PODCAST: Our Tips For Staying Healthy While Enjoying The Holidays

Thanks for joining us for episode 135 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show.

It’s the time of year where holiday food and stress of the season can easily derail healthy eating and lifestyle habits. But going in to the season without setting intentions can actually be more of a challenge to a healthy enjoyment of the holidays than trying to stick to a diet while surrounded by holiday treats.

Today we invite you to take a little break from hustle and bustle and join us as we share our tips for staying healthy and minimizing stress over the holidays while still enjoying yourself. Listen and relax as we share what we have found to work best for ourselves and our clients.

Some of what we’ll be chatting about is how to navigate the sea of holiday food choices that can interrupt daily eating habits as well as tips for facing the challenge of turning down food offered at gatherings.

Most importantly, we share the importance of setting intentions. You’ll hear how intention setting can reduce the inevitable holiday stress and help you be more present in your enjoyment of the season.

Happy Holidays!

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • [00:04:09] Our plans for the holidays
  • [00:13:56] Minimizing the stress of the holidays to enjoy it without feeling like you’re missing out
  • [00:19:04] Navigating through the holiday food choices and interruption of normal eating habits
  • [00:32:09] The challenge of saying no to a food when offered by family or friends
  • [00:40:29] The importance of being conscious of your enjoyment or lack of enjoyment of a food
  • [00:50:34] How setting intentions for the holidays can help reduce stress
  • [00:01:09] Our intentions for the holiday season

Links Discussed:


Kelsey: Hi everyone! Welcome to Episode 135 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Kelsey Kinney and with me as always is my co-host Laura Schoenfeld.

Laura: Hey everybody!

Kelsey: We’re Registered Dietitians with a passion for ancestral health, real food nutrition, and sharing evidence based guidance that combines science with common sense. You can find me at KelseyKinney.com and Laura over at LauraSchoenfeldRD.com.

Over the next 30 to 45 minutes we’ll be answering your questions about health and nutrition, and providing our insights into solving your health challenges with practical tips and real food.

Laura: If you are enjoying the show, subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode. And while you’re in iTunes, leave us a positive review so that others can discover the show as well!

And remember, we want to answer your question, so head over to TheAncestralRDs.com to submit a health related question that we can answer or suggest a guest that you’d love for us to interview on an upcoming show.

Kelsey: Today on the show we’re going to be sharing our favorite tips for staying healthy over the holidays without missing out on enjoying yourself and your time with friends and family. But before we get into the question for today, here’s a quick word from our sponsor:

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Laura: Welcome back, everyone! We’re doing something a little bit different today since we’re publishing this episode right around the holidays and we wanted to give our perspective on how to maneuver what can be a pretty challenging season for health habits. We wanted to help you do this in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or unhappy.

This episode will probably be a little bit more casual than our usual episodes since we’re going to be sharing our personal experiences not only with ourselves but also just some client experiences that we’ve had. We’re going to talk about what we feel works best for our clients or for our personal selves rather than sharing a ton of evidence or having a ton of prep work done for the episode.

But we’re hoping that you will enjoy the more laid back chat since like I said, it’s coming out right on the holidays. I think sometimes at least I feel around this time of the year that I don’t really feel like cramming my head full of a bunch of science information. How about you, Kelsey?

Kelsey: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like this is a good season to focus on just overall health, and relaxation, and time with friends and less about all the science and control I guess I would say

Laura: Just to get this episode kicked off, I think we wanted to talk a little bit about what our plans are since we recording this in early December only a couple weeks away from Christmas, which, Kelsey that’s what you celebrate, right?

Kelsey: Yes.

Laura: Okay. I’m sure we have people listening who have other holidays like Hanukkah or other holidays around this time of year that might have already happened. We apologize for missing your holidays, but we’re trying to at least sneak in before Christmas and New Year’s Eve when I think a lot of people are having at least one of those times that they’re surrounded by food, or alcohol, or whatever other kind of challenging atmospheres that they might be in.

Kelsey, I know that you’re heading up to, you said Massachusetts for Christmas?

Kelsey: Yeah, I’ve got family there. My husband I are high school sweethearts, so we actually both have family in Massachusetts in the same small little town so it makes a little bit easier. But my dad and my stepmom actually moved to Medellin, Columbia like three months ago which is pretty crazy. But luckily, they’re actually going to come up and visit in Massachusetts while me and my sisters and all their boyfriends and everybody is all there, so it’s going to be big happy family in Massachusetts.

But it’s always a little stressful for us because…us meaning myself and my husband… just because we have three families that we need to visit with essentially while we’re home and that can be a lot especially for the shorter holidays like Thanksgiving where you only generally have a couple days that you’re there.

At least for Christmas we tend to have a little bit more time. It’s really like a week or so that we end up staying there, but it can be a lot to try to visit with three families and just split your time kind of equally and nobody gets upset that you’re not spending enough time with them. I know at least for me it’s a bit of a stressful time, but also I intend to make it a really nice time that I get to spend with my family and really enjoy that time and be present with them, too.

Laura: Yeah. I almost feel like it’s a double edged sword with having all your family in the same area because on one hand it makes it easy and you can see everybody. But then on the other hand, you have to pick who you’re going to see, and what time you’re going to see them, and who you’re staying with, and it’s like hopefully nobody gets sad or upset that you’re spending more time with someone else. You have to be very cautious about equal opportunity to see people. Right?

Kelsey: Yeah. And it’s like we end up with basically a schedule happening, which is a little silly, but I guess it just has to work out that way. But I think it’ll actually be nice. We’re hoping to visit my dad and my step mom in Colombia at some point obviously, and that’ll be nice to just, you’re right, like go somewhere else where they’re the only people there so we can just spend all of our time with them. So that makes it a little bit easier.

But of course like you said, it’s more difficult in some ways obviously because you have to travel to see particular families. Once everybody is spread out it’s going to be a little crazy, too. I’m not sure which is crazier. But at least for this year, we’re all in the same place together so it’ll be easy in that regard, but difficult in regards to scheduling and everything.

Laura: Do you drive up to Massachusetts?

Kelsey: Yeah, it’s like a four and a half hour drive from the city. It’s not bad at all, so that’s nice. I really don’t like to have to fly over the holidays not only because it’s super expensive, but just because it kind of means are you going further if you’re flying. Driving four and a half hours is not bad.

Laura: We’re flying because my husband’s family lives about 10 hours from us, which for me is just too far to drive. I mean if we had a lot of time, like if we had a week or something that we could spend, then maybe it would be okay. But right now we only have a few days for my husband to get off from work. It’s like we don’t want spend 20 hours total of a four day trip in the car.

