The holiday season is a time of sharing, giving and endless occasions to overindulge! Sweet and savory snacks are ubiquitous and unless you have a plan beforehand you will be among the majority of people that will gain an average of 5 pounds during the period from Thanksgiving to the New year. Before you head out the door to your next party, Read this! This hectic time of the year tends to bring about a cycle of less sleep, fatigue, and stress which in turn promotes cravings, all while we are surrounded by unlimited opportunities to indulge in foods which give us comfort and quick bouts of energy. Recognize this as the perfect storm for weight gain! There is a way to navigate this season and arrive in January with positive energy, little to no additional pounds on the scale, and a sense of peaceful satisfaction. I have outlined 8 simple ways for you to enjoy the beauty of the season without the negative health effects. I find acronyms useful to help my brain remember things, so here it is: P.E.A.C.E F.U.L
P: Pay attention:
Being attentive to the signals our bodies are giving us is the first step.Being mindful of hunger signals, thoughts and feelings are a prerequisite to healthy patterns of eating. Many people will seek food to quell what is really thirst. Feelings of emotional stress in the body, will often times be the catalyst for overeating of sweet ad savory foods, when actually more food is not what is really needed. Just be aware.
E: Enjoy the Experience: When you make a conscious decision to eat a desired food,appreciate and savor the taste, aroma or texture of the food, fully engaging your senses. When you enjoy your food, you are less likely to over indulge or continue to seek satisfaction or pleasure from other foods. Create an environment that is peaceful, free of stress as much as possible, and this will contribute to the total experience of enjoyment!
A: Align with Spirit: This is really about knowing and being compassionate with yourself, your true nature, and your needs. Cultivate self-love and self-respect, for there is no true and lasting change that can occur without self acceptance. It has to start, right here and right now.
C: Create an intention: What is it that you really want to achieve? Maybe its as simple as maintain your weight through the holidays and continue to feel healthy throughout the season. Verbalize this as a goal and set this as your intention before you start the day. Visualize your ideal outcome, and you will be more likely to succeed.
E: Exercise: It is not really necessary to push yourself through 2 hours of a punishing workout before, or after your holiday meal. Simply walking, stretching or performing yoga can increase your energy, improve your self-awareness and motivating you to eat healthy and nurture your body during the holidays and beyond.
F: Feel your feelings: Before you dive into 2 pieces of pie, first ask yourself , “what will satisfy your cravings?. Attempt to figure out what is at the root of your cravings? Consider such things as what is your current emotional state?. Try to understand your feelings. Choices made from a state of mind that is content and peaceful are more apt to be healthy in nature. A majority of emotions , such as anger, sadness or anxiety will more than likely lead to the wrong choices.
U: Undistracted: How many times have you finished a bag of chips or eaten an entire meal all while on the computer, driving in your car or watching TV? Begin to recognize your triggers, distractions, habits that are contributing to mindless or excessive eating. These habits or triggers will sabotage your best intentions every time!
L; Love yourself: This last principle, is by far, the most powerful. The greatest gift you can give yourself on your journey of healthy change is self acceptance. You will never be motivated to lasting change with self-defeating or self recriminating thoughts. You will always move in the direction of your thoughts and beliefs. Start today to raise the bar. No one can do it for you.
Wishing you a Healthy, Happy New Year!
“ The Doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the causes and prevention of disease.”