Social media is ablaze with things like:
“How to avoid the holiday weight gain.”
“Eat THIS to avoid gaining an ounce this holiday season.”
“Do these seven workouts to get your metabolism revving to help blast through those Christmas cookies.”
Phrases like that only promote an unhealthy relationship to food and fitness. Why do we need to take space in our brain during this joyous season to worry about a couple Christmas cookies? Or the evil Thanksgiving dinner that is going to pack on the pounds? I mean…..how in the HECK is a big old slab of Grandma’s turkey really the bad guy? I am literally drooling thinking about eating turkey, mashed potatoes, possibly some green bean casserole, and CORN BREAD STUFFING this year! And probably drinking wine. And eating a piece of my mom’s butterscotch dessert (*hint hint*) and possibly a slice of my aunt’s cranberry cake (*double hint*).
If you jumped into reading this post frantically looking for help on how to avoid holiday weight gain, you will not find it here.
Instead, I’m sharing this message as a public service announcement:
Please enjoy this season. It is a wonderful few weeks of family and friends. We don’t get these weeks back.
Yes, there might be a little stress with extra parties and some presents to buy. Ok, life is stressful sometimes. Big whoop. Thinking of how stressful it is going to be, stressing on how stressful it is going to be, and the age-old concept of worrying about which foods you can and cannot eat…..well, that is only adding fuel to the fire.
Quite often, these are the weeks that are easy to just “give up.” You know, check out, indulge in all the things, because January 1st is a chance to start fresh.
Well, January 1st IS a chance to start fresh in a brand new year. But…..does “giving up” sound like good advice at ANY time? I mean, why can’t we just go on through these next few weeks as we always do with eating and working out, and then squeezing in an extra trip or two to the mall, attend an extra party or two, and eat a few amazing meals with family on the big days? Isn’t “giving up” just a form of not thinking you are worth taking care of?
So, I actually AM going to give you some advice of things that work for me (and some things that might be stolen from a friend). Here they are:
- Be MINDFUL these next few weeks. Want to eat something? Eat it! But do it because you enjoy it. Then enjoy it while it tastes good – that might be just a few bites of it, or an extra few bites of it. Then move on. It is really that simple. Don’t NOT eat that something, then crave it, then binge on it times a 1000, then feel guilty or shameful. That guilt and shame bit….well, that will keep you in an ugly cycle. Choose NOT to buy into them. But remember, this is a practice. And if you don’t get it perfectly this year, that is fine. Which leads me to my next point…….
- Have COMPASSION. For yourself AND others. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You aren’t an idiot. If you feel like you screwed up, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t dwell. I guess that is good advice for how we deal with the rest of the world as well
- Practice SELF TRUST. Try allowing yourself to navigate each situation without judgement. Trust yourself to make the best decision for you in each moment. Again, easier said than done. But….if you find yourself standing next to a buffet line of awesome desserts, refer back to the Mindful tip from above, and choose the one you want. And TRUST your decision. And also TRUST your response. Enjoying it? Keep eating it! Had enough but the dessert is not gone? It’s ok to NOT be a member of the clean plate club.
- Start JOURNALING (stolen from a friend). You know what? If you find yourself wigging out about a bunch of feelings or food issues this year, take it out on a piece of paper. Write your thoughts. Write your feelings. Write your worries and stresses. AND WRITE YOUR BLESSINGS. My guess is that you might learn a few things about yourself during this very important practice. Try it!
- Prioritize SLEEP. Get your sleep in, yo! Take your sleep SERIOUSLY. If you are particularly wound up….try a bath before bed to help you wind down. But please, please, PUH-LEEZE prioritize your rest. A well rested you is ready to face challenges. A well rested you is fully present and MINDFUL. A well rested you knows when you are heading into MINDLESS choices versus MINDFUL choices. A well rested you allows you to say “Merry Christmas” to someone in passing versus ramming into them repeatedly with your cart while making your way down the aisles at Target.
- Keep TRAINING. Don’t NOT train just because we are in the holiday season! Keep your workouts! Use them to help you FEEL GOOD, and to BOOST YOUR MOOD, and to GIVE YOU ENERGY. Don’t use them to burn off the Christmas cookies! One rule though, at least in my opinion….if you are seriously feeling frazzled, I would opt for a nap or going to bed early in place of a training session. Seriously. But don’t read that statement and think all workouts should now be nap sessions. Manage this one accordingly. With SELF TRUST.
Alright, there you go. My unsexy ways to help you through the next few weeks.
Gonna try any?