November 22, 2021

How to (Actually) Enjoy Eating During the Holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner, and with that so are the big celebrations and family dinners. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reconnect with friends and family, take a break from the usually routine, and soak up that last bit of fall before the winter snow rolls in. But for many, time with family can revolve completely around food which can lead to stress. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get ready.

If family is your stressor:

Schedule some time away from family during the holiday weekend or throughout the day. This will give you the space to walk away from stressful situations and conversations. Some options include:

  • Plan to visit a coffee shop to sit with another family member, friend, or yourself during the weekend. You can catch up with this person or read/journal to clear your head.
  • ​Take a walk during the day for some fresh air
  • If there are animals that need to be let out, volunteer to take make sure they get some time outside (and therefore, so do you)
  • Stay at a different location than your family (if it is a feasible)

Plan how you might respond to certain comments or questions you may get:

  • It is okay to change the subject or walk away if a question makes you uncomfortable​

Have a buddy either at your gathering or elsewhere that you can call or text to help calm you down and bring you back to your center.


If food is a stressor: 

Think about why food is stressful and ways to combat that stress.​

If you are worried about the potential to overeat.

  • Treat the day as any normal day. Don’t starve yourself before Thanksgiving dinner. You are more likely to overeat when you are overly hungry.


If you are concerned about eating foods that stray away from your usual routine:


  • Food is not tied to morality. There are no “good” or “bad” foods and all foods have a place in your diet.
  • One day of eating differently will not derail your progress or ruin your health
  • Socialization is huge aspect of eating and food as well. Lean into that as you sit down to enjoy your meals/desserts. This is a once a year opportunity and you may be seeing friends and family you don’t often get the chance to see.
  • In five years, you won’t remember the piece of pie you ate. But you will remember the warm memories you were able to make. ​