Be Empowered this Holiday Season!

Written by BITE Coach Tammy Pennington

I’m doing something a little different for today’s #yummywholefoods. The holiday season is upon us, and it brings out many emotions in regard to food. Regardless of how you view the holiday season, it is an emotionally charged time. Choosing gifts, stressing over money, preparing festive food, seeing family, and attending office parties and other parties can give cause for joy or misgivings. Feelings of loneliness, sadness, and isolation can become more intense for some people.

So many questions can flood our heads: Did I eat too much? Too little? Am I hungry? How hungry? Should I eat now or wait until I am really hungry? Can I get away with eating pie without gaining weight? Should I go to the party or stay home to avoid eating all the party food? Where’s the wine? Did I eat enough? Am I overstuffed? Is this gluten free? Vegan? What can I eat?

I frequently tell my clients that it is really important to note the way you approach things. Learning to eat more intuitively is to stop approaching all food and food related activities like you are on a diet. Our perspective with the word “DIET” is generally negative. We feel restricted, guilty, deprived, and resentful. Change always starts in the mind with a change in your perspective. Perspective is the way you view situations, ideas, or experiences. It is your mental and emotional outlook as it relates to your life. A change in perspective generally always brings about a new skill and a new way of dealing with situations. Allowing yourself to practice and make mistakes leads to new knowledge about how you can best cope with situations, even the holiday season.

Empower yourself this holiday season. Determine what you want to do and be specific. Don’t get overwhelmed with so many questions and things you want to change at once. Pick one thing and be clear about it.

Here is a practical example: Attending your office party, which is a cocktail party with appetizers.

Old perspective: Stress over all the food and alcohol that will be there. You generally skip lunch and go to the party really hungry. You also know that once you start drinking, you also start eating.

New perspective: I know that alcohol makes me eat more so I choose not to drink at this party. I will order a sparkling club soda with lime for my drink. No more skipping meals as I get too hungry. I will eat a healthy meal if I get hungry before I go.

The next step is to practice this new perspective – put it in action. See how you do. Then afterwards, check in with yourself and ask what can I do to improve my skill for next time?


Tammy Pennington (MS, RD, LDN  NASM-CPT) began her journey in nutrition over 30 years ago as a Registered Dietitian.  Her career includes working with Renal Disease, Diabetes, and other chronic health disorders, including autoimmune disorders.  She is an active NASM Certified Personal Trainer and teaches an online class in nutrition at the University of Louisiana Monroe.

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