Harder To Kill Radio 254 6 Tips for Navigating The Holiday Food Scene

6 Tips for Navigating The Holiday Food Scene – Harder to Kill Radio 254

The holidays are here regardless if we want them to be or not, and with that comes stress around what to eat, how to control your cravings and ultimately ‘white-knuckling’ your way through a time of year when you should be enjoying yourself.

Harder To Kill Radio 254 6 Tips for Navigating The Holiday Food Scene

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Embrace The Holidays Without Losing Your Sh*t

You don’t have to be on the defensive or walk on eggshells during this time of year. With a few mindset and intuitive eating strategies, you can embrace the holidays without losing your shit when it comes to food.

When you are able to practice setting boundaries, find the overlap between sustainable nutrition and intuitive eating and embrace the fact that you do not need to earn or burn your food, you can create a healthier relationship with food and everything that comes with this time of year.

Whatever stresses you have during the holidays, food shouldn’t have to be one of them. Stop approaching the holidays as a chore and expand your viewpoint around intuitive eating during the holidays with this episode.

How do you manage your relationship with food during the holiday season? Share your approach with us in the comments below.

On Today’s Episode

  • The two typical archetypes of those extra activated during this time of year (5:40)
  • Six things you can do to make it through the holidays without losing your shit over food (10:11)
  • Why you should watch out for the dieting throughout the day mentality (12:25)
  • How to slow down and pay attention to your experience with food (21:04)
  • Understanding the role of basic self-care when avoiding food triggers and stressors (23:04)

Resources Mentioned In This Show

Join the Core 4 Club on Facebook

Order The Core 4 Book Here

Nutritional Therapy Association Website


“Today I want to offer this to you as we approach this time of year so that you could perhaps expand your own view of the world and get some transformation in this area if you have really been struggling with the idea of food and the holidays.” (2:27)

“Finding the overlap between the world of sustainable nutrition/nutritional therapy and intuitive eating is messy and it’s hard and it’s confronting and it’s challenging but it is very, very worth it.” (9:20)

“Exercise has so many other amazing benefits, controlling weight is not one of them.” (16:37)

“We don’t need to abandon all of the things we normally do because there might happen to be fun foods laying around or fun foods in greater abundance. Come back to what you know.” (24:40)

The Core 4 book is now available! Click here to get a free gift when you purchase.

Harder to Kill Radio is sponsored by the Nutritional Therapy Association. Registration is now open for the NTA’s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program. Learn more and save your seat (and don’t forget to mention my name on your application!)

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You can also try out their free 7-day course, Nutritional Therapy 101.

254: Tips for Navigating The Holiday Food Scene FULL TRANSCRIPT

Steph Gaudreau:

Welcome to episode 254 of Harder To Kill Radio, the Fierce Love Friday edition. Today on the show, we’re diving into six tips for making it through the holidays without losing your shit. When it comes to food. Let’s do this. I’m Steph Gaudreau. I help women get stronger, know their worth and take up space without restrictive dieting or exercise as punishment. I’m here to share that you can approach nutrition, fitness, and mindset from a place of nourishment so you begin to trust yourself more deeply. Let’s talk about how to embrace your body and own your power. Now with over two and a half million downloads, this is harder to kill radio.

Hey there, welcome back to the show. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m Steph Gaudreau, your host. This is going to be an interesting show today because I am talking about six different ways or six things you need to know as you approach the holidays so that you don’t entirely lose your fucking mind when it comes to food. And there’s going to be a little bit of stuff mixed in here and some mindset stuff, some intuitive eating, things to T to think about. But nevertheless, I hope you’re going to walk away from this episode as always with some different perspectives, some tips, some things to apply to your life, some mindset shifts to consider and mull over as we slide on into the holidays. It’s now early November, where did the year ago, Oh my gosh, early November, which only means one thing. Now we’re going to start to see lots of stuff going on, talking about holidays and food and diets and Oh gosh, so much stuff.

