First of all…Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! Whatever you get up to this week I hope you enjoy some rest, some laughs, some connected moments with friends and family, and some good food!
Rather than bringing you some standard blog about how to keep the pounds off over the holidays (do you actually listen to those anyways?), I wanted to write today about 5 simple things to keep in mind about your health this week.
#1: There are no evil foods. Having cake, or a brownie, or a glass of wine is not going to kill you, cause you to gain 10 pounds, or undo everything you have done in the past year. What will cause you to gain a ton of weight and feel crappy is if you set yourself up to “resist all urges to have that delicious pie/brownie/cookie etc.”. You know what always happens? We end up with not just one treat in our mouth, but a whole pile of treats at once. This type of restrictive behaviour always leads to overindulgence, whether it happens during the holidays or after. So instead, I urge you to look at balance and moderation. Enjoy sweet foods in moderation, in a way that supports both your physical and mental health! Ps- If you literally can’t get through the holiday season without wanting to devour absolutely every treat you come in contact with, I am going to suggest something is off internal. Those types of craving behaviours are often a sign that something is out of whack- hormones? stress? not enough healthy plant foods? Unacknowledged feelings? Fix those problems first to make things easy for yourself…
#2: Being active and exercising is a way of life, and is done for health. When we only go to the gym to lose weight, or drop a few pounds, we tend to break our commitment to the gym over the holidays when losing weight becomes less important and less of a priority. If the understanding is that activity is one of the best things you can do for your health then it stays as a high priority, even during the holidays. Over the holidays notice how much you are sitting. Sitting when visiting with friends and family, sitting in a car to travel, sitting while you unwrap presents! How could you add more movement to your life? Taking a walk with friends rather than sitting for a drink, finding ways to dance and play, catching a yoga class with family members? Helping to clean up and do dishes? Playing with the kids? Organizing a family game of soccer/football? How else can you be active for health over the holidays?
#3: Please don’t give in to the mentality that “I will indulge over the holidays and get re started in January”. You won’t. Believe me. If you even have that mentality in the first place this is telling me that there is a need to build more life long sustainable habits for yourself. If you are even contemplating a New Years resolution around weight loss, I would urge you to rethink it. If you can’t start today, in this moment, in the next meal to eat healthy, then don’t bother setting a resolution. Why do I say this? Health is not something you gear up for. Health is built into every moment, every decision throughout the day. Health means developing new thought processes, new habits, and new ways of thinking around time, energy, and priorities. If Christmas time is too busy for you to make it to the gym/be active then it will never be a sustainable habit in your life. If you can’t manage to still eat plenty of vegetables and take care of your nutrition with the stress of Christmas, it won’t be part of a sustainable practice in your life. Health (nutrition, fitness, mental health) comes first priority before anything else. Those who make resolutions are temporarily making it first priority, but soon another priority will pop up, and there goes health onto the back burner. Try this instead this holiday: commit to learning about your behaviour and your habits. Why aren’t you able to stay committed to fitness or nutrition? Start to build habits, accountability, and new processes into your life so that health will always be your # 1 priority. No more jumping on the wagon and jumping off. No more being bad then being good. Sustainable, life long, balanced, enjoyable, health 🙂
#4: Think about your mood! I don’t know about you, but when I eat a bunch of junk and processed foods and don’t take care of myself I have ZERO energy or desire to really engage with my friends and family. I am irritable, anxious, and not the fun loving person I truly am. I NEED to move my body, stretch, get a sweat on, fill up with vegetables, breathe, and listen to something educational DAILY or else I don’t feel like myself. Christmas is a time to share stories, memories, catch up with relatives, and have fun. Are you going to sit around like a grinch because your in a shitty mood? In pain? Feeling self conscious? Nope! Put your lifestyle practices into place even on Christmas so you can show up as your best self for your family 🙂 As Danielle Laporte quotes in her Desire Map Book “How do you want to feel?”.
#5: Set up some minimums and maximums. I’ve given this advice before, because I realized that I subtly follow it myself. Whatever habit I have developed in my life I have minimum and maximums for it. For example, if I have a habit of eating plenty of vegetables in my days, I have a minimum habit of eating no less than 3 types each day, and a maximum of eating as much as I want! For exercise I have a minimum of getting 3 solid sweaty sessions a week, and I have a maximum of exercising as much as I want (as long as it doesn’t distract from my mood and energy for other things). What other habits could you set minimum and maximums for? Indulging in baked goods? Hours spent socializing? Alcoholic drinks? Christmas presents given? Give it a try. I know for me it works tremendously because the second I notice I am slipping below my minimums or above my maximums I readjust and get myself right back on track, THAT DAY! This way habits don’t slip out of hand and get too far behind us.
Well I hope these tips gave you some food for thought. As always, they aren’t just simple tips like “Swap the flour in your baking for almond flour” or “Make this low calorie dessert instead of pie”. Those tips only get you so far. If your struggling with overall health and fitness it’s time to think big picture! Big transformation! Big shift in habits and priorities and thought processes. The little things help, but it’s the big things that will help you life long.
So with that,
Don’t over analyze too much (like I do!!) enjoy the holidays, and I will touch base with you after New Years (or maybe before then if something inspires me to write).
PS- This photo was taken in 2013 in Seattle on our way to the airport before flying to Costa Rica for a few weeks!