How To Keep Your Health Program Over The Holidays

By Donna Gates, as seen on:

You did it!

In 2013, you lost the extra weight. Or you figured out which food was causing your joint pain and restocked your kitchen!

Or your skin finally cleared up because of that “special diet” you’ve been on.

As it turns out, a lot of small aches, pains, and skin disorders can be traced back to diet. That’s not all. Depression and anxiety are also closely linked with gut health and the food that you eat.

A diet fix seems easy enough. But as soon as the holidays roll around, the pressure begins. And with the smallest slip, you can be right back at square one (with a little more know-how under your belt).

The pressure to fit in can come from all directions — family dinners, when your mom wants to make sure you’ve eaten enough, at office parties, when co-workers encourage you to just relax, or from friends who bring you a festive tin of “off-limits” cookies, even though they’ve watched you heal through diet.

Before you give in — and kick yourself for it — or feel out of place with friends, co-workers, and family members, remember this:


Be you. And expect nothing less from others.

Take responsibility for your choices and don’t assume everyone will understand. In fact, people may even feel offended by your choices or protective of their own. This is common and it has to do with the emotional relationship that we have with food and nourishment.

If someone offers you food that you know will hurt you (like a gluten-filled cookie), remember it’s okay to say “no thanks”.

When you spend time refining your diet so that you feel healthy, you know exactly which foods trigger the joint pain, the eczema, or the self-hate.

You know your limits. So, why defy them to please someone else? Don’t buy into the whole bully game – even if it is with your mother, sister, or best friend. Rise above it.

You have worked long and hard on the beautiful enterprise that is your own radiant health. Celebrate your accomplishments. Honor your boundaries. And by doing so, you will deepen your relationship with food — and with those around you.


Stress is just as toxic as too much sugar. Stress can give you an emotional hangover — just like alcohol can give you a physical one. Stress activates inflammation. And stress weakens a delicate immune system.

Whatever food or food groups you avoid for health purposes, chances are that stress from an argument or unexpressed resentment will be just as destructive as any food or drink.

So when you say, “No thanks,” do it with calm, with grace, and with a joyful smile. After all, it’s not really the food that brings you together – is it? We gather together over the holidays to express love, gratitude, and companionship.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday and New Year!

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