There’s no need to warn you that Christmas is fast approaching (and if it weren’t Christmas it would be New Years, Easter, birthdays, Anzac Day, weddings, engagement parties…the celebration list goes on). As the invitations roll in, do you find yourself feeling apprehensive about how you’re going to stay social and have fun while sticking to your dietary and lifestyle plan?
Here’s what it’s like for many people…the invitation arrives and you get excited, remembering how much fun you had at the last Christmas BBQ (and how rotten you felt the day after). Then there’s that moment where you remember…you’re gluten-free and can’t drink alcohol. How on earth are you going to enjoy yourself?
Let’s pause for a moment to remember why we’re all here. We are here because something was going wrong and avoiding these particular foods/drinks is part of the strategy and solution to overcoming that health concern.
Even though now more than ever the average party host is much more ofay with catering for specific dietary requirements, you might still be feeling a bit apprehensive about whether or not you’ll still be able to enjoy yourself. Often when you’re new to the world of dietary restriction, you can feel a bit like you have a flashing light above your head just screaming to people about how different you are. Well, you know what? You are a bit different, and it might be a bit of a pain—this the perfect opportunity to check in with your health goals.
Seven ways to stay on track during the ‘Silly Season’.
In order to squeeze as much fun and joy as possible out of these social occasions, here are seven strategies to get maximum enjoyment while sticking to your health plan:
Step 1 – RSVP
RSVP early. When you RSVP don’t do so by email or text, phone the host, and at that point, let them know about your dietary requirements. Ask if they have the capacity to cater for you. If they do – great! Tell them you’ll chat with them on the night to find out where and what your food choices are. If not, go straight to step 3. I recommend going into a bit of detail or offering to send them some information about what being gf, df, paleo, alcohol-free or autoimmune means.
Step 2 – Eat First
Eat before you go. That is the golden rule for success. If you eat before you leave home, and then you get to the party, and it turns out they thought gluten-free just meant no bread and dairy-free only applied to milk; you’ll be fine.
Step 3 – Snacks
Take snacks. Always. If you carry a bag, you’re not really limited to the amount you can smuggle in. If your only form of carriage is a jeans pocket, you’ll need to think snack bar or most definitely go nuts on step 2.
Step 4 – People not Food
Remember that it’s the people that make the party. While food and alcohol sure can elevate the party, it’s really the people that make a party fun and a great celebration. Focus on that.
Step 5 – Contact
If you’re at a restaurant, follow the same steps from above but also contact the restaurant directly and talk with staff about how they can cater for you.
Step 6 – Disguise
Disguise your drink. Many times you’ll find that the people who take issue with your not drinking isn’t even you – it’s them. They JUST DON’T GET IT – why wouldn’t you drink!!!! If this is the vibe, you’re getting then disguise your drink by asking staff to add an umbrella or some sort of cocktail theatre (or say you’re drinking vodka when it’s mineral water) or simply tell them you’re driving.
Step 7 – Stay on track with a ‘one-liner’
Make sure you take your ‘one-liner’ with you to pull out in times of challenge “I won’t have any garlic bread thanks – I’m gluten-free at the moment. I’m feeling really great for it”. No need to get into the nitty-gritty – it might just sound like you’re showing off because of your incredible will power (and psychologically they won’t hear that you’re gluten-free –they’ll hear that they’re not).
Staying on track – Conclusion
Life is full of celebrations and being prepared and in the right frame of mind is the key to your success when navigating being a person who is committed to health. Life will go on around you, and sometimes it’s a simple reframe that gets you in the party mood while simultaneously honouring your health goals.
Wishing you a very happy holiday season – enjoy all of the family and friendship unity that comes with it.
In good health,