Juggling Family (Extended) Over the Holiday Season – While Keeping Your Weight Loss/Health Goals on Track

Family running together

Are friends and/or family making you fat??

A loaded question question huh!

In many families, food is the glue that bonds everyone together. Turning down food or trying to eat less, in many cultures, is a sign of disrespect.  This makes not only weight loss difficult anytime of the year, but also managing an existing chronic illness such as High Blood Pressure and Diabetes. This also adds more pressure on those trying to take preventative measures such as reversing Pre-Diabetes.

How do you politely say “back off” to those you love?  Below are some friendly and respectful tips to keep your weight loss goals on track while juggling family/friends during this holiday season.

Why Don’t Family/Friends Instantly Jump on the “Weight Loss Support” Band Wagon with You?

Rarely would a real friend malevolently(purposefully) undermine your diet . They just do unconscious things to keep the relationship the way it was.

  • Friend or Foe? The problem usually starts because you’re in change mode, but your friends and family aren’t.
  • They Feel Guilty: Your success pricks their conscience, since they may think they should be pursuing weight loss too.
  • They Don’t Understand: Other folks (often spouses!) who’ve never had a weight problem can’t understand why you don’t go back to eating normally now that you’ve lost that weight.
  • They Miss the Old You: Or more specifically, the food experiences you once shared. Food is often how we express love.

How to not completely derail your weight loss/health goals?

Family tradition pressure is real. I have many clients that have real anxiety over this very situation. Changing life long habits is difficult enough. Not having family support and/or understanding makes it more challenging.  In  some cases, its the mocking from family members when they find out you have specific health goals that you may have previously failed at accomplishing in the past many times over.

The magic question: How do you maintain your person health/weight loss goals, without all the added negative attention from ‘doing things different’ than “what’s expected” of you?

Researchers have figured out three classic actions likely to pave the way to long-term weight loss success and fend off sabotage, whether deliberate or subconscious.

Some tips that has helped clients cope (when little to no family support is present)

  • Start with exercise: It builds muscle, burns calories, reduces stress, and, best of all, creates the positive mood that makes you strong enough to avoid saboteurs
  • Monitor your exercise and foods: Plan your workouts and meals, and write down every bite. This will keep you honest, and it may also help you recognize the people and events that do you in. Then you can develop strategies to deal with them
  • Create a supportive environment: It’s important to ask for help. We tend to believe that if people loved us, they’d know what to do. Not true!  Whether you write it or say it, be specific about your weight loss needs. Even those closest to you can’t read your mind.


Teachable Moments

Remember the holidays are meant for giving thanks, praising our Lord, food, fun, and fellowship. Enjoy, feel blessed and be merry at the end of the day.

Don’t have regrets or beat yourself up if you eat more than intended or fall short because of family pressure. We all must ‘fall’ sometimes in order to get stronger. Setbacks are opportunities to comeback strong. Sometimes, its not even a setback – Curiosity just got the best of you and the thought of “I won’t have this again until next year.”

Whatever situation you fall in, its OKAY. Simply reflect and come up with a plan to still enjoy yourself and eat well without ‘feeling some kinda way’ hours later or the next day.

Remember over eating is expected during the holidays and special events. Give yourself permission to eat. Eat mindfully. Avoid getting stuffed!


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