Kelsey: Right, that’s no fun.

Laura: We’re going to be flying up into Detroit. Even though his family isn’t in Detroit, that’s the closest direct airport that we can fly into, and then they’re about a two hour drive from the airport. I think our trip ends up being like probably a five or six hour start to finish from our house to theirs. And this is our first married Christmas.

Kelsey: I was just going to ask if that’s the case. I was trying to remember.

Laura: Yeah. Luckily, well I guess luckily, my parents don’t really celebrate Christmas. I think our intentions going forward are to spend Christmas in Ohio which I think is fair because my parents live in the same… I mean they’re moving to a different town right now, but they’re going to be 30 minutes away instead of like 10 minutes away now. We have access to them year round whereas we only will see my husband’s family a couple times a year. I think we’re going to end up spending Christmas with them on a regular basis.

Kind of like you, my husband’s got two sets of parents so we’ll probably end up having a schedule as well. I think he tends to be a little bit more laid back about scheduling things, so I’ll let him figure out what we’re doing and I’m just going to tag along and be like we do this on this day and this on this day.

Luckily he got a chance to go up to see his parents and his sister over Thanksgiving because he went up to go deer hunting with his dad. I didn’t go with him because I was like if you going be deer hunting, I’m going to not have anything to do so. Not that I wouldn’t potentially go hunting, but from what I’ve heard, it’s not a very social experience. You’re kind of just stuck up in a tree stand for four hours in the 20 degree weather.

Kelsey: Sounds exciting.

Laura: I think it will be interesting because we did do Christmas with his family last year, but that was when we were engaged. It was a little bit different because he was still in Ohio, I was down in North Carolina so it was kind of like partially me visiting him and then also seeing his family. This year it will be us visiting his family together.

I think it will be fun. It’s one of those interesting things where my family doesn’t really do Christmas anymore, significantly at least. His family is super into it so I’m trying to get back interested in Christmas stuff.  I’m not a Scrooge, I promise. I’m not like anti-Christmas. I just feel like I don’t get that excited about it.

I’m kind of awkward in the sense that I don’t really like getting gifts because I feel I’m a hard person to buy for. My husband would agree with that that I’m very difficult to buy things for just because I feel like I have very specific tastes about stuff. I always feel really awkward if somebody gives me something that I don’t really like and I’m like what do I do? Do I just like give it away or keep it? Or are they going to expect that I use it? Because I always have that kind of issue with my mom when she buys me things that I don’t really like. She knows going in that I’m probably not going to like it and I’m trying not to be a jerk. But on the other hand, I’m like I don’t like to have a bunch of random things that I don’t use around the house, so it’s just gets a little a little tricky. I’m trying to get more excited about Christmas this year since my husband loves it so much.

Kelsey: I love Christmas! Whenever I meet people who are just like eh, Christmas. I’m like how do you even exist? I love Christmas! Christmas is my favorite!

Laura: It’s ironic because my Christianity is such a massive part of my life. You would think that I’d be super into it. I’m sure once I have kids, I’ll be more into it. But I think for me, the spirit of Christmas in the way that our country celebrates it or really like beats it into the ground, I kind of just get sick of it because I don’t really think it is actually aligned with what the original purpose of Christmas was.

Kelsey: Yeah, fair enough.

Laura: Everything is like buy this, buy that, spend money, go get your kid these awesome gifts, and have people give you gifts and pretend that you like them.

Kelsey: You’re like I’m not into it.

Laura: Right. What I was going to say is I feel like this is kind of a good transition for our conversation today because the other thing that I don’t particularly like about Christmas or this holiday time in general is all of the change in routine and also just like the insane amount of junk food that is around that people just almost expect you to eat and to have with them, and that kind of thing.

Also I think as a dietitian, I’m sure you get this same experience where people also like feel weird eating that stuff in front of you. And they talk about it and they’re like don’t look at what I’m eating. I’m like I really don’t care, I promise.

Kelsey: Yeah, I could care less.

Laura: It’s like you always are the dietitian at the holiday party that everyone’s like just stay away from them because I don’t want them to see what I’m eating.

Kelsey: I hate that.

Laura: Like I said, we’ll be talking about this today where there’s all this food available, and I say junk food because it’s like things that I wouldn’t really consider nourishing like pie, and cookies, and eggnog, and all this stuff that you don’t have to have in your diet to be healthy. It’s not like I’m saying you shouldn’t eat too much turkey or something. When I say junk, I don’t mean something that absolutely shouldn’t be eaten. It’s just if you eat a ton of it, either you don’t feel well or you’ll put on a lot of weight over the holidays. And that’s no fun either if you put 10 pounds on in a month.

So just trying to navigate the food that’s available, the expectations from other people about the food, like how much you turned down, how much you eat. It turns into this thing that I think can be really exhausting for a lot of people. And that’s just considering the food, not even considering a lot of my clients who are parents, the amount they have to do to get their kids’ gifts, and wrap the gifts, and do the traveling, and plan to see family, and all the stuff. It turns into one of these things that I feel like people, they put a lot of pressure on themselves and a lot of obligations on themselves to do things perfectly and a lot of times I think it ends up causing people to just not even enjoy it.

That’s I think the challenge with the holidays in general and Christmas and all that is how do you go into it in a way that is really enjoying what it’s supposed to be for, like spending time with family or friends, or just having that social experience without it being this like disordered eating, binge eating, binge and restrict cycle, exercise after the day you ate all the food, and spending tons of money because you feel like you have to buy the perfect present, that kind of thing. All that stressful stuff that comes along with the holidays, how do you minimize that and then still enjoy your time without feeling like you’re missing out on something?

Kelsey: Yeah, I definitely agree. It’s a real struggle. When I talk to some of my clients, there’s a lot of stress that goes into the holidays and it’s really important to just think about it a little bit ahead of time.

I’m not like a big planner or a control freak and I don’t like to make my clients feel that way either. But I do think there’s something to be said about just kind of thinking a little bit about the situations that you might be put in and how you can mitigate some of those stressors or triggers, things like that to help you go through the holiday season feeling just relaxed about it and like there’s nothing that you need to be worried about or adding additional stress onto yourself for.

Laura: Yeah. I think when I talk about not really enjoying Christmas, I think that is what I’m trying to mentally get over is the expectation of it being this crazy stressful, like trying to do all this stuff perfectly kind of time.

For me, I don’t think I have that same level of perfectionism around the holidays that I’ve seen some of my clients have. But I felt like for me it ends up being… I don’t know, it’s tough. People always are surprised when I tell them that I’m an introvert and just trying to interact with either my family or my husband’s family, which I’m still getting to know them even though I feel like I know them decently well, just being in that experience and then also trying to navigate all this food, and exercise, and lifestyle stuff that’s happening, I feel like that’s the reason that when I think about the holidays and just like oh my gosh, I don’t feel like doing this right now.