And so today I want to offer this to you as we approach this time of year so that you could perhaps expand your own view of the world and get some transformation in this area if you’ve really been struggling with the idea of food and the holidays. So as always, you know, if you hear something in this show and it doesn’t quite land for you or it doesn’t quite resonate for you, that’s okay, but I hope it helps you to expand your view of what other people might be going through or perhaps learn to meet a friend or family member with a little bit more compassion et Cetera, et cetera. Would love to remind you to join the core four club on Facebook. This is my closed Facebook group. It’s a community of like-minded people exploring the four pillars of health and of course, today’s podcast is brought to you by the core four.

Embrace your body, own your power. If you are looking for a way to approach your nutrition, your movement, your stress management, and your mindset that doesn’t make you absolutely crazy, then hopefully it will pick up a copy of this book and start to implement some of this sustainable strategies that are in it, an additive approach, looking at food and movement, not as punishment or something to be withheld, but seeing how you can incorporate these things in a much healthier way. So go ahead and head over to Steph gaudreau.com there. You can get a signed copy signed personally by me and I will send it to you. That would be really exciting. And before we jump into today’s content, today’s show is brought to you by the nutritional therapy association, the NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners like myself. I did the program in 2018 and it was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself professionally.

In the realm of nutrition, the NTA emphasizes whole food, properly prepared nutrient dense frameworks as the key to restoring balance in the body. They’ve just launched a brand new online program for NTPs where students take an in-depth look at things like function and dysfunction of body systems, food quality, health and wellness barriers, emotional wellbeing environment, the importance of sleep and movement and stress. And you know, we love all those topics here and how they affect the body. As a student, you’ll be empowered with motivational interviewing techniques, clinical and practical skills, and all the most up to date knowledge to become a highly recognized and respected nutrition and wellness professionals in your community. Registration is now open and seats are filling up quickly. You can learn more and save your seat by going to nutritional therapy.com and of course, remember to mention my name on your application.

All right, let’s go ahead and dig into the show today. Six tips for navigating food around the holidays without losing your damn mind. I thought of this show and I’ve, I’ve talked about this topic before in a different way, but I thought that this show would be really relevant because I’ve been seeing lots of chatter around the Internet. That reminds me of sort of two typical archetypes of folks that start to get really activated during this time of year. Right. We are very close to the holiday period really kicking off. I mean we’re past Halloween so it’s basically all gloves have come off. I mean we were driving by West Elm yesterday and it was Christmas stuff in the window and I went to Michael’s to get some yarn cause I’ve picked up my knitting needles again as a way to keep my hands off my fucking phone at night.

And there were Christmas songs playing in my, anyway, so the holidays are here regardless of whether we want it to be or not. And these two archetypes that I see popping up in my community are, the first one is the person who realizes the holidays are going to be here and that the only way that they are going to control themselves is by going on some kind of clean eating challenge, strict diet, something of that nature. The other one is the type of person for whom the holidays is just the gloves have come off. This is the second time I’ve used that analogy today or that figure of speech, but the gloves have come off, the holidays are here and every they end up eating everything and really feeling pretty bad about it. Not only sort of emotionally, mentally guilt, shame wise, but also physically and also not really ever enjoying or savoring or tasting the food.

It’s just sort of open season and the loss of control eating, the overeating, the not even enjoying the food is something that occurs. So I tend to see these two archetypes showing up a lot in my community, and this is not a judgment. I did an Instagram live or sorry, a Facebook live in my group about this last week. It’s not a judgment at all, but it is something that I do notice. And I would argue that both of them are a really stressful way to approach the holidays because what is often going on energetically is this, just like white-knuckling in both situations, the white-knuckling or just using every ounce of willpower, not able to enjoy this time of year in the slightest feeling always on the defensive, always walking on eggshells and all of this stuff. So you hope if you, if you know me by now, you know that I take kind of a blended approach, nutritional therapy and, and all we know about nutrition slash science is important but also intuitive eating is important and getting folks to a point where they’re able to tune into what their body is telling them.

