I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I love the lights, the smell of cinnamon and pine, connecting with family and old friends, slowing down, taking the needed and well-deserved time away from the daily routine.
I hate the explosion of holiday goodies that suddenly appear everywhere: the cookie platter at my hair salon, the chocolate towers that arrive at the door, the eggnog that tastes too good, the parties with tiny innocent-looking but dangerous cocktail franks, too much creamy artichoke dip, and of course, the extra glasses of champagne.
It all looks so pretty, until I get on the scale the next day.
Just because I am a food coach and work all day with others seeking my guidance about WHAT and HOW to eat to stay on their food plan, I am not immune to these same holiday struggles. It’s hard work to navigate the festivities and maintain, or even lose, weight, especially when food is served to us in someone else’s home or at a dinner party and we feel a lack of control over portion size and food choices.
It also often seems that throughout this season of indulgence, even the most well-meaning friends and family want to make it easy for us to indulge. That is the double whammy: truly tempting food AND the tempters whose familiar pleas include:
“C’mon … just one bite won’t kill you!”
“But I made this especially for you!”
“You don’t look like you need to lose weight!”
Tough situations call for tough discipline, which sometimes feels a bit wimpy, especially after a couple of sips of that festive punch. To guarantee we all don't lose sight of our goals and that we come through the season with peace and ease, I came across these three little words that work like holiday magic:
“NO, THANK YOU.”
You might have murmured those three simple words in the past, but if you weren't convincing enough to stop that huge slice of pumpkin cheesecake that was placed in front of you, it's because you missed the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the three little words: your tone.
The trick is all in the delivery: You will need to use these three words firmly and decisively.
The key component is to add a big smile as you say, “No, thank you.”
Practice saying it again and again, and you will get better at it. Don’t forget the smile.
Each opportunity you have to say “NO THANK YOU,” increases your comfort level with expressing those three little words.
As you perfect your new skill, you will become a master at gracefully refusing food and walking away without guilt, regret, hard feelings, awkwardness, or discomfort. You'll get through the holidays with ease and confidence so you can truly enjoy a wonderful, joyful, and peaceful season.