Whether you just started a get healthy, get fit journey or if you are maintaining a healthy body weight, it is always challenging to not over-indulge during the holidays. The potential weight gain is one challenge, but the anxiety rooted in the possibility of falling off track is a whole other force to face down. Here are 10 tips centered around the idea of discipline, flexibility, practicality, and forgiveness that may be an aid during the coming weeks.
Go ahead and accept that you will occasionally partake in foods and beverages that are “off” your healthy plan. It’s OK. In fact, being in an allowing, relaxed state of mind around your food is healthy and preferable. Yes, be firm and devoted to good choices, but being too rigid and stingy with yourself is not the point. In fact, accepting yourself in mind, body, and spirit is, ultimately, the profound and worthy effort.
2. Keep Your Perspective
When you really get down to it, how many dinner parties and holiday events will you actually attend during the holidays? Maybe three, maybe four? Perhaps the office party, one neighborhood party, a family holiday meal, and the second meal at the in-laws? That’s only 4 out of approximately 90 meals between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. That’s 86 opportunities to eat a healthy meal that supports a centered, healthy state of mind, body, and spirit. If you had 90 questions on a test and got 86 correct, you are still earning a 95% average!
3. Stick To Your Normal Good Habits
I know it’s easy to let go of your good habits amidst the chaos and rigmarole, but do your best to maintain your exercise rituals and healthy meal prep. Be the calm, quiet center of the storm. Use this opportunity to experience what it is like to remain calm, deliberate, and virtuous in the face of a disrupted routine. You’ll be surprised and delighted with your success.
4. Remember Your Core Commitments
Before you enter the doors to an event, think about the goals you set for yourself
way back when your health journey started. Wasn’t your goal to be your best self, find renewal and joy in getting your body and mind to a new and better place? This remembrance brings you back to your core, your center, where your best self resides. It is like looking up and seeing a trusted, loved one give you that nod of approval which helps to settle your anxious mind. That look tells you that you are OK. You may even enlist a friend who would be available on the other end of a text to help you to remember your commitments. Once armored with that reinforcement, it may help you to not over-indulge once you enter the party.
5. Be Deliberate In Your Choices
This concept is about making the conscious choice to set aside certain moments of your holiday month to let yourself enjoy yummy foods and drinks…to a degree and not to excess. Many of us know a few weeks in advance when those occasions will be. The office party lands on such and such date. Your own party is on this date and then we all know what happens on December 24th and 25th! These can be your target dates to allow sweets and other fun foods. Otherwise, you can remain devoted to a healthy lifestyle. This is also about making realistic expectations for yourself. From repeated personal experience, let me share a pitfall of not having a realistic, predetermined plan. We can get into stinkin’ thinkin’ and nasty self-judgement if we’ve impulsively broken a vow to be 100% healthy at a gathering. It is the act of letting ourselves down when we thought we were “stronger” that is toxic to a beautiful state of mind. Our soul droops from the weight of the judgement and, hence, our body will follow that downward trajectory. So, know yourself and plan accordingly.
6. Embrace The Fun
Again, don’t rule your actions like a stingy, school principal with extreme expectations. Be disciplined, but don’t punish yourself with being overly ascetic. Enjoy your neighbor’s signature lobster stew. He is proud of his dish and wants to express his love for you by sharing it. Accept that love.
7. Bring The Healthy Options
You can always add a healthy dish to the potluck table. The grab and go fruit or veggie platter. Or a platter of olives, nuts, and nice cheese. Don't forget the satiating properties of healthy fats.
8. Start With The Healthy Options
And you can start by enjoying that fruit platter you just brought or dive into other healthy platters before you move on to the other foods. Your appetite for the less healthful food may be lessened if you fill up on healthy stuff first.
9. Get Out If The Water Is Too Hot
You don’t have to stand right next to the buffet table all night long. Go elsewhere in the house and get it out of your mind. The sweets or the chips may be your junk food trigger calling your name. Get out of earshot and move to another spot. And you don’t have to stay at the party for as long as you think you do. If you’ve stayed for two hours and the food temptation is getting really uncomfortable, go ahead and graciously say your goodbyes. This is a delicate balance between engaging in lovely company and taking care of yourself especially for those who are overly attached to foods or afflicted with a food addiction. I speak from personal experience on this one!