And this is very nuanced. There’s so much that goes with intuitive eating. Everybody’s like, just tell me how to do intuitive eating. And I’m like, it’s not a diet where I can just tell you the 10 foods you should never eat again. It doesn’t work that way. But I get the desire right. Cause we just want something that’s easy and something we don’t have to really think about. And finding the overlap between the world of sustainable nutrition slash nutritional therapy and intuitive eating is messy and it’s hard and, and it is confronting and it’s challenging but it’s very, very worth it. So what I want to go over today are six things to think about. Keep at top of mind as you’re working through this time of year so that you can get to the other side. It will be a picture in your mind.

It’s December 31st or it’s the new year and you feel like, Hey, you don’t have to go back on a diet and be that you, you made it through this season without losing your mind and feeling like it was even more stressful because you’re already going to have likely stressful or challenging situations coming up. Family, there’s travel, there’s finances. I mean so many things that we, we all are already dealing with. And then, of course, the stress of the season makes that even more amplified. So six things I want to cover today. The first thing, and I’ve talked about this, uh, before, did I talk about it on a podcast? My memory is a bit fuzzy at this point cause we’ve done so many podcasts. But the first one is to, yes I did talk about what happens when you are not eating enough nutrition-wise, energy-wise throughout the day.

And what happens is a lot of times people say, Oh my sugar cravings just gotten nuts when I got home. And then there was this whole guilt shame thing around eating all the carbohydrates, which are quick energy sources. So here’s the thing, we need to find a relative balance of energy intake throughout the day. And the reason why I mentioned this is because there are going to be a lot of holiday gatherings or holiday parties, especially particularly in the evenings or get-togethers. And what tends to happen a lot is, and again this is all good, the intentions are good and you need to remove the self-judgment here. But you go throughout the day and you’re like, Oh, I know I’m going to have that get together at Susan’s house and there’s probably going to be, you know, fun food or there were going to be treats or they’re going to be alcohol or whatever, and so I’m going to save, save up to to have a treat, treat myself to indulge in that or however you, whatever language you’re using around that, but what often happens is you, as I said, save up.

You don’t eat enough food throughout the day. You get to the social event and you’re so hungry that you sort of blow past the the normal amount you might actually eat if you were pretty filling, pretty satiated from the rest of the day, you kind of switched into this primal hunger. There’s oftentimes yes to drive for carbohydrates because of course that’s quick digesting energy and if you are a, if you’re somebody with a natural menstrual cycle, then you’re also depending upon where you’re at in your cycle. If you’re in the second half, you might just be carbohydrate seeking as kind of a normal part of your hormonal fluctuation. All that to say is that watch out for the dieting throughout the day mentality and and how that could set you up for eating more than you had intended, especially if you’re going to holiday gatherings and there’s all oftentimes novel food there, the food that you haven’t seen all year, or it’s your, your friend’s famous pie or whatever it is, like that food’s very novel, which can then increase your desire to eat more of that food than you had intended.

Again, as I’m reading this, a refi as I’m talking about these if there are things here where you’re like that doesn’t it all apply to me and I don’t do those sorts of things or I am an intermittent faster and that’s on an issue, that’s fine. Take what resonates and leave the rest. The second thing and this is more of a mindset thing, is to start setting boundaries and saying no, practicing setting boundaries. Now also, if you’re someone who is not setting great boundaries, you need to practice in other areas of your life. And then when you go to holiday parties, gatherings, et cetera, then being able to exercise that and say no or set a boundary and stay firm and clear and do it with kindness is really important. You need to practice and almost think of it as a dress rehearsal. So if it’s the first time and you’ve not been practicing boundaries or saying, you know what, I’d rather not talk about that or can we change the subject?

