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Healthy Holiday Survival Guide

For me, the holidays are always a special time. As busy as the year can get, days like Thanksgiving and Christmas mean that my daughters will be with me. Some of my most treasured memories are holidays spent quietly at home with them or holidays spent on our family sailboat.

Your holidays should be just as special, but we often hear that this time of year is frustrating and disheartening because of how often get-togethers with family and friends also come with buffets full of unhealthy foods and well-meaning family members encouraging us to indulge in piles of desserts. Even for the members of our community thriving in Ultrahealth, these can be difficult situations.

It is possible to enjoy the holidays for what they are meant to be—a time to create memories with our loved ones—without compromising your goals or your Habits of Health.

Here’s how:

  • Talk to your health coach. Your health coach has been in your shoes, and he or she will have insights into what might work best for you. This kind of support is invaluable, and you should take advantage of it.
  • Talk to your loved ones beforehand. When grandma encourages you to have a big helping of pumpkin pie, she means well and is using food to express her love. Instead of waiting until that moment to talk to her about your health journey, reach out to her (and other members of your family) to explain what you are aiming to accomplish and why it is important to you. If you do this ahead of time, you can prevent difficult conversations in the moment.
  • Rely on the buddy system. If you know you will be tempted to overeat or to break from your health plan, ask someone you respect to hold you accountable. When you have someone there to remind you of your goals, making the healthy choice can become easier.
  • Rehearse and visualize. You can likely predict the kinds of challenges you will face over the holidays, so imagine the situations ahead of time and act out in your mind how you will respond. Don’t feel silly (no one will ever know you did this exercise). This little bit of practice can help you to overcome the momentum of the moment.
  • Eat ahead of time and drink lots of water. If you eat ahead of time and enter an event already feeling full, you will find it easier to say no to unhealthy foods. As the event progresses, drink lots of water, and if you have to eat more of something, eat healthy vegetables (not casseroles or veggie trays covered in dressings and cheeses).
  • Give yourself a reward for sticking to your Habits of Health. Before you attend your first event, think of a reward you can give yourself for doing the right thing. Make it personal and meaningful. Maybe you treat yourself to a day at the spa or pick up a new outfit. What it is does not matter as long as it gives you something to look forward to.

Remember, our goal here is for you to enjoy what really matters—time with loved ones. Holidays do not have to be about food and drink, and you have the power and the ability to make that shift in your own life.

From my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.

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