Especially because I feel like that for me, and I feel like you may have this experience too where the end of the year has this weird burst of activity and then December and early January get kind of quiet for our work. For me, I almost feel like this time of year I’m more looking forward to having a break from work than any of the actual Christmas associated things.

Whereas my husband, he’s like a garbage disposal when it comes to food. He doesn’t ever have to worry about eating too much.  I think the stuff that I worry about with Christmas isn’t even something that crosses his mind. That’s probably why he enjoys it so much because he’s like, what’s not to like about Christmas? You get gifts, you get to see your family, you get to just hang out, you get time off work. I’m like yeah, I can see why you would think that was super fun. I want us to all have my husband’s attitude about the holidays where it’s all just fun and enjoyable and we don’t have to worry about all this stuff.

Kelsey: Yeah, for sure. Let’s go into this episode with that idea. Let’s all celebrate Christmas like Josh.

Laura: I’ll tell him what we said. I’ll be like we’re all trying to be more like you, Josh.

Alright so let’s talk about our most common things that we’ve heard either our clients or ourselves struggle with. Because I know before we got on this this podcast, Kelsey and I were trying to figure out what we were going to talk about because on one hand we definitely see this happening a lot with our clients where they struggle during this time for different reasons and so we have their experience to work from. But then our own personal experience, it can be a little tough because both of us feel that we don’t really struggle with this stuff anymore. And Kelsey, I think you were saying you didn’t really ever struggle with it. Is that true?

Kelsey: Yes. I consider myself very lucky in that regard. I have never struggled a lot with this idea of needing to be strict with my diet or control my diet in any way and so I’ve never really gone into the holidays thinking about all these situations where food is going to be offered to me and like what do I do, and can I eat this stuff? Is it going to totally throw off my goals? Luckily, I’ve never really dealt with that. But of course I hear it a lot from my clients. I think you were saying that you’ve kind of dealt with that in the past, but it’s something that you’re at least five or ten years removed from at this point.

Laura: Yeah, maybe not ten as far as like being fully over that kind of stuff. But I would say my challenges with…saying the word binge is weird because I don’t really feel like I had like a binge problem. It was just around certain times of the year that I would let myself not worry about nutrition because I had been so conscious about it. It’s like giving myself permission to not be conscious about it then kind of led to a swing in the other direction where I would eat everything, and drink a ton of alcohol, and just be like I’m going to have anything I want because today’s my celebration day. And then most of the time I’d feel awful the next day.

For me, I think getting to a point where I wasn’t really restricting food on a daily basis that when I get to the holidays I just I feel like I have what I want and I don’t freak out about it and I don’t binge on things.

When I say I don’t binge on things, I’m not saying I don’t eat more than maybe I would on a normal basis or I wouldn’t do what I consider overeating because I think being aware of what overeating is, is not the same thing as having any sort of disordered thinking around food or  disordered tendencies.

I think all of us know there’s days that we overeat. It happens.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It’s one of those things where there might be some occasions where I feel like I ate too much and I’m really full. I don’t beat myself up or feel bad about it.

Kelsey: You’re just aware of it. You know it happened and that’s it.

Laura: Yeah. For example, this isn’t really a holiday example, but my husband and I were helping my mom and dad move this past weekend and they took us out to a kind of late lunch. I guess it was like 3:00 or something. I got this like humongous burger that had like a gluten free bun, a salad on the side. I had a cocktail with it. I was just like I’m going just eat something really awesome right now. I was pretty full after that and then the rest of the evening I kept thinking do we have to make dinner? I kind of don’t feel like it. I’m not even hungry. I ended up just not eating dinner because I was so full from that late lunch.

I would say that was a situation where it wasn’t like oh I ate too much, I need to not eat now. It was more like I’m so full, I don’t even feel like eating. Normally I wouldn’t skip dinner, but I wasn’t even hungry. I wasn’t hungry until I woke up the next day.

That’s a situation where it might throw off my normal habits. Like if I eat a huge dinner the night before, I might not have breakfast right away when I get up because I’m not hungry. But that shift in routine I would say is totally different than looking at it as an opportunity to earn back the calories or however people think about it.

Kelsey: Right, where you’re like I had a giant lunch, so I’m going to skip dinner to make up for that. I have definitely had experiences like that, too. Even just this past weekend I hung out with two different friends and I spent a lot of time with them because my husband was filming some stuff. We went out for lunch, and dinner, and breakfast, and had a bunch of cocktails, which was a pretty unusual for me especially over the course of like an entire weekend for two days basically. I don’t even know if I ate any meals at home this weekend, which is pretty crazy.

But yeah, it throws off the routine, but in a way that I can just be aware of and I’m not necessarily changing anything on purpose because of what I ate over the weekend. But this morning, I was not hungry right away so I waited a little bit and I had some really small little breakfast. Probably I’ll have big lunch because I’m getting hungry at this point.

But it’s just a matter of awareness I think and just noting the things that you’re eating and how full you are. Like you said, you skipped dinner just because at that point you weren’t hungry, which makes sense. It’s not a way to kind of force restrictions on yourself outside of those places. I think is just really important to notice that and be aware of it, but not necessarily change anything on purpose because of anything that you’ve done.

Laura: I think the mindset piece is so important because if you look at the actual behavior, the behavior could be the same. Like for example, the skipping dinner thing, I could have like you said, skipped dinner because I felt guilty about eating a ton at lunch and was trying to correct what I did, or I felt guilty, so I’m like I’m just not going to eat.

I see this happening really frequently with people with exercise as a punishment for what they ate. You think about something like Thanksgiving, there’s all these gyms that will do workouts on Friday that are extra hard to “burn off your Thanksgiving meal”. If that’s your mentality that you have to like make up for what you did at a meal, I think that is a hundred percent different than listening to your body and feeling like okay, I had a late lunch and I ate a lot, and I’m really full still and I don’t really want to eat dinner. I’m just going to skip it because it’s like I don’t feel like making myself eat if I’m not even hungry.

Or with the exercise, it’s like well I generally work out on Fridays and I’m just going to do my normal workout and not have it be this thing where you have to atone for the food that you ate or that you have to make a change because you’re worried that you did something wrong or something.

I know it can sound subtle because like I said, the actual objective behavior might be the same. Like maybe you normally work out pretty hard on Fridays or maybe you normally listen to your appetite when it comes to eating and if you’re not hungry, you don’t force yourself to eat. Even that arguably could be coming from a disordered mindset if you’re not actually doing it for the right reasons.