Or um, you know, trying not to talk about my body right now. Let’s talk about whatever else. I would really encourage you to look up a few folks who I think do a really great job with this. The first is dr Nicola para on Instagram and then also the grounded therapist who is Rachel desk dash Daugherty and she is going to be a podcast guest very soon. And then dr Nicola para is going to be a podcast guest very soon as well. So both of them do a brilliant job. There are so many other people who also do a brilliant job talking about setting boundaries, saying no being from being clear so that if somebody offers you something to eat and you’d rather not eat it cause they’re making that choice for yourself. You have the languaging around which to, you know, move and enjoy the rest of the social event or, or have an interaction with that person and not have the uncomfortable, you know, Oh I don’t want to eat that.

And then we get into an argument or a back and forth about it. Just practice, do some dress rehearsals. Third, we need to really soak this in. Really, really, really soak this and you do not have to earn or Vernier food. You don’t have to earn our burn your food. Meaning you don’t have to do a hundred crunches if you’re going to eat a peanut butter cup. You don’t have to engage in movement in such a way that, okay, you went to a holiday gathering, you ate more than you intended, or you just had a great time and you, you, you ate as much as you intended and you had, you enjoyed it. But then the next day is the, okay,

I need to go and work this off. Okay, so you don’t ever have to earn or burn your food. And I know this is so contrary to die a culture. And this is everywhere. Those little graphics of like, how many times do I need to do burpees to burn off this food that I ate? First of all,

from a study point of view, if you look at the research, you look at the literature, exercise is really not great for weight management. If we’re going to talk about weight very briefly here, uh, and it’s not me, it’s not something I, I love to go in on hard and talk about weight loss for lots of different reasons, but exercise has so many other amazing benefits. Controlling weight is not one of them. It’s just not. So there’s this sort of thing like, Oh, I ate this pie or ate this cake and I’m going to go work it off on their treadmill. You’re going to be there for a really fucking long time. Might as well go do something that you enjoy because you enjoy it. Not see it as a transactional relationship between what you ate and now the movement that you have to do or the amount of food you need to withhold from yourself. I mean, if you’re naturally less hungry the next day, great. But we tend to have that happening, which is, I should just go into this next one, four, resist the urge to overcompensate.

You know, oftentimes what we tend to see would be a very punctuated experience where you went out, you went to a gathering, you ate more than you intended, or you ate as much as you intended and you think, Oh, I ate so much food or I ate X many calories, now I need to make up for it. And I think this is slightly different than earning and burning the food. That’s more of a physical movement exercise as punishment sort of gig. But what I mean here is we tend to get into these re first of all this all, nothing thinking this catastrophic type thinking. And if you know anything about cognitive behavioral therapy, you’ve talked about this before on the show, the concept that thoughts create feelings and then feelings drive our behaviors. If we sit here and we’re like, oh, I’m so gross, I ate all this stuff, then we start to feel accordingly and then act accordingly to that.

And what we get are these, these wild fluctuations, these wild swings, periods of intense restriction followed by when life and life happens and willpower runs out and or we’re presented with more novel foods or whatever the case might be, a swing back to overeating, loss of control, eating, binge ate, eating. So you know, we had to be realistic and I see this happening a lot. People will often talk about, they weighed themselves and selves the next day after a big party where they ate lots of fun food and I’m like, Hey, why are you going to do that to yourself? The skill is probably going to go up and most likely it’s for two reasons. One, you ate more carbohydrates than you normally do and two or an or two, you ate more sodium than you usually do. And both of those things can cause water retention.

You did not. Okay. Like we can set the discussion of sort of why we’re so afraid of the scale going up aside, cause we’ve talked about that ad nauseum on this show, but you did not gain, you know, five pounds worth of muscle or fat overnight. You did it. We need to, we need to just cut this one off right here. You didn’t, that didn’t happen. It’s most likely water retention. And if you get back to your normal routine, feed yourself the foods you’d normally do, make sure you’re getting a good poop out of it. Get some movement, you know, let’s just get back to normal instead of swinging the other direction, which is this like complete overcompensation, not just with our behaviors but also our thinking, right? This all or nothing thinking this catastrophic thinking I’ve ruined everything. No, we need to stop doing that.

