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How to Manage Special Occasions, Holidays, Travel, and Vacations

How Can You Feast and Honor Your Body, Mind, and Spirit?

Develop a "moderation mentality" mindset & lifestyle

 Questions to explore and strategies to use. Ask yourself:

  1. What changes can I plan today in my traditional holiday celebrations? Do I want to change the way I handle cooking and eating on special occasions or do I feel I would spoil the fun for everyone?
  2. What do I need to change? Food I prepare? How much is available and where? How many goodies I eat? What would I do differently? Handling leftovers? Saying, “No, thank you?”
  3. How will I help myself use what I planned today when my next vacation or holiday arrives? How would I feel? How would this planning really benefit me?
  4. How will I keep myself committed to these changes? Whom will I ask to help me?
  5. What vacation/holiday situations do I need to practice today? Travel-munchies preparation?

Planning ahead:

Plan ahead and you can manage almost any special occasion. Be clear about what you want to do. The more difficult the challenge, the better your plan needs to be.

Make others a part of your plan. Tell them what you want to do and ask for their help and support. Check out NVC Non-violent Communication

How will you manage eating out in restaurants, banquets, conferences, potlucks, airlines, or a friend’s home?

 Questions to explore for yourself:

  1. What food will be available? What will be most tempting?
  2. What will I pass up, find a substitute for, share or eat smaller portions of?
  3. What size portions will I eat of each food?
  4. How will I honor my body and healthfulness with the food choices that I plan to make during this meal?
  5. Perhaps it might be beneficial to remember past similar experiences. Remember how you felt after making certain food choices.

 Preparing meals away from home:

Questions to explore for yourself:

  1. What food do I need to bring?
  2. What snacks do we need while we’re traveling? Perhaps check out Bob's Strength Training Lunch Bag.
  3. Where will I shop for groceries?
  4. What kind of schedule will we have for meals and snacks?

 What tools will I use?

  1. Food diaries? How many will I keep? On what days? How will I fit it in?
  2. Lifestyle activity away from home? What kind of activity will I do? When and where will I do it? How long will I be active each time? What equipment do I need?
  3. Support from others? Who will help me keep on track? When will I ask them? What will I say? Who will especially test my resolutions? (My mother-in-law, mother, children, spouse or partner, waitresses, relatives, friends?) What will I say and do to help myself? Check out NVC Non-violent Communication

Adapted from © 2004, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Health Education Services, Cultivating Health™ Healthy Weight Kit.

Learn To Effectively Manage Social Gatherings

Failing to plan is planning to fail!  An ounce of preparing is worth a pound of fat!

How Can You Feast Without Getting Off Track?

Restate your commitment to yourself (A Daily Reminder):

  • Restate your commitment to improved health and fitness and long-term healthy living. My commitment to me is____________________________________________________________________.

  • Remind yourself how good you look and how successful you feel as you honor yourself by making choices for you that nurture your well-being. You're worth caring for!


Review the ideas from Eating With Awareness and Pleasure.

Plan ahead. Think about the event before going:

  • Anticipate the food that will be there and the actions of other people. Think about your own desires to eat and the external pressures from others. Perhaps review Factors That Influence How Much We Eat  and remember to check in for your natural hunger signals. Pay a visit to Listen to Your Body. It Will Talk to You: Hunger Scale.

  • Employ visualization and mental rehearsal techniques and practice. Have a low-fat snack before the event if you find yourself being hungry before the event.

  • Try to focus your attention and energy on the people that will be there rather than on the food!

  • How do you imagine the event to be?________________________________________________.

  • What is your PLAN?____________________________________________________________.


Make the choice to stay in control:

  • Be the one in charge. Be active, rather than reactive. Celebrate your healthy self-management skills.

  • Discuss food choices with the host or hostess prior to the event. Consider offering to bring along a delicious dish of your own. Check out below for creative ideas (holiday garnishing ideas) with healthful food options.


Be more physically active:

  • Regular physical activity will help you to balance your mental and emotional needs, and help you be in touch with your bodies natural hunger and satiety mechanisms, as well as alleviate the extra stress which often accompanies holidays or special occasions.

  • Your nurturing activity commitment is________________________________________________________.


Keep a proper perspective:

  • If you do experience a "lapse", keep a positive attitude. Don't turn it into more than it really is. Just practice positive and powerful problem solving to learn from what happened. That allows you to be more successful next time. In the scheme of things, lapse does not signal failure. The trick is to bounce back. A positive attitude is central to the ability to stay in control both during and after the event. Perhaps remind yourself of our natural change process.

  • Instead of letting the holidays happen to you, make them happen for you. Enjoy your time with other people as you experience heart-felt connections with them. Consider making food the secondary focus. Perhaps start new family traditions: go for a walk, play games, read stories, or do some arts or crafts.

Think Light For The Holidays!

To clearly see the type click on the thumbnail then print off the page.


The Twelve Mays of the Holidays

The Twelve Steps for the Holidays

Stress Busters for Surviving the Holidays

By Bob Wilson

Questions to explore:

ü      What is the one thing you’d like to have or to have happen this holiday season?

ü      What would have to be done to increase the possibility of this happening?

ü      What obstacles stand in the way?

ü      What happened last year?

ü      What happens after the holidays? Why?

ü      What kind of support would you like from others?

ü      If you had the POWER to design a positive holiday experience, what would it look like?

ü      What are the things that you can do to help you stay in control this season?


What is your reaction to the following words?

Budget, Carols, Cards, Holiday Eves Dinner, Holiday Food, Baking, Candles, Decorations, Gifts, Clothing, Parties, Overwhelmed, Charity, Family, and Company?

 More words:

Coping, Expectations, Powerless, Stress, Going Home, Rituals and Traditions, Change, Humor over the Holidays?


Explore articles from Bob’s site, Essential Skills #1:

To explore environments or situations where it is difficult to stand up for yourself, scrutinize:

*       Explore Factors That Influence How Much We Eat

*       Learn How to Effectively Manage Social Gatherings

*       Going Out to Eat

Ways to restore balance:

*       Help! I'm movin' too fast! I need to slow down!

*       Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It

*       On The Spot Stress Managers

*       Explore Self Care to Restore Balance During Hard Times

*       Understand Your Brain Chemistry and How it Influences Your Body Weight

*       Emotional—Spiritual Tune-up

*       Relax, Observe, and Allow

*       Slow Down! Take time.

Discover Creative Holiday Garnishing FUN: Make a Sandwich Birthday Cake and More!

For Bob's Garbanzo Spread Appetizer--Check Out:  Bob's Garbanzo Spread Recipe and Celebrate Healthful Eating!

Books on Holidays and Special Occasions

This book shares many terrific suggestions for various holiday situations. It describes healthier options to feast on in each situation. In addition it explores going out to eat: Americans spend more than $400 billion a year eating out, and behind each burger, turkey sandwich, and ice cream sundae is a simple decision that could help you control your weight-and your life. The problem is, restaurant chains and food producers aren't interested in helping you make healthy choices. In fact, they invest $30 billion a year on advertising, much of it aimed at confusing eaters and disguising the fat and calorie counts of their products. All of that has changed with EAT THIS, NOT THAT!. This book puts the entire food industry under the spotlight, and arms you with the savvy tricks and insider information it takes to eat well no matter where you are. With EAT THIS, NOT THAT! you're the expert in every eating situation, from the frozen food aisle to your favorite fast food joint to your local sports bar. You control your food universe-and lose the pounds you want--because, unlike every other customer, you'll know the smart choices to make-instantly! EAT THIS, NOT THAT! is jam-packed with secrets the restaurant industry doesn't want you to know.

             Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!