With the holiday season in full swing, there’s a swarm of internet posts and magazine articles arming readers with an array of tips to “beat the bulge” and “calm the cravings”. For past month I’ve been hearing endless commentary about the impending holiday weight gain; heck, I’ve already seen friends anxiously and determinedly avoid the dessert table. You know what doesn’t work for me, and even breaks my heart a little? This body shaming, self deprivation “diet” that so many of my clients and peers go on during this season. You don’t have to go on a liquid cleanse or avoid carbs all together to make it through the season and I highly recommend you don’t. Here’s three simple tips for you to embrace the holiday season as a happier, healthier you! Note: None of my tips involve deprivation, “earning” your food, or hours in the gym. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll have to go someplace else…
1. Indulge, intuitively.
That’s right! I’m totally empowering you to eat that slice of Grandma’s famous pecan pie or whatever it is that you love! The catch here is to eat it, only if you want to. Don’t let anyone, and sometimes this means ourselves here, make you feel bad about your food decisions or as if you have to eat something. Only you have the innate ability to know what your body needs. Let go of counting calories and accept that you have the ability to accept food, without guilt, in whatever form or quantity nourishes your body and spirit in that moment. I wholeheartedly support Evelyn Tribole, fellow dietitian and “grandmother” of the Intuitive Eating approach, in her Holiday Eating Bill of Rights which is absolutely worth the quick read. Remember, you can’t ignore your physical hunger for emotional desires solely, you’ll only continue to feel unsatisfied and unhappy by not addressing both. This holiday, listen to your body’s physical needs, understand what it’s telling you (ie. am I really hungry right now? What would best nourish that physical need?) and take into account your emotional desires as well. Strive for balance of both mind and body.
2. Move more.
I’m not talking running a 5k or even hitting up the gym, instead simply remove your tush from the couch or table for a quick walk. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity (above and beyond your daily routine), which can absolutely be broken up into three sessions of 10 minutes. Maybe that means taking the dog for an AM walk first thing, walking up and down the stairs ten times before heading out to the party, or something more structured like a yoga class. However movement fits into your life and feels good for you, do it.
3. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude is often the center of our holidays, but often easily overlooked for it’s simplicity.Be thankful for spending time with loved ones and strengthen your relationships by time well-spent together…not fussing over food or judging each other’s plate. Embrace your ability to choose what you want to eat and how much, a right that is completely yours. Honor your body through movement and nourish yourself with each delicious bite. Instead of focusing on the negative nutrition of your meal (ie. don’t eat this, I have to avoid that), think about the food before you with “an attitude of gratitude” (cute pun I heard from my colleague, Leigh, in her Holiday Pre-Boot). To me, gratitude is about reinforcing my own values and appreciating what every day brings. How will you practice gratitude this holiday season?
There you have it, my top three tips for having a happy and healthy holiday! I think this entire post can be wrapped up into one short takeaway:
Be Good To You.
only you know how.
Sending YOU lots of love, laughter, good food and positivity this holiday season! I am so grateful for your readership and support of Chard in Charge.