There’s nothing like bringing everyone together around the table to realize how different you all are when it comes to choices about what to eat and how to celebrate.
TK and I get so many questions this time of year from clients and friends about how to ‘survive’ the holidays. How to be true to your own healthy eating habits without being ‘judged’ by others at the table.
I’ve gotta say – I totally relate. After seven years of this ‘healthy eating’ thing, we’ve definitely experienced the full spectrum of situations.
To help you out, last week, I was going to sit down and write an email to you – offering up some super smart ‘strategies’ for how to ‘survive’ this big feast that you’ll probably sit with tomorrow.
But, let me share what happened.
And how it changed everything…
That morning, I found out there was a bad accident just a couple miles from our home. A head-on collision instantly took the life of a 45-year old father in our neighborhood on his way to work, leaving his wife and three little girls behind.
As you can imagine, it’s been a crazy week around here. A lot of things have happened – meal trains, donations, offerings.
One thing that didn’t happen was an email of ‘strategies’ for how to ‘survive’ Thanksgiving.
I just couldn’t muster myself to do it.
The idea that we would dread spending time with people in our own family? That we would dread having to come together to feast? It just suddenly seemed so trivial and so ungrateful.
Some of us spend the holidays with people we don’t even like (which is a whole separate email). But, if you’re lucky enough to be with people that you do care about. People that you’d love to see live on with you in this life as long as possible.
Why would you let a piece of turkey or gravy or pumpkin pie get in the way.
Now, I’m not saying you have to make yourself sick eating stuff you don’t want to eat, but you can be grateful for the meal before you – the people around you. Can’t you?
And, if you were grateful – truly grateful – would you not need a ‘strategy’? Wouldn’t your behavior, your choices, your conversations around food be easy. Wouldn’t it be clear what to confront and talk about and what to let go?
Today, I invite you to think about Ed and his family. How quickly any member of your family could be plucked away from you. To recognize how lucky you are to have this day together.
I invite you to recognize the abundance around you. To open up yourself and be a little vulnerable – to judgment.
If you choose to pass on the turkey or some other side dish – does it really matter?
Be who you are and love those you’re with.
If you’re feeling judged, recognize that we only see in others what is reflected from ourselves. (I know – harsh thing to say, but we all know it’s true. Who is judging who?)
As you look around the table at your family members, many of whom are probably struggling with weight, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer – watching them slather on the extra gravy or salt or whipped cream – rather than judge them, can you be a flicker a hope? Can you be a light for them? Can you love them where they are? Can you recognize that you’re not ‘the weird one’, you’re the leader (Note: not the dictator – just a benevolent leader).
Be the weird one. Why not?
Before we sign off here, TK and I would just like to say how happy we are that our life paths have crossed with you. Thanks for being who you are in our lives. For following along. Reading our emails. Signing up for our classes. Sharing your thoughts. Inspiring us to be more of ourselves.
We look forward to many ‘Thanksgiving’ moments with you.
And, just know that as you get healthier and healthier, it continues to evolve. Every year will be a little different – a little better. And, one day, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the big day.
I, for one, can’t wait to spend a day with both sides of our family – feasting, being silly, honoring each other and being grateful for the time together. (Plus, we’re doing a whole big experiment in how we cook the big feast – which we’ll share with you next week. It’s either going to be AWESOME or a total bust. We’ll let you know!)
Until then… thank you!
In health and with deep gratitude.
Karen & TK (and, the girls, too!)
P.S. If you need a little more Thanksgiving inspiration, definitely check out: