Food for Thought: Team WAG's Holiday Survival Guide

Many UBites (myself included) have joined WAG (Working Against Gravity) to get their nutrition on point.  But many hear "Thanksgiving" and "eggnog" and all their work comes to a crashing halt.  WAG released a Holiday Survival Guide to help prep you for Turkey Day later this week, and I thought it was worth sharing.  I posted an excerpt below, but you can find the rest here.

As the weather starts changing and pumpkin spiced everything arrives, the giddy kid in each of us knows that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The season is wonderful for spending time with those you love and catching up with friends.

If you’re someone who is working hard to be mindful of nutrition, the idea of spending every weekend attending a holiday party, or perhaps having several Thanksgiving dinners, might conjure up a bit of anxiety...

  • How will I resist all the yummy treats?
  • Will I be able to host a holiday dinner for my family while still balancing my goals?
  • Will I be able to be in control of my food if I’m not preparing it?
  • What if my family doesn’t understand?

Anticipating these concerns, we’ve developed this Team WAG Holiday Survival Guide. With a little bit of planning and a little bit of flexibility, we know after reading this you will have the skills you need to make this a happy, healthy and tasty holiday season.

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Handling Pressure

With larger family gatherings, it’s safe to assume there will be a few questions, curiosities or maybe even some not so nice comments about being mindful of what’s going on your plate.

Some of this comes from a genuine place of wondering what you’re doing to look so svelte in your holiday sweater but how do you respond to pressure and criticism?

The most important thing here is to realize that all of your efforts to take control of your nutrition and wellness are for you. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel as if what you are doing is silly, an inconvenience or “taking it too far.” You deserve to feel safe and secure knowing that you are focused on taking care of yourself!

Here are some easy tips to handle your responses, as well as some of the emotion that may come along with family dinners and holiday get togethers:

Go in with a positive mindset

It’s easy to let anxiety overshadow the positive possibilities of seeing all your loved ones. If you have already decided that it’s going to be a stressful time and that everyone is going to be critical of you — that’s exhausting! Try to be patient and allow room for curiosity. Being open to sharing a bit about what you’re working on could be an opportunity for valuable conversations.

Have a separate support system

Reach out to supportive friends to help remind you of how amazing you’re doing and that you have the skills to make it through any event. It can feel isolating when you’re feeling like the odd one out at family gatherings, so getting in touch with someone who is facing the same challenges, or just a good friend who has your back, can be truly affirming.

Work on some non-confrontational comebacks

We realize that, unfortunately, there will be some relatives that just want to push your buttons. You can’t be responsible for their reactions to your lifestyle, but you can choose how you respond. Something quick and polite like, “Right now I have specific goals I’m working towards and this is one tool that I’m using to achieve them” or “I appreciate your concern but I’m actually really happy with the way I’m eating.” By flipping the tone into something positive, rather than responding defensively, shows them that they can’t drag you down! I bet they will be impressed. 

Go in with a plan

Whether you decided to pack your scale or eat mindfully, developing a plan beforehand allows you to stay focused, despite peer pressure. Remember that this is a choice you’re making to invest in your goals and to your health and nobody can take that away from you.

At the end of the day, it comes down to owning your truth and giving yourself permission to focus on your priorities. The holidays give you a chance to spend time with your loved ones, but, remember, that includes giving yourself attention and care too!

Once you have created your plan stick to it! If you decided you would have only a taste of dessert, treat that like an unbreakable promise to yourself that can’t be changed last minute (regardless of how delicious the pecan pie smells).

Read the rest of WAG's Holiday Survival Guide here.