Holiday food. Now more than ever sweets, cookies, treats, specialty drinks, and casseroles in large quantities are readily available. Even the break room at work has a plate of cookies or a box of candy. It’s thoughtful for someone to do that for their co-workers, but when you don’t eat that kind of food it means you have to explain yourself — again. Choosing to change your diet can be hard. The peer pressure we saw as children exists today. Sometimes people are insulted when you don’t eat the food they brought. They see it as rejection, and it can be uncomfortable for everyone concerned.
How do you handle these social/food situations? In a restaurant you may privately make choices and order the food you can eat. Dinner or a party at someone’s home is another story. Unless you don’t make it a problem.
There are several ways to circumvent an uncomfortable encounter with your host.
- Bring something to share that you are able to eat — along with a hostess gift. Don’t ask ahead of time because the hostess will say it isn’t necessary. Then you will have to explain that the food she buys and slaves over in the kitchen — is unacceptable to your gullet. <awkward>
- Eat ahead of time. The Zen of Weight Loss calls this being like Scarlet O’Hara who ate before a picnic in one of the first scenes of Gone with the Wind. It’s a good practice. Then you won’t be starving and overeat.
- Don’t explain yourself. You have made dietary choices for your own reasons. Either morally or for health reasons you may not eat meat, eggs, cheese, wheat, grains in general, fish, sugar or any number of foods. If you try to explain why you don’t eat those things people may listen politely but they may also try to convince you that one little bite won’t matter. When in fact it will. Unfortunately people don’t yield to food choices as they do to alcohol choice. Today we understand the choice to abstain from alcohol is sacred, and we just offer the person a non-alcoholic drink. We need to begin to honor food choices as well.
- Focus on the wonderful, loving people, and the holiday decorations. The secret is in the details. Examine the ornaments on the tree and ask your hostess about one of them. She will be thrilled to share stories about her treasures.
- Breathe deeply and enjoy the party. Eat what you can. Be discerning regarding the food you choose.
Above all things remember you love yourself enough to stay the course.