With so many holiday traditions centered on food, this time of year can stoke the anxieties of many people who wish to balance their nutrition goals with family celebrations. Unfortunately, we are all too often encouraged to equate festivities with overeating. Though the holidays can and should be a time to gather with loved ones and feel supported, many people feel pressured into making food-related decisions that they normally wouldn’t. This can be exacerbated by relatives or friends who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to food. For patients who are trying to stick to their goals, this can prove isolating and leave them with a sense of missing out on the holidays.
As our friend Haley Goodrich points out on her blog: we need to approach the holidays with balanced and realistic expectations – and encourage our clients to do the same. Mindfulness, especially during the holidays, can help us focus on what is important without sacrificing the holiday spirit. Remember, there are plenty of aspects of holiday celebrations that have nothing to do with food. In a recent article for The Seattle Times, dietitian Carrie Dennett provided some excellent tips for managing holiday eating. It is important to set boundaries that make us feel healthy and safe, and allow us to approach the holidays comfortably.
The bottom line is around this time of year, many factors can cause clients to change their food behaviors. When this happens, we can promote healthy goal setting, encourage healthy choices moving forward, and remind them that a few larger meals or less healthy choices do not erase all of the progress that they’ve been working hard on all year.
Check back next week for more on encouraging realistic goal setting over the holidays and in the new year!
Do you discuss making mindful food choices over the holidays with your clients? Comment below!