You really don’t want to eat ANOTHER serving of Aunt Jackie’s potato salad. But, you don’t want to hurt her feelings.
How do you honor your personal commitments without hurting your relationships?
It can be tricky, but something that you can do with a little bit of strategy and a lot of love.
Food pressure, feeling compelled to eat something or a quantity of food that is not supportive of your health or fitness goals. This pressure can be perceived, real, internal, or external. No matter where the pressure is coming from, the result is usually extra eating, feeling powerless, and weight gain. Learning to appropriate deal with food pressure can help you finally get through the holiday season while still looking and feeling amazing.
Here are some strategies that I have developed over the years. I hope they work for you too.
Offer to bring a few healthy dishes along to share.
Your plate won’t look empty because it will be filled with plenty of figure friendly options. When you are happily munching on your full plate, your family may not notice that you didn’t go back for your usual second serving of mom’s cornbread dressing. If your plate only has a few green beans and a slice of turkey, you can bet that someone is going to offer you more food.
Decide in advance when and how much you will indulge.
Much of the anguish and struggle that we feel from food pressure is caused by our indecisiveness. We have left our options open and the pressure of real time decision making zaps the fun out of our festivities. Rather than enjoying another round of spades with the family or getting lost in the hundredth debate about whose greens recipe is the best, we are wrestling with whether or not to have dessert.
Do yourself a favor and decide what you are having before you arrive so that you can be present, have fun, and stand firm if other people try to influence what you eat.
Be polite, yet stern, when others try to influence you. A simple, “No thanks. I am not having any of that today. But, THIS was amazing.” can go a long way. This line alone has worked like a charm for me. The host is instantly flattered by the comment and leaves you alone about what you aren’t eating.
If you go into a social situation with the thought, “I MAY have some dessert, a drink, etc”, you absolutely WILL have an indulgence and you will probably have more than you are comfortable having.
If someone pressures you about your food, tell them about your figure friendly choices with as much enthusiasm as you can muster up.
Confidence is convincing. When you share what you are eating and how amazing it makes you feel, people will back off. They may even want to join you in this new approach. Standing your ground, and being happy about it, can serve as motivation for yourself and others.
Don’t be a “Sad Sally”
This one is HUGE. My husband once told me that he kept bringing me festive food, despite my goals, because… “you are so happy when you eat”. Whoa! Talk about a wake up call. It wasn’t about what HE wanted me to eat. It was about the fact that I was miserable to be around because I was acting like a kid who wasn’t allowed to play with the others.
Realize that in most cases people really don’t care deeply about what is on your plate. Often times it is your Sad Sally demeanor that makes everyone pay attention to, and question, your food choices. When you don’t make everyone else miserable because you feel you are missing out, your food choices may very well fly under the radar. Come to the gathering prepared with a game plan. Stick to it and most of all be upbeat and fun- no one may even notice what you ate.
Even in the face of food pressure, remember that you have the sole power and responsibility to create the health, look, and fitness that you desire. If you consistently give your power to others, you will never attain the goals that are within your reach. At the end of the day, only you will live in your skin and you owe it to yourself to make the choices that will make you comfortable in that skin. Have a happy holiday season!
What did you think about this article? Do people in your family pressure you about your food choices? How do you cope? Sound off in the comments below.