The Blog


Top 7 Tips to Survive the Holidays, Still Have Fun, and Prevent a Flare-Up

autoimmune journey pain and inflammation Nov 10, 2022

 2 years ago, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was yo-yo dieting to the max – between elimination diets, keto, paleo, pescatarian, plant-based and all kinds of things to try to control my pain and inflammation. What made all the difference is, I finally got some professional help to guide me. 

December 1st was the day I decided to go all out, I didn’t want to wait another month till after the Holidays. And looking back, I’m so glad I did. Because this was the day that started my journey to not just surviving, it put me on a road to healing and now, I’m finally thriving.

But, it was not easy. The holidays of course posed some challenges. And I’m not going to lie, I ordered alllll my favorite foods to eat for Thanksgiving because I still struggled with that all-or-nothing mentality.

Even if you’re not going to start your major lifestyle and nutrition transformation during the holidays, there are things you can do to still feel healthy and prevent major autoimmune flare-ups.

Overall, eating healthy can be a much bigger challenge over the holiday season, especially if you’ve been invited to parties and are worried that the food that will ruin your healthy eating efforts. Party food can be super tempting and it can derail you of all your good intentions but here’s the good news: you’re much more in control than you might think and there’s plenty you can do to stay on track and still have fun. Check out my best tips to survive the holidays

Get plenty of sleep

I can’t stress how important RESTFUL sleep is. So, before a fun-filled and food-filled gathering, get plenty of sleep. If you’re tired or lacking sleep, your body sends signals to your brain that you need energy. But that “need for energy” can be interpreted as eat more food rather than get some rest. In other words, you end up eating hundreds more calories than you would’ve if you got enough sleep! Try to get an early night before parties and you can cut out the potential for overeating. 

On another note, lack of sleep increases your body’s stress and inflammation, which already puts you at risk for a flare-up. Lack of sleep + busy day + not your every day foods = inflammation = painful day the next few days. Minimize risk by taking control of at least a few of these factors, so you can still enjoy your holidays!

Start your day with a good breakfast & don’t show up hungry at parties

If you’re tempted to eat little (or nothing!) before you go out this holiday season, think again! You might assume you’ll be “saving” your calories for later but you’re more likely to be giving yourself the green light to eat a lot more than you intended.

 If you’ve ever found yourself picking up junk food in the grocery store while shopping hungry, you’ll know the negative impact it can have on your food choices. And this is why you don’t want to show up to holiday parties on an empty stomach either.

It’s fine to leave a bit of room for festive food but you definitely don’t want to be ravenous when you turn up. This is a surefire recipe for wanting to eat everything in sight!

Eat a filling snack around 20 to 30 minutes before you leave home. This can be super helpful to stop the constant snacking at the party. 

Don’t forget your meds & take your supplements!

As you’re getting ready for a fun-filled busy day, it can be easy to forget to take your meds. (Or is it just me?) Take your medications as prescribed by your provider and be sure to take your high-quality supplements! I especially don’t want to forget taking my digestive enzymes & my fish oils. These are 2 of my main supplements to help me minimize symptoms caused by food intolerance and decrease inflammation overall. They are my lifesavers! If you want to know which brands I take, send me a message.

Stay on top of your hydration & don’t forget about liquid calories

Make sure you’re still drinking the right amount of water your body needs for the day. When you’re busy during the holidays and having fun with friends/family, it can be easy to forget to drink you water as often as you need to. Set an alarm every 1-2 hours if you need to remind yourself! Especially with all the foods you may be eating, you will be dehydrating yourself faster than usual.

Furthermore, It’s not just what you put on your plate that you need to think about - liquid calories also count and they can add up more than you think. Alcohol and soda are empty calories and don’t add nutritional value at all. That’s not to say that you can’t drink - just be mindful of what you drink and what it’s contributing in terms of calories, sugars and so on.

Try drinking a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks to pace yourself and keep yourself hydrated. That way, you can still have fun, but you’re not going to go overboard.

 But dehydration leads to more inflammation and can increase your stress hormones, which will trigger a flare-up!

Eat mindfully & Listen to your body

It takes around 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know that you’re full. In that time, you could easily have eaten the equivalent of a meal without even thinking about it.

Taking a more mindful approach to your eating can help to avoid this. To start things off, go for small helpings of the party food you fancy and really savor eating them. Small bites and chewing your food thoroughly can be super helpful for this.

When you’re done, distract yourself for a bit. Work the room and talk to other party guests to stop mindless snacking and check in with yourself 20 minutes later to see if you’re really still hungry. Chances are, you’ll find that you’re not.

Once you’ve eaten a reasonable amount, you’re likely not actually hungry anymore. 

If you’ve eaten a ton of food in a short space of time, these signals may not be picked up — especially given that it takes around 20 minutes for these types of hunger cues to make themselves known.

Chat with your family for 15-20 minutes and then check in with yourself to get a handle on your hunger. Before you reach for yet another helping of anything, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. You’ll likely find that you’re actually pretty full and would just be consuming extra calories.

 Really don’t trust yourself not to keep making trips to the buffet? Position yourself so that you’re not standing anywhere near it. If the food is within reach, there’s so much more potential for mindless snacking even when you’re not at all hungry. The further away you are, the more you have to make a conscious decision to walk over to the buffet.

Don’t Restrict Yourself too much. Give yourself grace to enjoy the day, no post-dinner guilt!

Plan your day the best you can. Prioritize your favorite foods first. I like to say – the foods that’s worth the pain, literally. Then after that, stick to healthier options and remind yourself about the control you have over your body. All other foods are a distraction from the main event, which is simply spending time with your family. Anything else may cause a flare-up, and you won’t be able to enjoy your tomorrow. Is it worth it? 

And at the same time, whatever you do decide to eat, enjoy the moment for what it is, no shame, no guilt. Don’t let the choice stress you out and cause more inflammation than the food itself. It’s ok!

Move & Dance After Eating

After eating, take a break and go walk around to talk to more family and friends. Try not to settle down on the couch for movie time just yet. Throw on some music and start dancing with your family to keep your body moving. This lowers your blood sugar spike, which will lower inflammation, which will lower the risk of triggering a flare-up!


Hope you loved this list on surviving the holidays! And to lessen the stress on what you’re going to bring to your next potluck, check out some of my top favorite foods that are sharable, healthy, and fun to make!

Get your FREE download today.


Stay in the know! 

Subscribe to the Anti-Inflammatory Living Blog and be notified when a new post is published! Be the first to know when there are new tips, tricks, & free resources you can get your hands on! 

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.