It’s a challenge, staying on track with wellness during these holidays! Today I’ll share 5 tips for how to stay mindful about your wellness as we navigate this season!
This is totally one of my favorite times of the year. I’m a lover of all things Christmas! If this isn’t you, I get that also- holidays are a TOUGH time of year for various reasons, and I’ve had my bouts with anxiety and grief-ridden holidays, too. Even if you’re not excited about this season, I think these tips will serve you anyways! I’m a firm believer that what we put IN our bodies will impact our mental, emotional AND physical wellness. So, to help us ALL come out victorious on the other side of whatever your life looks like, I’m sharing some tips for keeping physical health, mental peace, and emotional stability on track!
When we stop to look around, we see that our external food influences are laden with excess sugar, gooey starches, and added who-knows-what “ingredients.”
A little-discussed secret is that holiday food actually wrecks our blood sugar
and that is DIRECTLY linked to our cravings, our gut health, our mood!
So, it’s easy to understand why overeating on this national feast day is a pretty common occurrence.
I am ALL about abundance, but eating “too much” of something is NOT the same thing. All things in excess can be toxic and pathological. My go-to example of this is raw honey from Trader Joe’s… several spoons of that natural healthy goodness is NOT good for me, as I’ve found out in the past. 😉
Let’s give thanks for the blessings we have, the amazing talents and skills of those who cook for us, and recognize the potential in our lives with some truly MINDFUL approaches to food this year! Even if you don’t wanna hang with my whole-person, intentional, Awarding Life-living psycho-babble, I think following these tips will leave you feeling clear-headed, less bloated, and NOT miserable at the end of your holiday fare partaking!
How you start your day determines how your day will go
A couple of key additions and consistencies in your morning will have your day headed in a different direction quickly. I recommend deliberate gratitude– even listing just ONE thing you’re grateful for before you do anything else in the morning has been proven to benefit physical and mental health! Movement is also key! In a physical way, it does help “get things moving,” and we have to recognize that this puts our hormones into a balanced state, as well as triggers the momentum that is required for motivation! Even just 4 minutes of yoga stretching (which is what I do while waiting for the french press!) can be helpful! Can you add these two things to your morning tomorrow?
Practice the hunger games
This is a fun exercise in self-awareness and learning how to meet the body’s needs. It will also help us avoid binging AND the food coma. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being “I will literally die if you don’t feed me through a tube right now,” and 10- being “please roll me out the door, I cannot stand or walk I am so full,” we need to check in to our physical hunger!! Before we eat, we really need to be somewhere around a 3-4 depending on individual circumstances… not starving, but definitely hungry! When we’re eating, stay tuned in to how you feel and stop eating around a 7-8. Our hypothalamus, a part of our brain, tells us when we’re hungry and full, but it runs about 20 minutes late! So when we start to feel full, we need to just sit back and take in the conversation, check into our thoughts and decide if we’re still hungry about 20 minutes later.
Water, Water, Water
This one is easy. Water is life. Drink water when you wake up (before the coffee!). Drink water before you eat (before the turkey!). Drink water after you eat. Drink water before bed. Being hydrated is a proactive concept so we cannot live an optimal life if we’re only drinking when thirsty. Water is a requirement and a benefit for hormone balance, weight management, physical fitness, mental clarity, and emotional stability. Yes, it touches all of those parts of our lives! Water can also regulate appetite! Quick tip: don’t drink DURING your meal… this can actually disrupt our gut balance and make digestion of food more difficult. Who knew!? So, drink a lovely glass of water before your meal, and then again afterward.
Know what your body needs
Food is fun, it’s tasty, it’s nourishing, and it’s necessary. How cool that we get to PLAY with something that is also essential for life. Let’s not abuse that blessing! Instead of taking in ALL THE THINGS, know what your body needs and go there first. If you’re still hungry after that, a special day like Thanksgiving is the perfect time to have a few extra things. What are the key things our bodies need at each meal that also help us balance blood sugar? Healthy Fats, Proteins, Veggies, and Fiber!! That’s going to give you each “food group” you truly need and anything else is an add-on for afterward! When we meet our basic needs first, it sets us up to truly enjoy things and feel satisfied, NOT miserable.
One of the things that perpetuates the infamous holiday weight gain for so many of us is our mindset. That’s right, not necessarily just the foods, and excess, that we consume. A scarcity mindset tells us that we MUST eat that donut, cookie, casserole, eggnog, warm roll, etc, RIGHT NOW because this is the only time we’ll get it. There is a sense of urgency to our eating. We cannot wait for the meal to be ready and when it is we all dive in. Ok…hold up, NEWS FLASH… all of the things on every Thanksgiving table I’ve ever seen will still be there on Black Friday, on Christmas, on Valentines, on March 3, and even on July 22. Meaning: we’re not in a shortage of food, we’re not going extinct, and we don’t need to get it all now for the going-out-of-business sale. Let’s make a serious switch to that abundance mindset. This approach to thinking, eating, living says, “wow, look at all of these amazing options that I get to choose from!” The abundance mindset relaxes and takes everything in before choosing what to consume. The abundance mindset helps us appreciate the love and time that went into the growth, harvest, transportation, and talent that went into what we have in front of us. Slowing down allows us to enjoy the food we eat, stay in touch with our hunger, identify needs first and wants second, and it also allows the meal time to be the true time of connection with our loved ones… instead of passing out on the couch afterward in front of “the game” with a food baby.
It’s not all about the food, is it?
I hope these tips help you navigate your holiday season with higher self-awareness, more joy and true gratitude for the amazing blessings in our lives! If you’re digging this mind-body-spirit approach to wellness, and also believe that there’s more to life than what and how much we eat, I want to invite you to consider joining me for the Foundations journey. This 6-week course will help you redefine wellness and create lasting change by addressing YOU, your mind, your priorities and learning how to love your body in a way that sets you up for your BEST wellness. The waitlist for our January 2019 journey is open, click here to save your spot!