December 3, 2022

One of the toughest challenges facing a committed dieter is the Dreaded Family Get Together. Whether it’s a holiday feast or the annual summer barbeque, family dynamics and expectations can play havoc on a dieter both emotionally and at the scale.

The best way to survive a food-heavy family gathering is to commit to choosing your food wisely. If it’s burgers and franks in the back yard, anticipate having just the meats without the rolls. Pasta salad and tossed salad? You know which you need to gravitate towards.

family breakfastThe same is true for the big holidays, like Thanksgiving. Plan ahead to NOT have the stuffing and mashed potatoes, but do look forward to the turkey and squash.

List of Family Get Together Diet Tips

  • Depending on the history and dynamics of the gathering, it is sometimes inadvisable to make a broad announcement about being on a diet.
  • Make an ally of the person who is coordinating the event. Let the person know you are committed to your diet and his or her support would be appreciated.
  • As is always recommended, if it is a potluck gathering, make your donation something that fits your diet and that you can eat.
  • Depending on the anticipated temptations that you may face at the gathering, you may want to eat before you arrive.
  • Step up to being the host’s assistant – from manning the grill to washing the dishes.
  • If someone draws attention to how little you are eating, simply say you’re full or saving space for the next course or pacing yourself.
  • Fill your plate with the diet friendly foods that are being serve so that it looks like a bounty even though it’s only plain meat and a lot of salad.
  • Remember portion control. A taste of this or a smidge of that can work; an overflowing plate and then seconds does not.
  • If tradition says “beers all around” or “wine with dinner” simply say “No!”
  • Expected to eat that potato salad? Take only a miniscule portion.
  • Hurt feelings if you don’t take home a doggie bag of leftovers? Do it – but either pass the food on to someone else – or trash it.
  • Logic says DO NOT sit next to the dessert table throughout the event. Move away from that which most tempts you.
  • Circulate and talk to people versus sitting by the chips and dips and mindlessly eating
  • Reach for any healthy snacks – the tray of cut up veggies or fruit.
  • Get back to the gym right after the event. Or just take a walk,
  • Pace yourself. Make the food on your plate last – and last even longer. No one will push seconds on you if you are still slowly eating your first plate of food.

When it comes to family gatherings, you may need to cut yourself some slack (because your relatives probably won’t). Throughout the eating and holiday seasons, perhaps the best you can accomplish is to not gain weight.

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