Dieting at Thanksgiving? How to Mind Your MannersPosted on Nov 22nd 2010 1:00PM by Kristen Seymour
We spoke with Lizzie Post, an etiquette expert with the Emily Post Institute. She's also a calorie-conscious lady who runs a private group on Calorie King and was happy to weigh in on some of the tricky etiquette issues dieters face during the holidays.
If you have a dietary restriction, regardless of the reason, Post says it's completely OK to bring up the subject ahead of time. As she told our friends at Holidash, you can just call up the host and say, "I'm a vegetarian and would love to contribute a dish to the meal. As a vegetarian, is it okay if I bring something like a quiche?"
Not only does that let the host know what you do and don't eat while making it clear you don't expect them to change their plans to accommodate you, but it also gives her a chance to tell you if she already has plans for foods that will work for you.
Now, many of us feel like there's a big difference between a necessary dietary restriction for, say, religious or health reasons and something you're choosing to do in order to lose weight. However, according to Post, the reasoning doesn't matter, so long as you're polite about it. For example, don't refer to the host's gravy as "loaded with ridiculous amounts of fat." You get the idea.
And what's the proper way to handle the people who try to make you eat more? You know the ones -- the aunt who chides you for looking too thin or your well-meaning sister who knows how much you love sweet potato casserole and keeps scooping another helping on your plate? The people who say, "Oh, it's a holiday -- let loose for a day!"
"If it's someone like your mom, you can just take her aside and say, 'You know, Mom, I've noticed that you're really encouraging me to eat, and I really appreciate it because I know you want to see me totally enjoy the day, but I want to let you know I'm really enjoying it with the portions I'm selecting,'" said Post. "I think it's important to let that someone know that you are getting enjoyment out of getting to participate in this holiday, but doing it on a level that's not going to make you cringe the next day or set you on an eating bender for two days straight.
"I think it's a different story if you're sitting there moping and grumbling about it. Then you just need to shift your own attitude," Post added.
She and her well-mannered relatives are following this etiquette advice, too. "This is my favorite holiday, and I'm working with my mom and sister to decide what dishes we can make that are really going to be good for everybody," she said. "It's awesome because this year, nobody really wants the potatoes. So, great! That's one thing we can take off the list, and nobody will miss them."
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