I think just being able to be very honest with yourself about why you’re doing something and if it’s like I’m doing it because I feel guilty versus I’m doing it because my body is telling me this is what it wants, I feel like it’s completely different.

It’s tough because like I said, the behavior is the same, but the actual reason behind it is totally different. I think that reason will then impact your choices later because if you feel like you have to punish yourself for bad choices, you might either not enjoy the food or not even eat it because you don’t want to have to do the punishment later. Or you might overeat it because you’re like well if I’m going to punish myself, I might as well just be stuffing myself full of this food because this is my one chance to have fun.

Kelsey: Right. Exactly. As I’m thinking about this past weekend, I’m like I think I ate two meals a day for these days where I was never eating at home, which like makes sense to me because I can objectively look at the meals I ate and be like yeah, I probably ate way more calories than I would normally eat at my typical meals when I’m eating out, so it makes sense that I’d be full longer. It wasn’t anything that my friend and I consciously thought of. It was just like well we’re not hungry until way later in the day because we had like a ginormous brunch.

I think you’re right. The mindset piece is really important even though it doesn’t necessarily change what actually happens. Because I’m sure if somebody who was really concerned over their calorie intake ate a giant brunch, they probably like I’m going to wait until dinner because I know I shouldn’t be eating lunch because my breakfast was so big.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: But that mind set piece is huge. I feel like it’s kind of hard to describe why it is so important. You’re right, the behavior itself doesn’t actually change. But I think what you mentioned before is true is that it can potentially change behavior in a positive way in the future just because your mind is sort of in the right place, it’s not coming from a place of restriction and control.

Laura: Yeah. I think with the holidays, what I’ve found to be very helpful for myself other than the fact that I just don’t have a lot of restriction in my day to day life…and when I say restriction, I don’t mean that I just eat whatever all the time, because I do try to eat things that make me feel good. I try to eat in a way that supports my training so I’ll eat more on the days that I’m working out because I know I have a training session to fuel. I try to eat high protein because that keeps my blood sugar steady. It’s not like I have just no concept of what I should be eating at a meal. But I’m not like neurotically avoiding things because some internet person said this food isn’t good for you or anything like that.

When I go into the actual holiday environment, which if it’s at my family’s or like with my parents because my mom’s a dietitian as well, I feel like the food tends to be the same level of quality that I would normally cook so I tend to not think about it as much. But then when I’m in a situation like Josh’s family is much more just normal American family. They don’t have this ridiculous Weston Price, Paleo diet understanding the way that my family does. So when I’m in their house or if I have food around, like food that they have made, normally the meals themselves are normal. I’d say it’s the desserts that start to get like a little crazy in my experience, I mean they just have I would say much more of a normal Christmas type environment where people are bringing cookies, and making all sorts of different desserts, and all the different kids have the specific dessert that they want so of course there’s like enough for everybody to have everybody’s favorite dessert, that kind of thing.

For me, it’s like going into that environment if I had been the way that I was in my early 20s where I was always restricting…and when I say restricting, I don’t necessarily mean like calories, but just types of foods, even just being like strict Paleo or doing like very low carb or something like that. When I actually had those experiences, like let’s say I was at my husband’s family’s house and I was like I’m not going to restrict anything today, I’m going to eat whatever I want, I would have ended up just eating so much of everything.

Going in the last couple years to these kind of environments, I almost feel like I just don’t care about the food. It doesn’t have this draw to me where I’m like oh my gosh, I’m just thinking about it all the time and I need to have it, and thinking like if I don’t eat that, I’m not going to have a good time, that kind of thing. Just being able to be a little bit more aware of here’s the food that’s available, does any of that actually look appealing to me?

It’s funny because my husband, because like I said, he’s a garbage disposal. He can eat anything and he usually does eat anything. He’ll eat stuff and then he’ll be like you should try this, it’s really good. I’m like that’s not really my thing. He really likes sugar cookies, for example. I’m just like not into them. I’m like whatever, it’s like a sugar cookie. Who cares? So he’ll be like you should try this. Once in a while I’ll take a bite just to be like let’s see if this is that amazing. And I eat it and I’m like it’s not even that good. I mean it’s good, it’s not like it’s a total piece of crap, but it’s not….

Kelsey: It’s not something exciting for you.

Laura: Right. It’s not something that I even really want. I wouldn’t have chosen it.

Being aware of what your actual desires are and deciding if you even want something I think can be even challenging. Actually I think this is one of the biggest issues I run into with my clients is the concept of turning food down when it’s offered or when it’s available, which is kind of what I’m touching on here.

If my husband offers me something or my mother-in-law offers me some dessert that she made, it’s like do I want this? And if I don’t want it or if for whatever reason it wasn’t something I felt like I could eat from a health perspective, how do you turn that down? Because I think a lot of people associate food with love essentially. Do you feel like you have that issue?

Kelsey: It really depends on the context I feel like. You were talking about before how you consider yourself an introvert, and I’m the same way. Luckily, my family and even my husband’s family I feel they’re sort of at this comfort level where I feel like I can just be myself entirely. That to me is like the important piece of when I feel comfortable as an introvert. As long as I don’t feel like I need to be kind of putting on airs in any way, that’s where I feel my best in that I can hang out with people for a long amounts of time and it doesn’t feel draining to me.

And so with those people that I feel really comfortable with, I would say I don’t necessarily have that issue of feeling bad turning food down. But certainly in a situation where I am not super familiar with the people or like if it’s at a party and I’m acquaintances with those people, then that’s something I deal with a little bit more in those situations.

It’s always been I have to just think about whether I really truly want something or am interested in trying something. And if I’m not, then I’ve just learned to say no thanks. If that person is getting offended by that in any way, that’s not necessarily on me.

Laura: It’s funny you mention that you have a harder time with strangers. I feel like for me, I’m one of these like outgoing introverts is what we would call ourselves. I don’t have an issue turning stuff down because I’ll usually be fine telling someone why. If somebody offers me something, half the time I’ll just be like no, I kind of get stomachaches when I eat that kind of thing. I feel like that tends to be a much more gentle way of saying no than being just like no, I don’t want that. Or even just being like that looks so good, but I don’t feel good when I eat that kind of thing. That’s generally my strategy for turning things down.

I don’t really feel like Josh’s family is like this where they’re like pushy because I know there are some people whose families are like oh come on, just eat it. Sometimes there’s people who actually either they’ll shame the other person into eating it or they’ll themselves feel bad because the other person is not eating it. So they’ll be like now I feel bad eating it because you’re not eating it. That can be tough because then you feel bad that you’re making the other person feel stressed or whatever about the situation.

