Amy, a health coaching client of mine, recently asked me “Dr. Lombard, how do I take care of my family’s holiday food expectations while still staying on my Health Journey? I want them to be happy, but I also don’t want to sabotage my health or theirs.”
As parents and spouses, we want to take care of our family. Normally we don’t think about what we want. We make the holiday foods that they want...breakfast sausage casserole, monkey bread, four kinds of pie. Do they want those things? Or do they just eat them because that was always what I made for them?
How do we navigate these holiday and be healthier? Be understanding. The holidays in America are marketed as a time for over-eating of high-fat foods, excessive alcohol use and being sedentary. Your family needs your help to hear a different message — that the holidays are about family, connecting with each other and rejuvenating.
Make healthier food. You can make many of the traditional holiday foods in healthier ways. Do a little research ahead of time to find those healthier menu options. More likely than not, your family will not even know that you switched things up. Or, they be excited to try some different holiday foods this year.
Plan to stay active! During the holidays, we are all likely to eat more than we usually do. Plan to increase your activity and exercise level during these holiday weeks. Since you know you are likely to eat more, plan ahead to exercise more during the holidays. Plan long walks or do other physical activities with your family.
Embrace your healthy lifestyle. Being optimally health is not just something we do when it is easy. We do it every day. Some people in your life may resist it or may make negative comments about your health journey. But over time, as they see how your sustained good health improves your life, they will start asking for your help so they can start their own journey.