I was going to title this post Surviving Holiday Gatherings but I think that puts too negative of a spin on what should be some of the most important times of the year – Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I think it’s better to talk about how we can have Thriving Holiday Gatherings. I’ll keep this relatively short since I know everyone is probably running at a million miles an hour with the holidays approaching. So I jotted down 6 ways we can approach the holiday gatherings that many of us will be attending with a healthy approach on food and people allowing us to thrive, not just survive.
1. Focus on protein
I often joke with my wife about one season of The Bachelorette when this dude Chad was on the season. Every shot they always showed him eating all the meat they would provide for free, when they interviewed him he said something along the lines of it’s free protein so he’s gonna eat as much as possible. I kinda take the same approach to any type of gathering, just focus on eating as much protein provided as possible. It’s satiating and delicious and will keep you full enough to not be tempted by all the other things that may be on display. And when I do this my wife always jokes that I’m pulling a Chad.
2. Minimize carbs
Now if you’re eating a bunch of protein your plate should already be pretty full, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat just a little of your Grandma’s sweet potato pie or some family tradition of mashed potatoes or something like that. If you limit yourself to just a little bit you’re gonna satisfy everyone and it’s still not that many carbs in the big picture. One little scoop is a lot different than a heaping pile of mashed potatoes and one slice of turkey. Bleh. Flip the script. Fill your plate with the protein and then squeeze in some starch on the side here or there.
3. Embrace conversation
Realize that the time you’re with the people at whatever gathering you may be at has a purpose. So often we can go through these types of family or friend gatherings and just “make” it through the conversations. Believe me, I’m an ISTJ so I’m not one for conversing, but that doesn’t make it right. We were made to be communal people. Try asking truly how others are doing, seek to understand them and what’s going on in their lives. So often these gatherings happen with people we only see for a few times a year, or maybe even less, so make the most of the time you have with the people you’re around. Maybe you needed to be there to ask how that person is doing or for you to grow in some way. I know it’s a weird concept in this day of constantly sharing and posting and projecting ourselves – try for a second to be about others and not yourself.
4. Fast from your phone
Now this one goes hand in hand with embracing conversation. This may sound crazy but try to go a whole gathering without using your phone. You’ll survive I promise. It will feel weird. You’ll get phantom vibrations but remember there was a time where we didn’t have phones to distract us. And that’s literally what the phones do when we’re at gatherings like this – they distract. Try to even put your phones in something like this locking cookie jar. Heck have everyone put their phones in it when they come in the door. That’ll be a conversation starter right there. Now I know what you’re thinking “what about taking pictures?!” – let’s be honest – how often do you go back and look at all those pictures, I know I rarely do. Work at building memories instead of just a ton of unused pictures. If you still want one picture just be super intentional at the end of the day to take one group photo or something.
5. Don’t talk about diet
Don’t be that guy (or girl) who all they literally talk about is how they’re paleo, primal, keto or vegan. We are all annoying. You may be super excited to talk about your diet and how well it’s working for you but I guarantee you that someone will be on some other diet or worst they’re self conscious because they’re not on any diet and they just want to enjoy all the food piled up on their plate. Inevitably all conversations about diet will then lead to arguments, and these gatherings have people from all walks of life so it’s bound to have a ton of different opinions collide when the topic of diet comes up. Save talking about diet for Instagram or with someone you see every single day and you run out of everything else to talk about. You don’t want to be remembered as the person who was talking abut gluten and lectins the whole time. You want to be remembered as the person who was humble, kind and caring – right?
6. Eat the dessert
The end of the day comes around and you’ve had great conversation. You’ve fasted from technology. You’ve eaten a ton of protein. But that pumpkin pie is still staring at you… guess what? Just eat it. Don’t let food control you. You control what you eat. And at the end of the day if you really want that sentimental piece of pumpkin pie or banana pudding just have a little bit. You won’t get unhealthy from one bite of pumpkin pie just as you can’t get healthy from one slice of grass fed rib eye. Eat responsibly and still enjoy yourself because one bite of something that will really satisfy you will be worth it. Just don’t eat the whole pie…
That’s it guys. Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hold the selfies, put the ’Gram away. Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray. Take care!