10. Pay Attention To Something Else
And as a follow up to the previous suggestion, this is the time in our year that we reconnect with friends and family to reaffirm our love. As you drift away from the buffet table to take your mind off indulgences, reinvest that attention into connecting with a friend or your favorite cousin with joy and complete presence. Sometimes we focus too much on food to deal with social anxieties and other concerns. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed in group settings. Focusing your attention on one person at a time helps to minimize that anxiety.
In the end, remember the power of renewal. Each new moment is an opportunity to recalibrate, redirect, and refresh your course in alignment with your health goals and your higher purpose.
What strategy helps you during the holidays? Much love, Nick
I drink a fair amount of cold, tap water everyday. But the other day, I had a random, mysterious impulse to drink warm water instead. Nothing in it. No tea, no lemon. Just plain, warm water. We are deep into fall and the thought of drinking cold water just made me feel colder. I was amazed at how soothing and satisfying the warm water felt in my system. Intuitively, I knew that plain, warm water must somehow be beneficial for my body, but I wanted to understand why. So, I went on Google to do some reading. I thought that, with some handy scientific info, I’d write a blog sharing all the great benefits.
I found a plethora of claims including: aids digestion, promotes hair growth and vitality, promotes weight loss, speeds up metabolism, detoxifies the body, prevents premature aging, and eases pain (especially abdominal pain due to menstruation). All sound pretty good, eh?
I tried to decipher if the authors actually had used scientific research to support their claims. Alas, I couldn’t trace the claims back to any studies. They may be out there, I just couldn’t find them anywhere. Several of the websites had even copied and pasted the same information. I am a questioning and somewhat skeptical individual, so I didn’t know what to think. Was I to accept these claims without verifiable proof? And can I broadcast them to you as factually true in good conscience?
I am already bald so I don’t know if I grew more hair the past few days. My digestion is ok anyway so I didn’t notice any change. I don’t know if I lost any weight since I generally avoid the scale. And I really don’t know if toxins were leaving my body, if my metabolism increased, or if I slowed the aging process.
Ultimately, all I really know for sure was that drinking the warm water made me feel good. And, honestly, that is all the reason I need. The benefits remain a mystery to me. That’s OK.
I know it is risky for me - a health coach - to distance myself from “sacred” health claims professed on the internet. I choose to cuddle up to a different, more reliable well of knowledge derived from my own actual experience.
I didn't want to succumb to the insecurities of my unknowing and rely too heavily on external sources of information to tell me how to be. The best things we know in life aren’t stacks of information anyway. They are the songs of love and wisdom seeping from our hearts as informed by the depths of our actual experience. But, I'll let you know if I wake up in a few weeks with my gorgeous curly locks atop my head again.
What is a unique song your heart singing about today?
Have you used the excuse, “I just don’t have time to start a ‘diet’ right now”?
Or thought, “Diet? I just can’t think about it right now.”
Don’t feel bad. You have very good reason to feel this way. And you are in good company.
Here’s the legit problem at play. The idea of a ‘diet’ is just simply overwhelming. And think about the nasty feelings that arise when you ponder this gargantuan endeavor?
No wonder we avoid it. We don’t avoid the ‘diet’ as much as avoid the “feeling” of being on the diet. But let's be honest. Saying that we don’t have time or head space to consider a ‘diet’ is also an excuse. Let's move past excuses.
So, let’s break this down, shall we?
First of all, can we please do away with the word “diet”? That’s a stingy, useless, no good, mean-teacher word. Let’s usher in a new way of thinking about this. Something along the lines of an ‘ever improving healthy lifestyle.’
At the heart of this revised concept is the idea that we are always looking to improve from the perspective of our current starting point. And it suggests that small changes are as useful as massive overhaul.
