Holidays Do Not Have To Be Hard

A quick post today to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day. As you remember those who served in a branch of the military and passed away, you may get together with friends or family. Even though we do not have anyone in our immediate family who falls into this category, we still get together and have a special meal together.

Holidays can be difficult for those of us who struggle with food. I’ve found that all holidays can be hard if I’m not careful, but with some planning, it does not have to be that way.

Tip #1

The first thing I do when we are having a meal in celebration of a holiday is decide in advance whether I will have a “treat” or not. I know that may seem backward, but then I don’t have to worry about it. Normally I will have a “treat” if the treat is something I love, but if there are just going to be store bought cookies or other processed dessert present, I just pass.

Tip #2

If it is possible, I try to cook a good part of the meal, or at least plan on bringing a few healthy options. This keeps me in a little bit of control which also helps me avoid feeling stuck with the unhealthy food that often graces the potluck tables at many picnics or holiday dinners.

Tip #3

If I cannot bring anything, I just rely on good old-fashioned self-control to avoid eating too much. I use small plates, commit to making the healthiest choices possible, and avoid going back for seconds unless it is salad or vegetables. Then I make sure to spend lots of time talking with friends, keeping up with the kids, or playing games.

As you celebrate this Memorial Day, I hope that you will enjoy the day and realize that healthy eating at holidays is just like any other day. It is about good choices and reasonable expectations.

Do you have any tips for handling the holidays that may help someone else? Diane


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  1. I’ll add #5 and #6 to your tips and Norma’s addition………..

    5) stay as far away from the food area/table as you can. Make your initial choices, then don’t return. (not so easy if it’s a meal around a table)

    6) keep reminding yourself that it is only for a few hours. In just a short time, the food will be gone and the temptation over. You’ll be wishing you hadn’t stuffed yourself. It isn’t worth it.
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  2. One of the things you shared in your book that really hit me is how you approach special days just like any other day, in regards to eating. I had not thought about them that way, saw them as challenges and that set me up to either feel deprived or overeat.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Fail Better and Better and BetterMy Profile

    • I forgot to add a tip – for me, I’d say that the best thing is sometimes what comes after… so no matter what I eat, if I indulge a little, a lot or not at all, I don’t let that snowball into hours or days of eating off plan. (Or start days before!) Once I cheated at both ends!
      Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Fail Better and Better and BetterMy Profile

  3. Babbalou says:

    I know it ‘s not always possible, but I try to incorporate some enjoyable exercise into the activities of a holiday. (I can ‘t believe that for four years I lived a few blocks from the staging area for the New York City Thanksgiving Day parade and never had a chance to see it because I was tied to the kitchen all day.). I’m no longer willing to spend all day cooking, even though I love to cook – I’ve simplified holiday meal menus so I have time to take a nice bike ride or enjoy a long walk. It is relaxing and helps me shift the focus away from the food.

  4. Happy one to you Diane!!! Me, I do what you do & that is why I love your book so much! We live based on the same principles! :-)
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & The Tale of the Hair; Happy Memorial DayMy Profile

  5. Check, check and check! :)

    I read this just after finishing a 30-minute Jillian Michaels interval workout….that’s what I would add to the list.

    Getting some exercise in might help counteract “damage” done at barbecues. :)

    Have a good day, Diane!
    Leah recently posted…Memorial DayMy Profile

  6. A lot of people go to these eating events starving which is just setting yourself up for failure. I know it seems strange but just because there’s going to be good there, doesn’t mean you have to eat. If you eat a healthy meal before you go, you can just nibble on the few things you really want to have. Also, to add to what you said about bringing food, bring the item you will have the most trouble resisting. For example, if dessert is your thing, bring dessert. If you can’t pass up potato salad, bring your own “lightened up” version. I always bring a pasta salad with lots of fresh veggies and a lightened up Italian dressiing. Everyone loves it, including the kids.

  7. These are all great tips! Thank you
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  8. Having a plan makes all the difference doesn’t it! I really like all your tips.

    Stress of being around people I don’t get along with or see eye to eye with sets me up for a perfect storm for over eating. I think days like today, where the real meaning of the day is to honor men and women who have gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country. Helps me remember as much as the people around me upset me sometimes. Though our view points may not be aligned, at our core we are the same, we love our country the same too. If I cannot recognize this I am better not going to the event at all.
    WishfulShrinking recently posted…Day 326My Profile

  9. No tips from me – I’m avoiding any issues by not having this be a particularly special ‘food’ day. I got my birthday and Christmas to really go all out, everything else is just on plan and coping as needed. Deciding whether a treat will be had beforehand is a golden tip, by the way!
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  10. A great tip for a buffet meal is to only have one plate of food, one piece of dessert, and then to help out with the washing up once you’ve finished – it stops you hanging round the table hoovering up the leftovers!

    Also I like to fill at least half my plate with salad, and avoid a lot of the pastry products as these pile on the calories.
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  11. Love the tips you’re providing and you’re right. Holidays don’t need to be hard at all.
    blackhuff recently posted…A bit of meMy Profile

  12. I love this.
    it can be SUPERSUPER SPECIAL and yet still have nothing to do with special food….
    Miz recently posted…Four tips for finding your resistance training mojo.My Profile

  13. I’m avoiding any issues by not having this be a particularly special ‘food’ day. I got my birthday and Christmas to really go all out, everything else is just on plan and coping as needed. Thanks for letting stopped by.
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