3 Tips Surviving the Holidays

3 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

Guest Blogger Lifestyle Health, Mindfulness

What worries you the most about surviving the holidays? I asked 10 friends and guess what? The response was 10 different concerns. They ran the gamut from having too many invites to being alone or feeling lonely because they turned some down. The biggest worry was weight gain from all the goodies, parties, special meals and there was a chuckle as they spoke knowing that they would indulge. The one that got an embarrassed laugh was looking forward to being with extended family and also wishing she could ditch the family.

I turned to a special friend who I knew had a handle on many of these worries and asked her to give me her 3 top tips for surviving the holidays.

Hope Stanger, is a holistic coach with an extraordinary approach to healthy eating – having created Chewless Mondays on her Facebook page  she shares her thoughts on how to get through the holidays based on a talk she has given for the past twelve years around this time of year. 

1.  Never skip a meal

This is my number 1 nutrition recommendation. Anytime we think we overeat or eat richer or more “fattening” foods, we tend to want to change our daily routine and often skip meals.

This kind of deprivation promotes unhealthy eating, and ultimately, weight gain and mood imbalance. We want to stay consistent with our eating habits during this time of year; Consistency creates Balance. Let go of the quick-fix diet mentality and go with the slow and steady nourishing food plan. We are allowed to be human and have some food adventures, and sometimes, that might include eating more or differently than usual. It’s OK to do this! Enjoy the special foods you get to eat this month. Our bodies easily adjust to the changes during the holidays if we don’t overreact and stay calm. Trust your body to take care of you.

Honor that whatever food choice you make is the right choice and enjoy your next meal without guilt.

If you are too full to eat, wait a little while or eat a smaller portion.

2.  Balance your holiday meals with your normal way of eating

Have at least one meal a day that supports your body with balancing and energizing foods. Have this meal be a meal like the one you would normally eat the other 364 days of the year.  Surround and honor yourself with some of your typical foods. If you are going away, pack a cooler with a few of your Core Foods. Yes, this Really works! My clients are so happy coming back from holiday vacations because they feel balanced. They were able to eat the special foods of the season with their families and friends and not feel bad at all, because they had some of their typical foods to keep them thriving. It’s how we get our bodies to honor us; by honoring ourselves. When the body recognizes that you are still treating it with love and nourishment, it gives that right back to you!

Go to the market the first day you are there, and pick up a few foods that support your normal way of eating. If you are used to making smoothies, bring a portable blender. Make it super easy for yourself to do this. If you normally eat steel cut oats for breakfast, bring a bag with you. Whatever is typical for You is what you want to remember to bring in each day. If you have cereal in the morning at home, and it really works for you, and now you’re having pancakes every day, have cereal one day to remember. If you love vegetables but your family doesn’t, pick some up and make a salad.

This does not set you apart from others; in fact, by taking really good care of yourself, it allows for you to truly appreciate the holiday foods that you eat and know they are cooked with love, and you become more present with and connected to the people in your life because there is no negative self-talk going on. I have heard stories of family members wanting to have some of what the person brought with them! 

3.  Make a list of things you’ve accomplished this year

As the year closes, we tend to look to resolutions for the new year. These are all about what we feel we haven’t done well and want to alter.

Why not stop to see all the wonderful, powerful ways in which we Have made forward movement in our lives. Run through the past year in your mind; what actions, conversations and decisions brought you even a little bit closer to your goals and dreams? Write them down. No negative thoughts allowed. This is a time for personal acknowledgement.

  • Where did you make a difference in another person’s life? Even in a small way…you might think something you did or said was nothing but it could really have been a Huge help to another person, so count the littler things as well.
  • What did you let go of in your life that allowed you to move forward? This can include habits, relationships, a job, self-criticism, negative thoughts…
  • Where did you walk through your fear and venture ahead?
  • Write down even the smallest of actions…they count just as much!

Now look at it and Really take it in. Allow yourself to receive the feeling of gratitude. 

We are so appreciative of Hope Stanger for her thoughtful approach to surviving the holidays. Which tool resonates with you?

Happy Holidays to all,
Roz and Beth

For the complete set of tools, you can read Hope’s blog:


Hope Stanger is an international Health Consultant, Therapist and Nutritional Counselor. She helps people create loving relationships with their food and their bodies. Hope is the founder of Therapy Beyond Walls, Healing Trauma, Relationships and Eating Disorders. She is the author of a forthcoming book on weight loss.

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Comments 55

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jessica. Another thing we sometimes do & should try not doing is grabbing something we don’t usually eat such as a bagel, slice of cake or drink a soda.

