Gameplan with your coach. Your coach knows you and understands the challenges you face. Before the holidays get too busy, reach out and get your coach’s input on what you can do to make your holiday healthy and happy.
Don’t dread the holidays. You can spend time with the people who matter most to you and celebrate what really counts—not food, the people.