Or if they’re like oh come on, it’s not that big of a deal, you can go on your diet tomorrow or something kind of snarky like that, that can be I think more challenging than just turning something down to somebody who’s more reasonable.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: But if somebody is giving you a hard time about it, the way that I look at it is that that’s their problem and it’s not your job to make them feel better. And so just keeping that in mind when you go into that kind of situation because I know a lot of people have that experience where they’re in a situation where somebody is either sarcastic about it or kind of takes it on themselves and then they feel bad about what they’re doing. I feel like just remembering that it’s that person’s responsibility to deal with their own stuff and to not put that on you to fix their emotions by eating the food that they offered you.

That can get a little complicated just because it’s like what’s the person’s underlying motivation for giving you a hard time about it? But I think if you can always just be really firm in your decisions and remember that it’s not your job to make them feel good about themselves or good about their choices, and obviously not saying something like I’d never eat that, that’s so bad for you or something rude like that. But if you say no and that’s it, it’s just like you can’t ignore your own needs and desires to make somebody else feel good, if that makes sense, in that situation.

I mean obviously there’s times where you do things to make somebody feel good that is some level of self-sacrifice. But if it’s a food that you know is not going to make you feel good or you don’t even want to eat, that’s not something that you need to do.

Kelsey: Yeah. I would also add too that I think a lot of people, myself included, have somewhat of a hard time turning food down if there’s not some specific reason. Like you were saying, when you turn something down you might say like it just doesn’t sit with me well or it doesn’t make me feel good. I think people need to get more comfortable with just saying no thanks, I’m good. You don’t have to explain anything to anybody.

Of course if you do have a reason, I do think it can kind of help to lighten the situation so that the other person doesn’t feel anything. But again, you don’t have to worry about that person’s emotions necessarily.

But I think all of us can get better about saying no to things in all aspects of our lives not even just this, but especially here too. You don’t have to explain yourself to anybody who’s offering you something. You can just say no, I’m good, thank you.

Laura: Yeah, and I think having an excuse in your back pocket if somebody presses you for it can be helpful. Let’s say you’re doing like a gluten free, dairy free diet because you have an autoimmune disease or something like that. You know going in you’re not going to be eating anything that has those things in it, which obviously gets rid of a lot of the types of desserts and stuff that you would normally see at a party or a gathering. I think what Kelsey said about just saying no and not needing an excuse to be able to say no because maybe you just don’t want it, you’re allowed to not want something. Being okay with just saying no and seeing what happens, because maybe nine times out of ten the person is like okay and just like goes and offers it to somebody else. But then if they really push you, then having some kind of explanation even if it’s not the truth, you don’t owe anybody like a deep medical explanation as to why you’re avoiding something.

If you feel strongly that the food is not something that you want or something that would be harmful to your health, then you can share why you’re not doing something with someone. It’s not like you have to keep that stuff yourself or like just eat it because they’re forcing on you.

I think the only challenge is when you think about people who have actual eating disorders and how their family might react if somebody is turning down food. But I think that goes a little beyond the scope of this conversation today because I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there that they turn everything down and they don’t really eat anything. That’s more of like a concerned relative that is worried about their health versus if you’ve eaten a meal with your family and then dessert is being passed around and you don’t take any, you should have the right to say no without having to explain yourself.

But having an explanation to give if somebody is basically annoying you about it or kind of like pushing you I think can just make it a little bit more comfortable because you don’t have to think on your feet and be like what am I going to say, I don’t even know, why am I turning this down?

Kelsey: Yeah. And for me too for the holidays especially when there’s all sorts of stuff going around, I think it can be really useful to if I am interested in eating something, but I’m not sure if I’m going to like it or whatever, just like take it and try a little bit and then decide if I want to continue eating it or not, or if it’s not worth it to me.

Laura: Yeah, definitely. That’s something that a woman named Jill Coleman that I follow, her website is Jillfit.com. She always talks about the one….or the first bite rule I should say. Basically what that rule is is anytime you’re eating something that’s a pleasure food like a dessert or something like that, if you’re not sure you’re going to enjoy it or if it’s like you’re trying to eat in moderation and not just pig out on something because it’s available, then the first bite rule is essentially every time you take a bite of that food, you evaluate if you’re still enjoying it the way you did when you ate the first bite.

I can use an example of this that happened recently. My husband will occasionally buy soda, not often, but he does sometimes get one if we’re out. We went to Target yesterday, I think it was. We were doing like mad search for a newlywed’s Christmas ornament, which was like the most ridiculous thing. It was so hard to find one.

But anyway, when we were at the mall we both realized that we were thirsty and so he wanted to get a soda. I’m like okay, whatever. He has a soda like a couple times a month. I don’t have to be Miss Debbie Downer Dietitian wife or whatever. He got a Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper is one of those sodas like I actually really like the way it tastes. I asked him if I can have a sip of it. I had a sip and I was like oh my gosh, this is crazy how many flavors. This is just like insane. And then I had another sip and I was like okay, the initial shock of all the flavors has kind of worn off and now it’s just kind of starting to just tastes like sugar water. Then by the third sip or something I was like okay, I don’t want this anymore because it’s like now it just kind of tastes like sugar, like I’m drinking liquid sugar.

Kelsey: Some nasty syrup.

Laura: Right. It’s a bit of an extreme example, but it’s one of those thing where you can kind of apply that to any dessert that you’re eating where maybe the first couple of bites taste really good and you’re really enjoying it, and then halfway through you’re like I’m kind of over this flavor. This is not really enjoyable anymore. That’s the point where you want to stop.

I think a lot of times people are not even aware of that even happening where you’re not really enjoying it anymore. You’re just eating it because it’s in front of you or because you associate the food with something that’s enjoyable.

I always think about Oreos as a good example of this. Oreos are a cookie that I think at least I look at them as something that everybody loves Oreos and they’re awesome, like they’re so appealing. The last two or three times that I’ve tasted an Oreo, which honestly I can’t even remember the last time that was, I take a bite and I’m like this is disgusting. This doesn’t even taste good. It’s like sugary cardboard.

Kelsey: I’m going to admit, I love Oreos. I can’t agree here.

Laura: I think that might be the first time we have a stark disagreement on our show. But that’s I think a really good example of something where I try it, but I think it’s gross. I’m not going eat the whole thing. Whereas someone like you might love it and eating an Oreo is your treat for the holiday or whatever that you’re going to have once in a while because you know it’s probably not good to eat all the time, but it’s like you really love them.

You can have a bite and decide you don’t like something and stop eating it. You don’t have to eat it just because…like if I was sitting next to you and you had Oreos and you’re like oh my gosh, this is so good, and I was like I don’t like Oreos. They’re not good, I’m not going to eat one.

