And What About My Kids?
Feeling anxious about the holiday parties and events when it comes to food? Playing through your head how you’re not going to have any willpower and give in to the drinks or the treats? Ok ok, we hear ya, slow down, read our top tips to helping avoid overwhelm and still feel your best.
1. Know that one night or weekend won’t “ruin” things. There are times to enjoy and fill your “soul cup”. Without treating yourself here and there, you’ll find yourself in a world of all or nothing mindset. We want to learn balance here. Have the treats, truly enjoy them, move on. If you reflect on the event or weekend and realize that was too much or not what you really wanted – great! A learning opportunity. Keep this in mind for next time, play out what you can do instead for the next time you have an event or weekend like that.
2. You can choose to not participate. Not in the event, but in the food or alcohol part. You’re there to spend time with people you love right? Not the food/drink. Ask yourself, “Is this really what I want? Will this help me feel how I want to feel later?” If not, you can choose to not drink. You can bypass the mac’n’cheese or treats – or whatever may contribute to you not feeling good (or increasing cravings – what we think is a lack of “willpower” is just hyperpalatable foods and our brain acting accordingly).
You are not responsible for other people’s feelings, so you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings but your own (only oneself can create their own feelings). No need to people please, that only leads to more stress and anxiety (we know this takes time to change). Time to say YES to you. And you can say no, without an explanation. If that feels harsh to you, totally normal that’s ok, and you have some work to do. In the meantime, you can say something like, “That doesn’t make me feel good.” Or, “That looks amazing, yet I’m good with this drink for now”. Or if you want to make them feel useful, you can ask them to make you a soda water with a squeeze of lime, or for extra helpings of the protein or veggie dish.
3. Go into it with the mindset of, “There’s likely not going to be anything there for me, yet if there is, great! What a bonus.” This means you’re not relying on the food or drink there. You can eat ahead of time. Eat afterwards. Or bring your own dish! I’ve showed up to pizza parties with my own crust, with extra protein, and a veggie try countless times. If you don’t make a big deal of it, neither will they. Keep the focus on the people, be present in your conversations and watch how easy it becomes.
Now remember, if people do express concern in that you’re too restrictive, or that they are offended – that is not your issue. If you feel the need to say something or respond, try something like… “I appreciate your concern, yet this is what makes me feel best.” Stay kind, firm and consistent! (If you have children, you know what I mean – it works for adults too!)
Lastly, once the festivities are done, ask yourself if you want the rest of the treats or candy to be in your house. If not, bring it to the office or throw it away!
For you parents who may not want your kids eating all the processed, dye filled, sugary candy…
- You can provide other options – at least the ones you have in your house. You can even swap it out when they come home after trick or treating. Justin’s nut butter cups, dark chocolate, Smart Sweets, GF crackers, fruit bars, etc.
- Have a rule on how many they can have daily and when.
- Have the conversation with them if/when they ask why they can’t have more or that kind. If they are young enough, you don’t have to and can simply swap things out. If they are at a certain age, you can ask them how that candy makes them feel. Energy. Tummy. Cravings. Happiness, etc.
- Treats don’t have to equal experience. You can make the experience without the cake or fun drinks. It’s up to you to do that for your kid, and yourself!
- Set the example yourself. If they see you eating all the things without limitations, that is what they see as normal.
They will likely be exposed to the processed stuff via school or friends at some point, so make it a point to be welcoming in that conversation with them and help empower them to make that decision on their own. Yes, they may have the candy or soda, and that may break your knowledgeable heart, but remind yourself that it can be a learning experience and a phase. Rules or boundaries are helpful (firm, kind, consistent – goes a long way), yet if you restrict too much, you may find them sneaking it or wanting it more (did you ever see the rebellious kid at school? Or was that you?) The knowledge behind it and bit of exposure can help keep things balanced in the long run.