Create more health, happiness and satisfaction this holiday season.
I can feel it now, all the parties, all the baking, all the drinking and unconscious eating, why do we do it??? “Oh, it’s the holidays,” we tell ourselves. It’s okay to have a few extra deserts, that extra glass of wine, and just one more serving of turkey. The truth is, I agree. It is the holidays and I, for one, do enjoy a little extra this time of year. Heck, I’ve had more sugar in the last couple of weeks than I’ve had in the previous 3 months! But it doesn’t give me a reason to completely let go of my fitness routine and it for sure doesn’t give me a reason to binge.
I’m on your side, I want to stay healthy and strong through this and every holiday season, but it can be so tough. Not only do we have party after party, but the massive institution of capitalism could care less about our health. Practically every store you walk into has truckloads of chocolates and deserts perfectly on display, just waiting for you to grab some crap and buy it. It’s a vicious cycle of buy, eat, repent and hope for the best. Even Whole Foods, a supposed “health food” grocery store strategically places those chocolate bars right at your finger tips for the oh so easy impulse buy. As one of my teachers once said, “if you want to stay healthy in this society, you’re going to have to swim upstream.” He couldn’t be more right. So this year, let’s start swimming!
The following 6 steps will help keep you healthy, happy and satisfied this holiday season! And if you fall off your plan a bit, just get right back in the water and keep on swimming.
- Create a plan. Make sure you go into all your parties and your vacation time with a plan of eating healthy, exercising and being conscious. If you’re not sure of the menu, feel free to have a little something healthy before you go to the party. You’ll already be satiated and less hungry at your event.
- Moderation. We’ve heard it from our grandparents, and it’s still true today. Moderation is the key. I don’t like to deprive myself of all the incredible tastes of the holidays, but instead of having 4 pieces of cake and 2 glasses of egg nog, I’ll cut that by 75%. It gives me the opportunity to appreciate the decadence of the seaons, but since that’s still more than I would eat in a normal sitting, I have just a taste. As for the meal itself, stay friendly with your veggies. If you’re going to fill up on something, it may as well be good for you.
- Practice mindful eating. I know, we’re not in a monastery, so don’t feel the need to take 3 minutes to eat every raisin. But chewing your food more will help you eat less and more importantly enjoy the food more. In certain monasteries, monks will chew their food 50-100 times before swallowing and then they won’t take another bite until they feel the food has passed their esophagus and gone into the stomach. That may seem extreme, but I bet if you chew 10-30 times more for each mouthful you’ll find you’ve made a big difference, you’re eating less and enjoying more.
- Schedule your workouts. Make sure you continue your workouts during your time off. I know we’re all busy shopping and attending events and that means we have to work harder, thus we have less time to exercise. I’ve created the habit of scheduling my workouts. It’s in my calendar just like any other appointment. When I look at my daily calendar the night before to prepare for the next day, it’s already set. I know what I’m going to do, where I’m going to do it and with whom. It’s always a good idea to exercise with friends who will hold you accountable. I promise, if you do this, you will feel happier and less guilty for having that extra desert.
- Sign up for a Christmas or New Year’s Run. I bet your town has a Christmas Fun Run or your gym is going be open New Year’s Day to help everyone kick off the new year. Sign up, put it in your calendar and make it happen! I love races because I enjoy pushing myself to do the best I can and this forces me to train for the race which means I have to schedule a few more workouts. Now you’ll have something to look forward to that will be fun and burn off some of those Gingerbread cookies!
- Stay conscious. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything from Black Friday to Holiday malls to cookie exchanges. The challenge is staying conscious during these events. Most health and fitness issues come from lack of commitment or lack of desire. If we were more present and took keen awareness of our choices, I bet they would be more productive and beneficial for our lives and the lives of those around us. A great way to stay conscious of our actions is to meditate daily. There is nothing like stopping and chilling out for 10-30 minutes in the morning to let your mind process all the junk, all the to-do’s, and all the other mind chatter. You’ll be happier and more content if you take moments to chill.
- Believe in yourself. Sometimes we get caught up in the hoopla or swept up in the chaos of the holidays and we begin to make excuses or settle for less when it comes to our well-being. You know you have the discipline to stay healthy, happy and fit this year. It’s a matter of choice. When you believe in yourself, you’ll make the right decisions and the holiday season will come with joy, love and laughter. Start your new life now, don’t wait for New Year’s. Make it happen today!
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