There’s a lot of people in my profession that would snicker at this title.
Balancing health amidst family and friends is a tricky thing on a normal day, but then throw in a holiday that is notorious for overindulging and one that promotes fairies made of sugar plums and it mixes up to be a recipe for disaster.
If you know me, I’m all about health, healthy eating and lifestyle changes. But I’m also a believer in meeting my clients where they are at. If I have a client who eats steak three times a day, I’m not going to suggest they go vegan tomorrow. That would be too abrupt and it likely would never last.
I teach a lot of clients how to make changes in their life to help them lose weight, fight inflammation and reduce pain. When we first embark on a program together, it’s about making small, achievable changes rather than go all in 100% on day one. It’s just too overwhelming for most people and it would resemble a diet, or a short term program that has an end date; these rarely work because you always end up back to your old ways that got you to this point in the first place. Our end goal is long term lifestyle changes that work for that client. AND it’s very important to note that said client has to be ready and willing to make those changes.
Change is difficult for most people. Every one of us makes and accepts changes at a different rate. This is extremely important to keep in mind as you yourself change, not everyone around you is going to automatically follow suite. They are on their own path and forcing them to follow yours will likely scare them away.
So, how do you balance all of this? Here’s my 2-step approach:
First, take care of you. Make at least one thing you want, ideally more! As the saying goes- put your oxygen mask on first. Do it for you, your way.
Second, ensure that there is food to cover everyone one else. You don’t have to eat it.
If making other foods that you don’t eat causes you stress, enlist the help of others to get it done. Give up the idea that you have to control everything. If that means having cousin Eddie make the turkey- let it happen.
If you are in charge of the whole meal, talk it through and find out what the absolute must-haves are. If it really comes down to it, buy a pre-cooked meal. Sure it means paying a little more for it, but consider the amount of time and stress it would cause you to make it. It’s all about trade offs.
Just because YOU don’t want to eat certain things does not have to limit what others eat. This may sound harsh, but we all have the right to decide for ourselves.
And yes, I know there are some exceptions- like ‘his doctor told him not to eat that…’ or perhaps you just want them all to eat better.
Unfortunately, you forcing it may only makes matters worse. Let them come to it in their own time. In the mean time, don’t make fun of their choice and hopefully they will return the same courtesy.
Do offer to share your healthy alternative. You’ll be surprised at how often others will try it and like it when they don’t feel forced.
Let’s review that two step rule:
1. satisfy your needs first.
2. then help others rather than not giving them options.
It really can be that simple.