  1. Powerful Message Roslyn. Something Ray Higdon teaches a lot.
    I actually have created a tradition of creating a New Year’s eve Post with a similar message!
    Mine is intermingled with the Law of Attraction. Amazing.

    Don’t mind if I link to your post as a resource? Let me know!


  2. I love the suggestion about reflecting on a list of things you’ve accomplished this year. I agree too it’s so important not skip a meal. When I’m hungry everything seems more stressful.

  3. Such wonderful advice. Bringing snacks and eating at least one normal meal a day are great ways of keeping things from getting out of control. I also try to get my workouts in first thing in the mornings, because then I tend to stay better on track with my eating habits. Thanks for the “gratitude” ideas, as well. 🙂

  4. Great tips! I like to write down each day what I did that day outside of the norm. So, at the end of the year, I can flip through and see what I completed. It helps me feel grateful and productive to see what I have done. Small business owners forget to write things down so they can really see where their time goes. So, when I consult with clients, I remind them of this and how important it is. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love your post, Roz. Such good advice. I’d add a way to avoid putting on too many calories by having too many glasses of wine at celebrations: Alternate wine and water. Sipping is sipping! It works!

  6. Oh, Roz, such good advice from you and Beth. I do a lot of traveling during the holidays and it’s easy to get WAY off track with diet. These two tips about eating are easy to implement and have HUGE positive payoffs. I also love the third point – making a list of accomplishments of the year. When we don’t step back and take a long view of what we’ve been up to, it’s easy to feel as though we haven’t accomplished all that much. Looking at an overview of the entire year puts all in perspective. Thanks for this post!

    1. Appreciate your thoughtful comment Deb Nelson. This blog was written by my good friend and holistic counselor, Hope Stanger, who is a graduate of Integrative Nutrition. You might want to connect with her. Happy holidays.

  7. What great tips, Roz and Beth! I love the “love yourself” approach — don’t we have enough stress during the holidays without beating ourselves up over indulging ourselves? The suggestions for providing balance are excellent. Thanks so much. I’ll be sure to follow them.

  8. Temptations are around us all the time and the holidays seem to heighten them. These are great tips and I think for some people it is important not to feel deprived if everyone around them is indulging in foods they don’t typically eat. I remember being told long ago that your body doesn’t know the difference between one bite of something vs. eating the whole thing.

    Food means so many things to each of us and in my younger days, I was much more likely to dive in and eat “sugary” treats. Now, my body won’t allow me to overindulge, so I stay pretty clean. If I’m traveling, I make sure I can buy foods that suit me. And once you’ve rebalanced your blood sugar, I find I don’t actually “crave” those kind of foods any longer. Some of my family members still do though. Yet, when I cook for the holidays, we eat pretty clean. Balance is always key. Looking back to look forward is also a great way to see where you’ve come from in the past year, with the mind of moving forward into the new. Lovely post!

    1. What an interesting possible thought that our bodies don’t know the difference between 1 bite vs eating the whole thing. Similar to the idea that dogs & probably cats dont know if we are gone 5 minutes or 5 hours. Regarding your food regimen, you are very disciplined Beverley, I’m sure due to your past health issues and that guides all your meals & choices. Enjoy staying healthy.

  9. I’m so glad Hope mentioned taking stock of all our achievements during the year. We often forget what we have achieved and gained while we complain about all the things that were left uncompleted or never even started. Interestingly, during my corporate world days, I was in the habit of updating my CV every 6 months, whether I was active in the job hunt market or not and it always surprised me to see how much I had achieved.

    With all the wonderful parties coming up, my diet is going to change to make sure I get lots of fresh fruits and veggies at home and certainly eat a little before I step out so that I don’t gorge too much at the parties where the buffet is pure temptation.

    Seasons greetings to you and all your loved ones, Roslyn and Beth.

    1. Thank you so much Vatsala for your holiday greetings and your thoughtful comment. I just remarked to another reader that referencing a journal or planner is a good way to capture large and small accomplishments.You too, enjoy all your festivities.

  10. I just adore # 3. Make a list of things you’ve accomplished this year. What a great tool! We often take inventory of all the negative things we’ve done, but rarely stop to appreciate ourselves for the good.
    Great post!

    1. Yes Susan Mary Malone, seems #3 resonated with many readers. I also think anyone who uses a planner can reference it to identify many more accomplishments than the ones that quickly come to mind. Thanks for your comment and have a good holiday.

