I’m going to keep this short & sweet so you can get to the article below – uber helpful for managing family and friends during the holidays.
So, I’ve watched The Digestion Sessions forwards and backwards over the past couple of months and the one interview I go back to again and again is the one with Dr. Kharrazian on gut-brain training. I learned how the brain injury I received from an accident with a semi-truck contributed to issues with my gut and subsequent thyroid condition.
In Dr. K’s talk, he reveals how your digestive problems may start in the brain and gives you some practical and simple steps to reboot the connection between the brain and gut so you can start healing. If you watch only ONE interview in the Digestion Sessions, this is the one to watch! Don’t miss out – this info could make the difference.
Ok, I’ll let you get to the article. Good stuff this week. Oh, and Happy Monday! -Jen
How To Talk to Your Family About your Diet — Before Thanksgiving Dinner
Want to bring out the worst in people? Go on a special diet. At the holidays.
There are loads of reasons for it (see below), but other people can be one of the hardest obstacles you’ll overcome when you’re changing up your diet for health reasons — not giving up gluten or going off sugar, but dealing with the comments and actions of people who are supposed to care about you.
And here’s the thing: They do care about you. But they’re also carrying a lot of their own baggage around food and health that they may be trying to pawn off on you.
Pass the guilt: surviving holiday meals.
The holidays can be especially difficult for people trying to eat a healthier diet. First, there’s an overabundance of “special” holiday treats and reasons to consume them: cookie exchanges, work parties, school parties, family get-togethers — the list goes on.
But if you’re committed to eating your way back to health, you aren’t going to take a day off (or two, or twelve) just because of the date on the calendar. So how do you navigate these holiday food landmines? Let’s look at a few things you might hear and how to handle them.
“You’ve been so good — you can have one little piece, can’t you?”
These kinds of statements often come from a place of guilt. Believe it or not, most people know that “treats” aren’t very good for them, and so they might feel guilty for indulging when you’re abstaining. But you shouldn’t choose what you will and won’t eat based on assuaging their guilt!
“Won’t eating that way raise your cholesterol?” (or other health “concerns”)
In our culture, we’ve been so brainwashed into thinking that all fats are bad and animal proteins will give us heart disease and high cholesterol — but science has repeatedly failed to back up those claims. If you think the person is really curious, you might explain that you only eat good fats and consciously raised meats and use their question to open an honest discussion.
“What, you don’t like my cooking?”
Sometimes people, especially family members, can feel left behind when you embark on a new way of life. Suddenly you’re turning up your nose at all those shared food traditions that tied you together as a family or group. In this case, maybe you can offer suggestions to alter a favorite recipe so that you can enjoy it, or start a new tradition to take the focus away from just the food aspect of the holiday — like flag football before Thanksgiving dinner.
“There’s just one left — want it?”
People have a natural abhorrence of letting good food go to waste. Even if they’re stuffed to the gills, they may want to make sure that last little bit gets eaten. Just smile and say, “I couldn’t eat another bite!”
“Oh, you can’t eat pizza, so we’ll catch up with you when we’re done.”
Friends and family members may inadvertently (or purposely) cut you out of group events. They may think they’re helping, or they may not want to be reminded that what they’re eating isn’t that healthy. The best way to deal with this is to organize your own event that doesn’t revolve around food. Bowling, anyone?
“But, it’s Christmas!” (Or Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Arbor Day, Tuesday, etc.)
We tend to create exceptions for holidays and special events. But your gut doesn’t observe any holidays or days off. If you know that you react very negatively to gluten or sugar, your body isn’t going to react any differently because it’s a Christmas cookie instead of an everyday cookie. It’s OK to make exceptions for holidays if you want to, just keep in mind what’s best for your body and don’t let anyone else influence that choice.
Make a holiday meal plan.
Just the way you’d plan out what you’re going to cook and when for a big Thanksgiving dinner, you need to make a plan for dealing with these kinds of distractions and saboteurs before the big day.
Choose what you will and won’t eat ahead of time.
If you’ve been on a healing diet for a while, you might decide that it’s worth it to you to have one slice of mom’s fruitcake or one serving of grandma’s famous stuffing. But make those choices ahead of time, not while you’re standing in line at the buffet or when the person next to you passes you the dish.
Bring a dish everyone can enjoy.
If you’re not hosting, offer to bring a dish to the big meal — and then make sure it’s something you and everyone else can enjoy. That way, you’ll be sure that there’s at least one thing on the table you can eat.
Don’t go hungry.
It’s a good rule of thumb never to show up to a big meal or party hungry. Eat an apple or some nuts before you head out so that you’re not starving when you arrive. Hunger can weaken your willpower and lead to poor choices.
Have a comeback ready.
If you’re worried about what people will say, imagine what you might hear and practice a comeback that will protect you and your plan.
Here are a few suggestions:
- “I’m not on a diet. I’m eating the way that feels best for my body.”
- “I know you want to support me, and the best way you can do that is by offering high-quality meats and veggies that everyone can enjoy.”
- “I’m still the same person, I’m just trying to eat healthfully so that I can feel my best.”
- “That looks great! Maybe I’ll try some later.” (And make sure later never comes.)
- If all else fails, say flat out, “That’s not helpful to me.”
Of course, the best offense is a good defense: If you’re worried about a holiday get-together, try talking to your family before the big event. If you kindly and carefully explain why you’re eating differently (for your health) and ask for their love and support, you may be surprised at the reception you receive.
It may be the best gift you get all year.
If you found this guide helpful, make sure to check out these other resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
- My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Remember, the best offense is a good defense! Don’t be afraid to ask for the love and support you need. You just may get it. 🙂
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.