An article written by one of our coaching partners Jeanne Douthit. Click here to read more about her. Thanks for the article Jeanne!
I had an interesting conversation with one of my clients last night. We were talking about some of the pitfalls of the family holiday dinners – and about church culture, particularly the “potluck dinner”. I assured her that I face those situations all too, and we spent some quality time coming up with some strategies to successfully navigate the holidays and potluck dinners without compromising health goals.
Strategy #1- Make your contribution (or look for) protein and fruit/veggie based options.
I have never been to a gathering of this type that didn’t have a veggie tray and cold cuts Hey! People are busy and the prepared deli options are a way to contribute without piling on more on the already over-filled schedules. I try to make my plate look like this:
It sounds a little crazy doesn’t it? … To eat before you go to a room full of food, but if you are relatively sure that you will be limited to poor choices, can I suggest that you eat something before you enter that room? Once physical hunger is met, the allure of those tables filled with food kind of loses its pull. When the inevitable teasing about what is not on your plate, guilt trip , or question about what you aren’t eating comes up, you can genuinely, place your hand on your stomach and say,” I just ate, so I’m really not that hungry…oh, hey…I’m glad you are here, I’ve been meaning to ask you about ( fill in the blank).” You would be surprised at how many opportunities have opened up to minister at these gatherings and being available to genuinely look another in the eyes and really hear them. To me, that is more satisfying than any potluck fare! 😉
Strategy #3 Stay present!
This is a continuation of the tip above. One thing that has helped me tremendously is learning to be present in the moment, not thinking about all that still needs to be done. Technology has made it so easy to be connected, but sometimes I feel that it has made the art of eye contact almost lost. Haven’t you ever talked to people, and walked away from the conversation feeling like you weren’t really “heard”, or worse, talked to someone else and couldn’t remember what in the world they were talking about? Emotional eating is rampant…people feel alone and oftentimes feel that food is the only constant that they have in their lives (can you relate?)…is it any wonder then that so many struggle with weight? So, the tip here is to make the event (the potluck, the family dinner) about the people, NOT the food. In 10 years, you won’t regret not having that serving of cheesecake or dressing, you will, however, regret a conversation that doesn’t take place or the hug not given.
More than anything, I want you to really enjoy the holidays and these gatherings. I want you to love on people like it is the last time you’ll have the opportunity. I want you to know that if you go into these meals with a flexible plan, you will be just fine! God has promised us that for every temptation, He would make a way of escape.
“Lord, I pray that you would let each athlete know how much you are FOR them and that you are leading them into your perfect plan for health! I pray that if there is any doubt about your unfailing love and mercy toward them personally, you would confirm it in a way that would be meaningful to them I take that a step further by praying that you would do it by answering a SPECIFIC prayer that they have only whispered to you alone. I thank you that we can come BOLDLY before your throne and ask you to do what seems impossible. I pray that any shame that the enemy would try to use to discourage, that you would remind us that there is NO TEMPTATION that isn’t common to all, that you are in control, and your grace is abundantly more than we could ever even think to ask for. I thank you that you are not just FOR us, you are WITH us! Thank you Emmanuel! In Jesus Name…..”