I don’t know why it’s so easy to think about…like if you don’t like green beans or something, nobody’s going to write or eat green beans unless you’re like five years old eating with your parents. But if you have a dessert in front of you that you’re like I don’t really want that, everyone’s like oh it’s so good, you have to have it.

It’s one of those things where I think if you can just get a really good level of awareness of the experience of eating the dessert and keep checking in with yourself as you’re eating it, which part of that is just enjoying it more because you’re actually paying attention what you’re doing and not just like housing essentially.

Kelsey: Totally, yeah.

Laura: But the other part of that is like I said, sometimes even really good dessert, you get through half the piece that you took for yourself and maybe you’re just like this is too much now and I’m kind of not enjoying it anymore because it’s too sweet. So just being able to be aware of that, and again, maybe you eat the whole piece and you enjoyed the entire thing, and it was amazing, and you just loved it. You don’t have to stop eating it, but you definitely shouldn’t be eating something that you don’t enjoy if it’s something that’s not like for a health reason.

Kelsey: Absolutely. I think the portion size here comes into play a lot because like you were saying, if you have something in front of you, you have a full piece, or a whole cookie, or something like that, most people are just like oh I have this, this is the portion size. I’m going to just eat this portion size. But I think this idea of checking in with yourself as you go through that eating process is huge.

I always think of like pecan pie for this for example where I freaking love pecan pie. But it’s one of those things that is so like sickly sweet that it’ll taste great for a couple of bites or maybe like half a piece of pie, and then by that point I’m like wow, I’m so done with this. I really don’t need any more and honestly eating more of it is going to make me not like it.

I think making sure that just because you have a certain size of a piece, or a cookie, or whatever does not necessarily mean you have to eat that whole thing. You want to enjoy it. You don’t want to get to the end of a piece of pecan pie, like I hate pecan pie now because I just forced myself to eat it.

Laura: I’ve ruined pecan pie for myself.

Kelsey: Yeah, exactly.

Laura: Yeah, it’s tough though. It’s one of these things where it’s like I really think when you go into a situation with these kind of deserts and other people are enjoying it, I almost feel like there’s the social pressure that you should enjoy it, too. Because I’ve been in that situation like I said with even just Josh, or like for a small group for church, or going to this family’s house for a holiday, and all of them are like these are so good, these cookies or whatever. Maybe that’s just the kind of cookie that they like and I don’t like those kinds of cookies. I don’t necessarily need to eat them because everyone else says that they’re good. But I think a lot of times people will actually do things because everyone else is enjoying it whether or not they’re enjoying it themselves.

That’s where that awareness piece comes in. It’s like you said, you don’t want to eat something that you’re not enjoying just because it’s in front of you or because other people are eating it. It can be tough. I feel like sometimes it’s like a hindsight thing where you eat it and you’re like oh gosh, now I feel like my stomach is so heavy with all that sugar.

But I mean at the end of the day if that happens, it’s whatever, it’s a learning experience. And again, you’re not going to beat yourself up and be like I’m so stupid for eating that or now I have to go to a CrossFit workout the next day because I ate too much pie. It’s like that doesn’t feel good, I think next time I’ll be a little bit more aware of what I’m doing and not just eat it because it’s there and because it’s served.

So trying to use everything as a learning experience and not beating yourself up because you did something that doesn’t feel good is really important. Even like the goal of health, I feel like people can really be very moralistic about…and I don’t know if moralistic is the word.

Kelsey: I know what you mean.

Laura: Basically it’s like I’m doing something that’s healthy, I’m a good person. And then if you do something that isn’t healthy or makes your stomach hurt or something you’re like I’m stupid or I’m bad because I did that.

I hear this kind of language with my clients a lot where they’ll say I was bad and I had this, or I cheated and I had that. I’m like you’re not being bad. You’re making a decision, and maybe it wasn’t a good decision, and maybe you don’t feel your best afterwards, but you’re not a bad person for making that decision.

So just removing the result of the decision from what type of person you are in this whole situation, I think it’s really important. I think it can be really subtle that you’re having that mentality, but just being aware of it is the first step.

Kelsey: Yeah, absolutely. Of course like the worse that gets over time, it really messes with your mindset in ways that probably are not even super obvious. But as a dietitian working with people where I see that a lot, and I’m sure this is probably true for you too, Laura, I feel like I can pick up on that in somebody just the way they talk about food. I’m like this is tied in with how you view yourself as a person so intimately that I know this is something we have to unravel. It can be really hard to unravel that. The earlier you can kind of recognize those symptoms, I think basically the earlier you can start to work on that, the better because it can become really difficult to pull that apart.

Laura: I think we had a couple other things. Obviously we don’t want this episode to be insanely long. I did warn everyone that we were going to ramble a little in the beginning, but I feel like I did a little bit more than you.

I think one last thing that we should cover is this concept of what a person’s intentions are going into the holidays because obviously it can be stressful for a variety of reasons. Even in the best relationships and family, just dealing with all the family stuff can be stressful.

Like you said, both of us are going to have to manage schedules for example with our weekend. Even if our relationships are amazing, just having to deal with the coordination of travel can be stressful. Most people do have some level of stress.

And then a lot of people have not so great relationships with their family that they still need to see that person or they’re just going to interact with people that they don’t really like to spend time with. There can be a lot of emotional stress around the time of the holidays.

Kelsey: Or may not have people…like I have some friends who their parents live in another country. They are not going to see them. I think that can be really tough, too.

Laura: Yeah. Being lonely or on Christmas itself where a lot of people are with their families and nothing’s open and you have nothing to do, sometimes that can be a little sad or lonely and makes you want to pig out on ice cream or something because you’re bored and you’re sad that you’re alone.

There’s a lot of different things that can happen that make the holidays stressful. Even just dealing with a lot of other stressed out people. I feel like going into public in general, like went to the mall yesterday to hunt down this freaking ornament that took forever to find. When I say this ornament, I don’t mean we had a specific one in mind. I mean finding an ornament that was specifically a newlywed’s ornament was shockingly difficult for some reason yesterday. But even just being at the mall and being at Target and stuff, you can just kind of like sense the anxiety in the air of everybody. Everyone’s a little bit like stressed out and a little bit irritated with the other people around them. I just feel like in general in our country around this time of year, it gets a little edgy.

Kelsey: For sure.

Laura: We know that everyone is going to be experiencing some level of stress, unless you just don’t interact with anybody during the next month essentially from the beginning of December. What we want to really emphasize in this conversation today is what the holidays are all about because that we kind of touched on a little bit when we first got on the call when I was admitting my distaste for Christmas is that if you let yourself get sucked into the negative issues that happen during this time of year, I think this time of year can really suck.

