Holidays are hectic and everyone walks in with certain expectations and hopes. People have prepared food in anticipation of sharing it with loved ones. Others may be wanting everything to be just like it was the year before. At the dinner table or even at the family gathering may not be the best time to tell your family about your food plan or to ask for their help in sticking to your weight loss goals.
To avoid emotional reactions from your loved ones, you may want to share this information several weeks in advance to give them time to work through any disappointment they may be feeling or to plan healthier options for the entire family. With large families like mine, it is difficult to get everyone in the same room or make sure everyone is hearing important announcements. There are times that it is most helpful to have individual conversations with the majority of family members; however, there are also times when sending a kind of newsletter may be the most effective and non intimidating way to share your goals with family members.
When you send a newsletter that is clearly written for a large group, people are less likely to mistakenly believe that anything you have written was directed to them specifically. Mass emails can be ignored or read too quickly it seems. For important announcements, I have had success with sending updates through the mail. The key is to keep it positive, answer as many questions as you can anticipate, and use bolding to highlight the most important points. I also like to include photos and simple fonts which make your update look like something people want to read, differentiating it from the bills and other things that normally show up in the mailbox.
Don’t forget to tell people why you are doing what you are doing, keeping a positive focus on the future. You may want to tell them what kinds of foods or ingredients you may be avoiding, but reminding them that you will not discourage others from partaking in their favorite holiday foods. Because there are often certain emotional expectations that surround holiday gatherings, you will likely want to bring your own food items to share, rather than ask anyone else to change their favorite recipes. Don’t forget to include a section on how family members can help you stick to your food plan.
There are other times when a personal conversation is more appropriate to really help someone understand your desire to make healthier choices. The proud chef may be one of these people in your life. It may be important to let them know that you value their culinary skills and that you do not blame them for any weight struggles you may be experiencing. In some cases, you may want to provide them the heads up that you will not be sampling as much of their delicacies this year and why. It may also be helpful to ask their advice on preparing food with healthier ingredients because you know they are so skilled and create delicious dishes. It is still important to share the motivation behind the choices you have made and the goals you have set. Most people can support a positive goal such has playing with my children more, being healthy enough to participate in a 5k, or increasing my chances for a successful pregnancy.
November 16th, 2011