Now that we are in November, it’s officially the holiday season. The last quarter of the year at least here in the US is packed with so many holidays and family gatherings it can become very stressful. And if you are lucky enough to be blessed with a chronic illness, that stress level skyrockets, sending you into major flare-ups.
- Are you freaking about something?
- Do you have fear about what your condition or symptoms will do to you if you say YES to the events?
- Are you constantly focused on the foods you can have?
- Are you saying NO to events because of the food choices?
Life doesn’t have to be that way.
Yes, you may have to leave a few things at the buffet or on your plate, but you still can show up to the event and enjoy the company. You can still pick some of the active activates that you are worried you don’t have the energy to keep up with. You can still spend that time with your crazy [insert family member or friend] that you love so much that you just want to spend time AWAY from them. You know the one, the one that boils your blood and makes you feel worse than you did before.
The holidays should be about connecting and enjoy the company of others. They should be a time of joy, love, health, abundance, and life. However, when your chronic crap takes the drivers wheel, it can quickly take a turn for the worst and make your holidays miserable.
Food, a scary, scary topic right?
Bloating, urgent trips to the restroom, hoping you made it (what about those times you didn’t). Not wanting to be that person that isn’t eating with everyone else. For some reason we have lost the true meaning of the holiday gatherings and put way to much focus on food and what goes in our pile hole, not what words come out of it. The Holidays show be a time of joy where you get to spend your time with others (even if they drive your freaking crazy) and getting to see friends and family you might only get to see at this time of year.
Why is it our focus has become, THE FOOD. Have you declined and invite to a party that you wanted to go to because of your dietary restrictions of possible flare-up symptoms. If you have, you are not alone. It’s time to stop letting FOOD drive your choices. It’s just as bad as letting illness drive your choices. It’s time for you to start saying YES again.
Here are some useful tools to start thriving during the holidays, even if you have a chronic condition that tries to kick your booty and take away your joy.
Here are some of my favorite tips to get past the food fear, NO response on your RSVP!
- Bring something with you to share. It’s a WIN-WIN. Not only can you eat but just became that kick booty guest that brought something amazing to share with everyone. I know you’ll be the most awesome person there. IF you bring an appetizer, make sure it’s something that fills you up, in case you can’t eat anything else.
- Eat before you go, I know, why the heck would you do this. There are many reasons. If you have bowel issues with foods that are hiding in things, it can be the difference between you running to the bathroom or pooping your pants, or being able to hang out and connect with others. If you are not starving when you show up you will be less tempted to keep dipping that amazing, crunching, sourdough into all the yummy cheese, spinach, artichokes dips, over and over again. Before I get off on a tangent, you get what I’m saying. There will be a temptation and it is easier to fall for it when you are having a good time and not being mindful about what you’re putting in your pinhole.
- Know your limitations and don’t push it. I’m talking about with foods in this case. If your body can handle a small amount of cheese before you become a bloated, gassy mess, only have a small amount or none at all if you are in public. If you’re at a place that is serving food, ask about what’s in things, don’t assume it’s ok for your body. If you can make changes to what you are eating, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for things to be changed from the menu. It really is ok to be that person at the table with the changes, try not to go too overboard if possible. If you can’t make requests, like you are eating at a family’s house, hang in the kitchen and watch for hidden things being added. I know for me, garlic and onions are a HARD LIMIT so I watch what seasonings and dressings go on things before I put it in my mouth. And honestly, I’ve never been to a party where there isn’t some sort of safe food I can eat. (I will talk about food or other illness conversations at the dinner table in a future blog)
- Be prepared (spare clothes, supplements, snacks in your bag). If you are ever around me and hungry speak up. 99% of the time I have snacks in my purse or pocket. Never know where you will end up and with hypoglycemia I have to be prepared.
- Drinks. This one could be another blog post in itself but I’m going to give the cliff note version. It’s ok to not drink. Honesty, I have a cocktail maybe 3-4 times a year at most. If people ask, just say you are not drinking or I have my car. If you don’t want people asking and you are out and about I always offer to buy a round of drinks and go talk to the bartender myself, They always come up with something that is friendly to my needs and looks like a blended cocktail. Most of the time I get bubble water, with fruit muddled in it. Now you have a fancy “mocktail” in your hand so no one is asking and everyone is stocked you just brought them a round of drinks. I’d call that winning.
I know that the holidays can be a bit scary with all the delicious food that comes out, but don’t let that food rule your decision on showing up to mingle. It’s not about the food, it’s about the connection, interactions, and the time you get to spend with others. If you are struggling with this concept please reach out to me It’s time for you to take back control of your life so you are able to live fully, without all the restrictions. And if your restrictions are from crazy weight-loss, body image diets, we have a lot to talk about. You deserve to be in control of your life. Don’t let your illness, food, or anyone else take the wheel and decide where you are going. Side note: if you really don’t want to go somewhere you can always pull those excuses back out (just make sure to not get stuck living as those excuses).
Are you ready to say YES to all the invites this holiday season? I’m doing a series in my FREE Healthy Habits Party. If you want the 411 on the VIP Invite, click here! Together we will take back the holidays and enjoy this time of the year.
HERE’s your VIP INVITE
Because the holidays have me in the giving mood. Here is one more free tool for your toolkit, I want to share. If you are ready to start taking back your life, and ready to put your chronic stuff in the trunk so you can drive again. Check out Diagnosed Freedom Start with this simple (but effective!) exercise. I’ll walk you through a DIY assessment of your situation and show you action steps you can take right away to turn things around in all areas of your life. This is the same exercise I used when I took control of my own illnesses and, for me, it was a huge step towards reclaiming my power and taking control of my life. No matter how you’re feeling today, you deserve to enjoy life to the fullest! You have the power to choose how you’ll live.