If you get caught up in needing to be the perfect mom, and have all the Christmas gifts perfectly wrapped, and make your kids happy, and make your in-laws happy, and make your sister happy, and like this person isn’t coming for Christmas and I’m mad about it, or like just all the different things that can happen that are negative during the holidays; if that’s all you’re focused on or all you’re really considering is like all the things you have to do, and all the obligations you have, and oh my gosh, we didn’t get a photo for the Christmas card and now if we do that…it’s just like the level of craziness that can happen, which I actually think really a lot of it ends up falling onto the woman especially in families that have children.

I was just reading an article about this the other day that I can try to share a link to if I can find it where they were talking about like the emotional responsibilities of women during the holidays and how basically women take it upon themselves to create the perfect Christmas experience for their families. A lot of times it’s super stressful.

Just being able to have more clarity about what the reason for all of this stuff is because like I was saying, for me being a Christian, I definitely look at it more like what is even the purpose of Christmas? What are we celebrating? Whether or not Christmas is like a legitimate Christian holiday, I won’t even go down that track. But just like what is the reason and what is the deeper purpose of Christmas?

And for people who aren’t religious that celebrate Christmas, I mean it really ends up coming down to the same kind of stuff where it’s like family, being grateful for things that you have in your life, and blessings, and that kind of thing.

I just want to make sure that we’re coming out of this conversation with we’re not just talking about how to be on a diet basically or how to like maintain your healthy habits. Which to be fair, yes, it’s difficult. But I think what can really be the root of the difficult nature is if you don’t have your priorities set before you’re going into the holidays.

Kelsey: Absolutely, yeah. I know for me just because you touched on that you’re a religious person, I’m not. But I celebrate Christmas and I love Christmas. But I feel like part of the reason that I love Christmas is because I try to be very intentional about it every year in that I go into it trying to think about just that I’m really excited to spend time with my family who I love. And yes, sometimes it can be a little bit stressful, but to me it’s so worth it to be able to spend time with them. It’s one of the only times where it’s like all of us together, which is so great.

For me, that is always my intention and the highest priority for me is just like spending quality time and being present with my family and my friends that I’m seeing over that time and just enjoying the really social aspect of Christmas. Because for me, Christmas tends to be a very…or just like holiday season in general for me and tends to be a very, very social time and I really enjoy that, but obviously it can be exhausting. But if I go into it with this idea of being present and really enjoying the time that I have with my friends and family, I find that I love the season so much more.

Laura: Yeah. Like I said, we’re in the beginning of December right now so we’re kind of getting into the season. For me, my mindset over the last couple of weeks despite the fact that a lot of times I feel kind of irritated because I’m like I don’t like that the whole world shuts down and everyone’s obsessed with it, and it’s like we’re all arguing about whether the Starbucks cups have the word Christmas on them or whatever.

The last couple of years have been a little bit like I just want to like shut myself in the house and not deal with all the stuff. And this year just seeing how excited my husband is about stuff, and we’re excited to see his family, and he’s going to go… well I keep saying he’s going to go home, we’re going to go to his home. We’re having our first Christmas tree together. It was my idea to go get an ornament to have together, that kind of thing.

My attitude is like listen, I don’t think I’m ever going to be the kind of person that’s just like obsessed with Christmas, loves it. I am not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I have friends that love it. They’re playing Christmas music on the day after Thanksgiving and I’m like Christmas music is only for December 25th and maybe the 24th.

But just having that attitude of like maybe I’m not that big into Christmas, but my husband is and his enjoyment of the holiday season in general is important to me. So not only do I want him to have a good time and to support his ability to enjoy his traditions and get involved in those traditions, but also to kind of like reset what my experience has been with Christmas and be like here’s my chance to kind of start something new.

Maybe the last couple of years Christmas hasn’t been the most exciting or the most enjoyable holiday. A couple of the last Christmases in maybe the last five years or so I was alone because my parents were up in New Jersey and I was down in North Carolina by myself and so there was some loneliness. All my friends were dating or married or something and I was single for up until like a year and a half ago basically. Just having that experience of just wanting it to be over.

This year because I’m like now I have somebody to spend it with and we’re going to go see a family that is really excited about it and this will be fun. It’s almost like I have to talk myself into allowing it to be fun because I think my personality is such that I’ll get a little stubborn about well I don’t like about Christmas, so I’m just going to tolerate it.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Like I said, it’s been very intentional for me to go into this situation being like I’m going to enjoy this. And that doesn’t mean I’m going to like eat 500 sugar cookies because that’s what my husband is doing, but it does mean that I’m going to put up a tree, and we’re going to do presents, and I’m going to bite the bullet and make a Christmas list for his family. Because I’m like I’m not five years old, I don’t need a Christmas. But that’s what they do in their family. Just being like not bratty about it I guess is my best way of describing it and being open to just experiencing what Christmas is like with my husband and with his family, that kind of thing.

So that’s my experience. But that might apply to other people listening where maybe they have had bad experiences with the holidays or maybe they don’t have the best relationships. Like you were saying, you’re excited to go see your family and stuff. I definitely am empathetic with certain experiences where you’re not excited to see family and you don’t really want to be interacting with people either extended family or even immediate family.

Just because you’re not excited to have the experience, doesn’t mean you can’t look for things to enjoy or to be grateful about, or to just not freak out about. Because I think that’s the other thing, is like you can just be neutral as opposed to feeling angry or bitter. Or like the whole loneliness thing, I mean just using the opportunity to just have like a DIY spa day, paint your nails, that kind of thing. It doesn’t have to be like this really sad thing where you feel like you’re focusing on being lonely, you’re focusing on not having good relationships with family, that kind of thing. I’m definitely rambling.

Kelsey: But I love the idea of resetting your expectations especially if you have had some negative experiences with the holidays in the past. I think that is a really nice thought and just sort of going into it neutral, not trying to force yourself to be in a great mood or be overly excited about things, but also not going into it actively not liking it. You go in neutral expecting the best and you just try to make it as enjoyable of an experience as you can. And if it’s not, that’s okay too. It doesn’t have to be this grand time, and it’s probably not going to be for many people. But I think going into it with this idea that things can be different is a really good idea.

Laura: Yeah. I think that does apply to the food situation because I think people tend to go into the holidays on autopilot in a lot of ways. Like you were saying, maybe someone like me, I’ll just use myself as an example where generally not super excited about Christmas and have had some potentially negative experiences around Christmas. I could go on autopilot and just be like cranky and annoyed and we go to Josh’s family’s house and I just sit there with my arms crossed, that kind of thing.

