The days are feeling shorter. The nights longer. The leaves are putting on their most colorful finale. It's the season in which we celebrate the fruits of the field and our labor. It's the season in which we prepare to turn inward. A season for all things soft, warm, glowing. A season of giving and receiving. The Holidays.
In the month ahead we will be inundated with a flurry of activity and indulgence. Which is neither all bad or all good. Surrounded by (God willing) friends, family, strangers. Loved ones. This makes me excited and uncomfortable all at once. There are a lot of charged emotions and feelings in the space between Thanksgiving and New Years. And, you want to know a secret? It's okay to be uncomfortable. It's a call to stillness. A call to really tap in.
It's a time of great joy, enthusiasm, and togetherness. For some a time of sorrow, difficult circumstances, and loneliness. Wherever you are and in whatever way, you feel lead to celebrate this season I urge you to not get swept away in the bustle. You have enough. You do enough. You are enough.
You are in control of your body, your time, and your energy.
I want to look at a topic that we all struggle with in some shape or form during the Holidays.
FOOD...and how the hell do we balance our relationship with especially during the Holidays. How do we stay mindful? How can we best support ourselves? How can we honor our bodies?
Sugar. Gluten. Meat. Dairy. Alcohol. The "yes" foods. The "no" foods. Mom's cakes, pies, and cookies. The special "once-a-year" foods that carry special meaning. The should foods. The shouldn't foods. Yep, you know that ones I'm talking about.
It can all feel a little cray and inevitably we head into Monday or the New Year determined to "clean-up" our act. Emotional (yea) and disruptive (yea)...well, if we let it.
Instead of promising ourselves we'll clean-up your act come Monday or 2019 let's instead promise ourselves that we will enjoy the holidays (food included) and keep our wits about us when it comes to food.
Can I get an Amen?
Here are some tips on how you can keep a quiet centered food voice for the Holidays.
1. Ask Yourself: "If I eat ______ can I do so without being emotional about my decision?" In other words, if you choose to eat that slice of Double Chocolate Cake can you do so without beating yourself up later with negative self-talk, guilt, an extra workout, and/or feeling bummed about how you feel physically. If the answer is "Yes": Give yourself permission to eat it, enjoy every single bite and move the F on. If the answer is "No": Put on the brakes. Don't eat it and circle back if it feels important to you, but asking the same question when and if you do.
2. Handle Food Criticism We've all been there...the meal that turned into the Spanish Inquisition around food. Ugh! Yep, I too have had to defend my food choices as though I were on trial. It's exhausting! (#energysuck ) So, I quit! You should too! REALLY! Stop! So how do I deal now? When folks ask or comment I let folks know that I'm choosing the foods that make me feel my best and when I feel my best I can better enjoy the time I spend with them. (This trick works too for my non-drinking friends out there...just saying) Remember, when people come at you about your food choices, it's more about them than you. They are armored...they're feeling insecure about their food choices and their relationship to food. Invite them to talk later if they would like. Just be kind...mealtime isn't debate club.
3. Try Crowding Out It works like freaking MAGIC! The idea is the more "good" stuff (read: leafy greens, complex carbs, healthy fats, clean protein, water, sleep, movement, and meditation) we add into our day the less room there is for the "bad" stuff (read: processed foods, sugary sweets, fast foods, sodas, toxic relationships, late nights). Seriously. It's true! When I first started playing around with this idea I was just trying it to see what would happen only half way believing in its power. Call me a believer! I lost a few dress sizes, started sleeping better, and forgot all about snacky foods. So...focus on ADDING healthful things into your day instead of SUBTRACTING (the place most of us get stuck). Get going with more water, more meditation, more more and more greens, more movement, more play. Prepare to be surprised by the positive shifts that give way.
4. Pick Your Spots I can't think of any time of year where we are given more opportunities to partake in sweet treats, other than the Holidays. The truth is that if we eat every indulge-y food that comes our way we're going to feel physically sick. S-I-C-K. My advice is to pick your spots. Pick the foods that hold the most meaning to you or the foods that are of the highest quality. This might mean skipping the processed canister cookies your co-worker brought in because let's face it she's not a pastry chef and opting for your grandmother's homemade sugar cookies iced to sweet perfection. Aren't they both sweets? Aren't they both junk-y foods? Yes, but your grandmother's cookies nourish you in a way canister cookies can't. They speak to your soul and are made from better ingredients. Opt for quality over quantity here.