Holidays are approaching, and that means fun parties and tantalizing meals full of things you may or may not be eating right now. I want to share with you some tips on how to survive the holidays.
Unlike many articles on this subject, this article is not about alternative recipes, or strongly worded sentences designed to get people off your back. Today we’re going to look at the one and only thing you can control, yourself.
We're going to talk mindsets. Mindsets have incredible power, and not only over our emotional experiences; they can also affect how our bodies physically respond. Today we are going to look at four mindset areas that can help you have a better experience this holiday season, if you apply them!
#1 Get off the bandwagon bandwagon!
This is not a typo! The falling off the bandwagon idea is based on the supposition that healthy habits are all-or-nothing. If you make one bad choice, the rest of the day, month (or year) goes down the drain. This doesn’t have to be. Our bodies were designed to sort out the good (nourishing) from the unhelpful (toxic) substances. Each individual person will have a different amount of energy to put towards this sorting, but the key thing to focus on is not “bad” or “good,” but if what you are doing is overwhelming your body in terms of overall workload. Every choice makes a difference. Every time you eat something, drink something, or put something on your skin or in your lungs, you are increasing and decreasing the anabolic (building up) and catabolic (tearing down) activity in the body. Depending on their state of health, certain foods or substances may have more of a catabolic effect on one person than on another. In the end, each of us needs a net positive (anabolic) effect to occur in our bodies to be healthy. So each choice is not all-or-nothing, it is simply added to the scale. If you think “I will be eating cookies at the party tomorrow, so I might as well eat them today,” you are not taking into account that scale. Instead, consider how much energy your body has to deal with foods and other substances that are less than helpful, and strive for a net positive effect.
#2 Don’t party while hungry!
This is just like the don’t-swim-for-30-minutes-after-eating rule, except the exact opposite! If you go to a party expecting to be filled up, you are more likely to choose foods you wouldn’t normally eat. If you eat before you go to a party, you can still enjoy small amounts of what you would really like to eat, but you aren’t dependent on the foods offered to get your sustenance. And some of you may need to extend this to all meals eaten elsewhere, not just parties with treats. Listen to your body on how much and what you should eat (see tip #1). And what you eat, you should enjoy! This brings us to the next tip:
#3 Enjoy what you eat!
Studies show that if you enjoy your food (no matter what you eat) it will get stored differently than if you feel guilty about it. If you feel guilt and stress while eating, your body will release cortisol, which causes inflammatory damage and directs your body to store that food as fat. And ain’t nobody got time for that! So whatever you choose to eat, enjoy it!
#4 Watch your words
One of the biggest challenges about eating different from people around you is avoiding the deprivation mindset. This often begins the very innocently, and can be observed in the phrase “I can’t”. Describing your choices as what you can and cannot do reveals a root belief that you are being deprived. Before I go on I want to say that I understand. I have been “forced” to avoid certain foods for many years and certain seasons of my life. And besides missing out on the food, it's hard to explain again why you don't eat that, or feel left out at a restaurant, or get left out from an invitation. It is hard. And you are building an amazing achievement as you walk this health journey. And you have chosen to be on this journey. No matter what has brought you to where you are, what you eat (or don't) and do (or don't) is your choice. But when we say “I can’t”, we give up control. It makes us passive, a victim, instead of taking control of our health and our lives. It's better to use the phrase “I don’t”. This is a powerful phrase that keeps you in control and will create a more positive healing journey experience.
When you can, continue from the “I don’t” phrase all the way to gratitude. Be thankful that you have the opportunity to choose foods that don’t make you sick. Be grateful that you have the knowledge to be on a healing journey. Be amazed at the complex design of your body and it’s potential to heal. Gratitude is like a Power Up from Mario Kart. It’s a boost that helps you win! Are these helpful? Do you have other helpful tips? Please share them with the community in the comments below. And I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season—however and whatever you celebrate!