That is something I know a lot of people do. They just kind of do what they’re used to. It’s a very standard way of human behavior where it’s unless you’re actively choosing to be different, you’re probably going to do what you’re used to and what you’re normally doing every year. Having that intention to…I mean you said making are expecting the best. I would almost argue that you should just not expect anything because if you’re expecting the best and it turns out not the best, then you might feel sad or disappointed or it could almost reinforce your negative thoughts about the experience. Whereas if you just go and being like it is what it is and I’m going to do what I can to enjoy myself. And if Aunt Susie is awful to me again this year, then I’m not going to be upset about it because it’s not like I’m expecting her to be a new person or something like that.

The same thing goes with the food where it’s like well I could just go on autopilot and eat all the food, and wake up the next day and feel terrible, and then go on a ten mile run to punish myself for it because it’s what I do that every year.  Or maybe this year I’ll go in with the level of mindfulness around the food that I’m going to practice this idea of eating what I want, eating things that I enjoy, and stopping when I’m not enjoying it anymore, and paying attention to my hunger signals, and all this stuff and just see what happens and saying I’m going to try something different. And if it works, then great. If I struggle, then maybe there’s a learning experience or maybe I’ do better next year to follow my intention as I had gone in.

Because I think a lot of times if you’re around your family, a lot of times your intentions can kind of get blown out of the water because you’re like back in your typical old habits. I don’t know if you feel this way, sometimes if I’m around my family I start to feel like we’re in high school again or something.

Kelsey: Yes, for sure.

Laura: It’s just doing your best to try to stick to the intentions that you set realizing that you’re probably not going to be perfect about it, so don’t expect perfection. But if you go in without any sort of plan or intention or anything, then you can pretty much guarantee you’re just going to do what you’ve done every year.

Kelsey: Yeah, totally. I mean obviously everybody make your individual intentions as well. But I think that just as a whole for everybody, it’s not a bad idea to just intend to go into the holiday season with just being in neutral. I think that’s a great place to be. That way there’s no expectations like you were saying of good or bad and you just let it be what it is.

Laura: I won’t apply that to my husband. I won’t tell him to not be excited.

Kelsey: Yeah. If you’re already super excited, you’re allowed to be super excited.

Laura: Yeah. I think we’re talking more about the people who are stressed and worried about what they’re going to do going into Christmas. At the end of the day, that was what we talked about like way in the beginning where we were saying that you and I don’t even really think about it that much anymore. That’s the kind of neutrality that I think we’re talking about. We’re not saying just go into Christmas having no excitement and just like no emotions whatsoever. It’s more just not going in with this expectation of things being really hard or expecting you’d have a binge and restrict episode, or that kind of thing. It’s tough.

On that note, Kelsey, I’m going to put you on the spot. What’s your intention for the holidays?

Kelsey: My intention I would say just to go back to the whole family idea is to really just be fully present with my friends and family over the holidays when I’m there because I always wish I could see my family more. My family is really, really close. Sometimes, you’re right, we go into this feeling in a high school mode where we can all kind of like go into our older kind of bad habits and yell at each other. Even though we love each other, we’re one of those families that we just like say how it is.

Laura: So you’re saying you’re from the Northeast, basically.

Kelsey: Yes, exactly. I think for me it’s just to really be present and be my best self and not fall into old habits where maybe I’m not acting the way that I’d like to act around my family, and just being with them fully presently and being my best self.

Laura: Kind of being aware of when you start to act like 15 year old Kelsey.

Kelsey: Exactly. How about you?

Laura: I would say mine are to maybe what I was saying before about like open to new experiences type of intention where I’m almost looking to see the occasion through my husband’s eyes and just see obviously he loves it and I can see what he loves about it and create new traditions or create new experiences as a newlywed as someone who now has a new family essentially. I know you said you’ve been with your husband like 15 years or something at this point?

Kelsey: Eleven years. A long time.

Laura: I forgot you’re younger than me. But, I mean 11 years, that’s a long time. I’m sure you kind of feel almost at this point like his family is your family to the sense that you’ve known them for so long, there’s no surprises as far as getting to know people.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: For me, even though I’ve spent time with my husband’s family, I don’t feel like they’re my family yet. They’re Midwesterners so obviously they treat me like I’m their family. But being from New Jersey, I’m a little bit more slow to get integrated into the family situation.

My intentions are to first of all support my husband’s enjoyment of the experience. Even if something seems silly to me or is like I don’t feel like doing that, I’m still going to be supportive of his enjoyment and just not be a Scrooge about stuff that I’m not super into. But then also just being open to letting things be different, and letting things be new, and experiencing what this new I guess expectation of what Christmas is like, settle into what our life is like as a newlywed. Which I almost feel like that’s almost everything in the first year of marriage is. Like this is how I used to do it and now I have to learn how to do new things. It’s not bad, it’s just it’s a lot of change.

Kelsey: It’s different.

Laura: I think it can apply to Christmas as well.

Kelsey: Yeah. I really like that and I hope that everybody who’s still listening to us ramble on is thinking about your intention as well. Laura and I are saying it out loud, so maybe you and your partner or you and a friend can say your intentions out loud or if you just want to write it down. But just like getting it out into the world in some way and not just keeping it in your head I think is a really good idea because it kind of just makes it a little bit more real, I think at least.

Laura: Definitely.

Kelsey: Put it out into the world. Whatever your intention is for the holiday season, put it out there.

Laura: Awesome. Well I think once in a while people can handle our rambling. It is the end of the year after all.

Kelsey: Yeah, we’re losing it.

Laura: We were joking before we got on the call. We were like we don’t want to talk about nutrition anymore. We just want a break from having to think about it. And so that’s what you get with a podcast where we’re like mentally just ready for a break.

Kelsey: Over it. Exactly.

Laura: On one hand, hopefully that doesn’t sound like we don’t care. I almost think it’s good to follow health experts that don’t take it too seriously, if that makes sense. Because it’s like I personally get a little turned off when people treat nutrition and health like it’s the most important thing in the world.

Kelsey: You can get so into the weeds with it, like you can drive yourself crazy.

Laura: Right. Hopefully those of you who are still listening appreciate our attitude about health because I just feel like what we talked about today especially with the intention setting is so much more important than whether or not you had too much sugar on Christmas or something.

Kelsey: For sure. Yeah, I agree. Hopefully you guys enjoyed it. And as always, if you have a question that you’d like us to answer, you can go to TheAncestralRDs.com and leave us a question in the contact tab.

Laura: But otherwise, I guess we will see everybody here next week and we hope you all have a great holiday!

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.

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