How To Stay In Your Lane At Family Gatherings

We have all been there. You go attend a family gathering while trying to stay healthy and consistent in your fitness goals and find the pressure of your family making it difficult for you to stay the course of healthier nutrition options, peer pressure, and a million questions in regards to why you’re eating or not eating certain foods.

If you have experienced this we are here to help you better navigate the course of your family gatherings while still making huge milestones in your health and fitness goals!


stay in laneIn our personal and client experiences we have had our fair share of run-ins with family members not providing us with the support we would like when getting together. Although family members tend to think very highly of us it can still feel upsetting when comments are made that make us question our goals we have for ourselves. Some of these may look like “why are you losing weight? You’re perfect the way that you are!” “ You don’t need to lose weight.” “Don’t lift too heavy, you don’t want to get TOO BIG.” “Just have a cheat day you earned it!” The list goes on and on. Read our article on setting boundaries when it comes to your health and wellness goals!

We don’t have the ability to change others but we do have the ability to change ourselves. Although you do not owe anyone an explanation as to why you are choosing to change your lifestyle in a more healthy way, we can influence others to make healthier choices through our own contributions and actions. Rather than telling family members why you are choosing a healthier lifestyle, educate others on how your life has changed for the better since starting your journey. How your sleep has gotten better, your clothes are fitting better, your increase in energy levels, and how your relationship with your food and body has changed. Personal testimonials go so much further than just telling family and friends that we simply just want to lose weight.

2) Learn How To Build A Healthy Plate!

Learning how to build a healthy plate is a great way to navigate family gatherings. We believe that food is the center of our cultural celebrations and missing out on moments that mean the most to us, like coming together around the dinner table, is an important part of not only our lives but navigating our health and wellness goals. We teach our clients how to make the best decisions for themselves during family gatherings with their nutrition so they can remain present in time spent celebrating.

Learning portion control, hunger cues, and how to build a healthy plate are tools you can use at every gathering. Without missing out on foods you love or time spent together. To learn how to build a healthy plate, check out our article on macronutrients here, and you can join our private Facebook community where we teach you how –

3) No Need To Restrict, but it is okay to decline.

What we notice happens often with individuals in controlled diet phases or those trying to make healthy food choices when navigating family get togethers is an all or nothing mentality centered around food. By learning how to build a healthy plate we can better control our eating habits that will leave us satisfied so that we are better able to stay healthy. But this doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself of the sweet treats you enjoy while you are out celebrating with your family. We encourage our clients to have a dessert if they feel inclined but to have the confidence to say no if they do not truly want it.

Start small. If there is cake for instance, start with a small slice of cake and sit on it for a few minutes and truly see if you are craving a second. Most people find that by taking a second to simply pause they truly aren’t craving or wanting seconds but find they are satisfied with what they already have had. The more we restrict foods we like and enjoy the more likely we are to binge on them later. If you want to have a donut, have a donut but you don’t have to eat the entire dozen.

4) Bring a side dish

Brining a side dish to a family gathering is a great way to incorporate healthy food options into everyone’s plates. Most people actually appreciate when a yummy salad or healthier option is available as a choice in their eating. Feel free to be the leader in providing healthy alternatives to the normal food options at your family event. This may even earn you some brownie points with the in-laws, gentlemen I am talking to you!

Need some ideas for your next family gathering? Join our private facebook community here

5) Prioritize your movement before going to family gatherings as well as your normal meals.

When we have family gatherings it can be a normal habit to fast all day to “save room” for all of the delicious foods we know our family will be providing. Although we will admit we have been guilty of this too, it truly never leaves us feeling our best and can land us in the dreaded food coma on the couch. What we see often times is this leads individuals to food punishments like avoiding food or excessively training to try and balance out the excessive calories they believe were consumed during the family gathering. In most cases more calories more than likely weren’t consumed and the fluctuations we see on the scale are 9/10 due to water weight.

family gathering plateWe recommend trying this instead. Prioritize your normal healthy meals in a day. Have breakfast and lunch as normal and substitute your dinner for what you will be having while with your family. Building a healthy plate with protein, carbs, healthy fats, and colors. Staying the course of our portion sizing. If you are doing a family brunch, substitute appropriately. This keeps the normal eating schedule in line and will help you stay healthy and better portion at your family gathering naturally. We recommend for movement, prioritizing your training or daily walking as normal if applicable or doing it first thing in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day without guilt for skipping movement.

Just jump back into your normal healthy routine as soon as possible, be it that afternoon or the next day. Pulling our food or training in excess will not benefit your weight loss or muscle building goals. Your body is smart and resilient. Give it a few days and you’ll start to see it balance out!


Sam Wallace

I am a fitness professional Located in Los Angeles, California. Fitness for me is not only a hobby, it changed my life.