We just, this is not productive thinking and I know it’s easy to slip into because we develop these patterns and habits and our thinking, but this is not, you know if you find yourself saying, I’ve ruined everything, stop, stop right now. Or get a friend and say, staff, help me here. I’m, I just, you know, I’m thinking that I’ve ruined everything. You need somebody who’s going to give you the real, real. You need someone who’s going to give you the real talks and just say, is that really true? Do you really just ruin everything with this one social event? No, this is just is not helpful thinking cause then it causes us to overcompensate. Okay, two more things. Number five, savor the food. For fuck’s sakes. Slow down. Slow down. Hey, attention. Have an experience with the food. Especially if it’s a food you’re really scared of eating because you, you think, OK, this food makes me go off the rails or I have no control or this food always triggers something in me to eat more like this.

Can we slow down and observe and pay attention to what we smell? See taste, the texture, the temperature, how the taste of the food might change as we are eating it. So for example, I know for me the first couple of bites of steak, artists like, Whoa, yes, this tastes so amazing. And then after, you know, half the state goes by. I’m like, yeah, like it’s okay. Lots of foods have that effect on us. So I think if we were to slow down to please chew to well enjoy, be present, we would often find that by savoring the food we tend to eat less of it. And I’m not talking about from a caloric control point of view, this is not what I’m talking about, but I’m just talking about a, Hey, you know what? I realized I was satisfied and I after half the piece of pie was good rather than I’m eating it so quickly and I’m afraid it’s never going to come around again.

That I completely override all of those things and I don’t actually enjoy it. And then lastly, the last thing I want to touch on today, practice basic self-care. I’ve haven’t on my high horse about this lately because it’s something I’ve been doing a lot lately and I had to slow down cause I was getting super stressed out, especially about social media and I had to just slow down, take some time, step away, self-care. But really this time of the year, the stress that we’re going to feel all this stuff, the basics of self-care are really, really important. Put yourself to sleep at a, at an as much of a consistent time as you can. I get it. Holiday parties run late. That aside, go back to your basics, right? Build your plate. Half a plate of veggies, your protein, your healthy fat, your, you know, dense carbohydrates. Go back to basics. Move your body, you know, stick to your schedule within reason. You know you don’t need to be crazy about it, but go back to the things that make you feel good. Do some kind of a breathwork practice or some kind of meditation practice. You can go back a few episodes and listen. Listen to Josh Trent. Talk about breathwork or find whatever meditation or quiet sitting practice you like or journaling or reflection or have some have something ready to go.

Okay, coloring, knitting. I don’t care. Whatever it is, have your thing or things and get your sleep. Those are, these are come back to the basics. We don’t need to abandon the basics because we have a random holiday party here or there because somebody put out red and green fucking M and M’s on the desk at work. We don’t need to abandon all of the things we normally do because there might happen to be fun foods laying around our fun foods in greater abundance. Come back to what you know, practice self-care, reduce your stress so that you don’t feed into that cycle.

Yeah. All right. That’ll do it for today. I hope this has been helpful for you in some way, shape, or form. Hopefully it’s expanded your view or given you some things to think about regarding foods that you don’t lose your mind in this holiday season, that you don’t beat yourself up or feel like you need to hop on another diet to make it through or at the end, let’s come to a more sustainable way of doing things. Of course, you can find my guidance on that in The Core 4, my book. Embrace your body, own your power, would love to invite you to check that out and I would love to send you a signed copy and put my signature on it and physically send you my love and energy through that book in the mail to your doorstep and you can use that as a guide to starting taking care of yourself from a place of care and compassion. That’s what I love to invite you to do. Of course, also, please hit the subscribe button on your podcast app, whatever app you listen to the show on, hit the subscribe button. What that does is causes the show to automatically upload like magic into your device that you don’t need to go seeking it out every week. It’s just right there waiting for you. Q, Richard Marx, have a great weekend. Thank you so much for being here and until I talk to you next time, be well

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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