A Holiday Eating Plan (NOT a Holiday Diet Plan)

26 November 2019 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

The holidays are approaching. This is a time to relax and connect with friends and family. Yet this time also comes with stress and anxiety. The December holiday season can be a difficult time for people. It’s a busy time. Working with clients over the years, I have seen that most feel really anxious about food and social events over the holidays. For those of us with food and body image challenges, holidays can be even more difficult. The rushing and shopping, the social events, the focus on food and alcohol can be triggering.  Anticipating all the events, worrying about overeating, wanting to get our fill because some holiday foods only come once a year. It’s quite normal to go between really looking forward to the gatherings and dreading them!

At times like this, it’s useful to be prepared and to have a plan. Not a diet-y type of plan, but a more mindful plan that takes every aspect of the holiday into account. Since it’s the season of travel, I am going to use a flying analogy… when an airline plans and prepares for a short internal flight or a long-haul international flight, there are so many steps involved. It’s the same with the holidays.

You need to create a flight plan. This looks at the route, the altitude, the weather en route and the fuel. When calculating fuel many things need to be considered – weather, the load of the plane, back up fuel in case of re-routing. That’s before the plane has even taken off!

Before take-off, there is briefing and planning between the flight deck and cabin crew. The captain and co-pilot work very closely together – checking and cross checking. The flight deck is in constant contact with the control tower. On very long flights, there may be two teams of pilots, one that will do the take off and then rest and the second team to do the landing. The cabin crew check in on the flight deck at regular intervals to make sure they are okay. During the flight, there will be times when the aircraft will be on auto-pilot and other times when it’s all hands-on deck. There will be times of cruising and times of turbulence when seat belts need to be fastened and we need to remain seated.

So too with our holidays, there’s the planning and preparation phase. Once the holiday is on, there are many things to take into account: shopping, people, social events, cooking and preparing. The missing part is often the support system and communication. We are out of our routine, we are busy, places are crowded. There will be moments of ease and moments of turbulence.

Whatever your plans are for the holidays – staying at home, going away, going on an overseas holiday – each requires mental, emotional and practical preparation.

  1. Think about what’s important about this holiday?
  2. What matters to you?
  3. What could be your potential triggers?  People or places or situations? Food pushers? Buffet meals? Comments on your food choices and body?
  4. How can you plan for these?
  5. What are the steps you can take to support yourself during this time?
  6. What can you do to have back up? What will you do in times of turbulence?
  7. How much energy do you have available? How do you want to spend it?
  8. Who will be your support team? How will you take care of yourself?

How would your holiday be different if you planned and prepared as much a possible? We must leave some room for spontaneity! What if you anticipated some of the challenges ahead of time?  Just as the pilot does her pre-flight checks & continues to check her instruments during the flight, you too are the captain of your own flight. Set the destination, create your plan, anticipate the obstacles ahead and make the necessary adjustments during your holiday. Remember there is no perfect holiday! Above all enjoy the flight, have fun and arrive safely.


If you are feeling stressed about the upcoming holidays and you need support to create a plan… I have created an easy, practical online course to help you navigate the “turbulence” of holiday eating.

This online course is ideal if you:

  • Stress about holiday eating.
  • Are anxious about the variety & abundance of foods & social events.
  • Worry that you won’t stop eating during your holiday.
  • Want to develop a relaxed and peaceful relationship with food over the holidays and you need support with eating this holiday.
  • Want to get a taste of Mindful and Intuitive Eating.

Everyone deserves to enjoy their holiday, feel relaxed and enjoy food with all the aspects of their holiday!

Get instant access to The Holiday Eating Course.


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