Now that we have a better title for our actions, let’s consider this clear, clean, succinct mission: “I will make the best possible choices whenever possible to bring about a health transformation.” We can even shorten it to, “I’ll do the next right thing.”
So, what is the ‘next right thing’ in action?
You get hungry at 4 PM. You walk into a convenience store looking for a snack. You walk past the chips, energy bars, and chocolate covered pretzels and pick up unsalted cashews and water. Boom, your health revolution just got started. A twinge of pride just tickled your gut.
BUT…the story continues later that night. You get home and your husband made of lasagna and bread for dinner. Uh oh, maybe not the best choice if you are now a health revolutionary. Go ahead and enjoy that meal. Don’t worry about it. However, because you're the type to snack before bed, grab an apple and brew a cup of tea instead of that big bowl of popcorn and cookies.
Two great choices in the span of six hours. Yeah, your revolution continues. Perfection was never the intent. Improvement was the guiding principle.
The more we string together these small moments together, the results will flow.
What are some excuses you have used to put off getting healthy? Any success stories about how you moved past that stage?
Warm hugs and love, Nick
When I lose touch with my good food and fitness habits, it is always always when I have left home. Whether on vacation, visiting family, or out on a date, I will invariably neglect my healthy eating habits and take days off from exercising. I have pretty complicated feelings when I drift from my good habits. Strong pangs of worry, shame, panic and disappointment infest my mind.
Then, I arrive back home to my familiar refrigerator, the local grocery store, and the gym. I can get back to my routine. My mind settles down and the stormy clouds blow overhead, I remind myself that a sojourn from routine is actually okay and never the ruination of a healthy lifestyle. As long as it is, just that, a sojourn and not a 3 month expedition.
But what strikes me is this idea of "returning home." It can be very literal, but it is analogous to returning to a center within myself. Latching on to an internal mooring where I renew my resolve. And this home is with me all the time; a fact that I'll forget over and over again. But as long as that knowledge returns to me, my heart can remain strong and safe.
I offer this prayer...may you always be reminded as many times as needed that your home is within you and the rules of the house are there to keep you safe, resilient, forgiving, and in joy.
In what ways do you drift from your mooring? How do you come back to your home? Leave comments. Thank you.
Working towards your ideal body weight is NOT just a vain endeavor. Yes, there is an element of vanity at play and, as presented by popular culture, being "healthy" can be perceived as vapid, meaningless, and self-centered, But I maintain that it is actually at the heart of daily spiritual work. To bring goodness (real, whole food) into your body and avoid toxic inflow (sugar and processed food) is a way to deeply engage in a spiritual life. In fact, it can be one of the most tangible and tactile ways to actively engaged in a spiritual practice aside from meditation, prayer, yoga, or Tai Chi.
Why make this point?
Well, seeking the good life comes from love, doesn't it? We hope to have a job that we love. We hope to share our lives with people we love. We hope to have fun doing activities we love. And, lastly, we hope to love ourselves. And wouldn't you agree that all spiritual work is fundamentally about connection, unity and love? But alas, we abuse ourselves with food to the point where we are sick, overweight, and depressed. I know I did for nearly 40 years!
So it boils down to a simple logical equation.
Good health = good life = love = spiritual work.
So, let's join hands, get loving, and let's get healthy. xoNick
Hi everyone. Welcome to my blog. Let me ask you....is weight loss a mystery to you? Don't know where to start and are afraid that you'll fail once you do? Well, I lived in these questions for many years until I discovered the simple solution. EAT WHOLE FOODS. Just enough and not too much. Duh? Boom, That is the extent of my diet book. It is shorter than a haiku. I can make it into a haiku just to be unnecesarily wordy.
"Eat whole foods all day.
Just enough and not too much.
It is that simple."
Boring, yes, but it is the truth.
So, while it is a simple solution, it is not easy. That's where having a coach to be your companion can be a critical asset to being faithful to your weight loss journey. I am available to offer free 1-hour consultations for anyone interested in the health coaching experience. Contact me today to schedule!