  11. Hope’s idea of making a list is my fav. All too often we tend to berate ourselves for things left incomplete. So, “no negative thoughts allowed” works for me 🙂

  12. Rich, fattening, heavy foods are definitely part of our traditional holiday celebrations. I’d love to sneak in a few healthy snacks or meals here or there, but as the hostess, it’s a rare occasion that I get even a minute alone! 🙂 However, I definitely do this when I’m traveling and a guest. It’s a terrific way to give my stomach and colon a break from all the food I normally avoid. Thanks for the helpful tips!

  13. I’m one of the few people who don’t put on much weight over Christmas, the trick is to not over buy.
    Loving the idea of listing your achievements, I will be doing it.

  14. Joe and I never skip a meal and balancing the holiday meals isn’t an issue either as the menu is always discussed well in advance and it always has food for each of the families attending. Also completed Planathon 2016 so I’m clear on what worked, what didn’t and what the plan is for 2016. Gratitude journaling every morning puts things in perspective as well.

    We’re all good!

    1. Gisele Grenier, sounds like you could have written some great tips too. I’ve yet to really dig into what worked, etc. In a week or so, we should come up for air. Happy Holidays to you & Joe.

  15. I love the idea of writing down your accomplishments/successes. So much better than focusing on feelings of lack. I write down 5 things I’m thankful for every day in my planner. That way, I see it all the time because my planner is always open on my desk.

  16. I’ve honestly been very bad about remembering to eat this year. I forget constantly because I’m always running around doing things. I need to get in the habit of eating at least 3 meals a day again, though. I do always eat pretty healthy when I do eat, however. Which I guess balances it out at least a little… I hope!

    1. Well, Lalia Frolick, I’m always surprised by folk who can skip meals, forget to eat and still have the energy to do their stuff. Glad to hear you eat healthy when you do. Maybe get in the habit of carrying fruit & nuts around with you. Start your day with a good breakfast & get into the habit of protein shakes you can take with you. Here is to new healthy start in 2016.

  17. So true about not skipping a meal. I usually find out that if I don’t feel hungry, drinking some fresh water and waiting for when I’m hungry helps. I also love the idea of writing down your accomplishments for the year. In fact I wrote down a list of 101 goals (still completing it) and I check off things every year as I go.

    1. Delia, I like your idea of drinking water as a way to check if hungry, but don’t skip. My metabolism won’t let me & I eat 4x a day.Appreciate your goal list.

    1. Renee Fuller, there is no should other than it is highly suggested because it has been proven that people achieve their goals because they were written down. It gives you a reference point & it should b quantifiable. If you havent done it in the past, it may seem daunting, so start small & write 1 goal at morning start. Then increase to weekly & so on. It becomes a habit & its different from to do lists.

  18. Great advice not to miss meals, which is so tempting to do when we overindulge. I love the idea of a list of accomplishments. It’s so important to recognise our own achievements, as well of those of others.

    1. Thanks Tamuria, for your comment. I never could skip a meal & in fact, eat 4x a day. Yes, some could be smaller portions. Regarding achievements, by being aware of them, when we struggle with something new, it can help us move thru the challenge. Happy holidays.

  19. Excellent Roz and nice look to your site.. changing things up huh? Nice for the new year… I need to do the same. Anyways, I am on Weight Watchers and stress with things going on in my home, I decided I’m going to allow the joy of food until Christmas is over, then back on because… I lost it once (or many times) I could do it again… sometimes you just have to let yourself go… stress won’t make it easy to lose the weight anyhow.

    1. Thanks Kristen for noticing and commenting on our fresh look to our site. We are liking it too. I have to be in a good mind set to take on weight loss & I’m just not there yet. Happy Holidays despite issues & stress.

  20. Hi Roz, Thank you for this post. I have always wanted to take the time to remember my achievements and also the lessons I learned in the preceding year; though I’ve never done it. This is the year that happens! I do acknowledge all the steps, even baby ones, that I make toward any positive goal I have set – and that builds my confidence and belief in making that goal a reality. Remembering to eat healthy and do the best you can over the holidays is also a key. Thank you!

    1. Thanks,Tamara MacDuff for your comment and so glad you will go thru your achievements. From what I have seen they are many. I think we will all try to eat healthy over the holidays.

  21. Eating a meal before going to a party is critical – I had a big party to attend this past Saturday and there were all kinds of goodies coming at me like asteroids! Eating before the party helped my will power.

    1. So glad you did this Kimba. Like your phrase, coming at you like asteroids. I gained a few pounds from a party on Sunday but lots of water & ate lightly & now they are gone.

  22. Great list, it is all about not letting the holidays take away from looking after yourself. I’d add get sleep, nothing is worth getting exhausted and sick. Make sleeping part of the holidays. I like number 3 and I’d add give yourself a gift, one day over the holidays that are isn’t planned, it is free to relax and/or be spontaneous.

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