The holidays are here! You know I do love this time of year. Everyone seems a little less cranky and more tolerant of my shenanigans. I am of course nowhere near ready for the 1-2 weeks where the world shuts down. Even writing this blog post. It has been on my to-do list for weeks now and I am of course putting it together the week before it is to be launched. That is why I am forever grateful for the individuals behind the scene that help me put all this content together.
I will say I have been procrastinating on this blog post as I was not entirely sure what I wanted to talk about. However, after speaking with a number of clients and patients it is quite apparent that many people are worried about the extra food, the potential weight gain, losing their progress then fighting to get their weight back down again in the New Year. I get it. This has likely been the vicious cycle you have experienced year after year and f*ck wouldn’t it be amazing if this year could be different?
Good news! This year will be different.
Especially if you just started reading my blogs this past year. Which by the way I have gained a ton of new subscribers over the past 12 months and I am forever grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for the ongoing support and for allowing me to be a part of your journey! It is pretty surreal how many people enjoy my writing and content. My English teachers would be blown away!
So let’s review how to manage some of your anxiety and stress through the holiday season.
- Protein – Are you surprised? Protein, protein, protein. Start your days off with a good source of protein and make protein the focus of your meals!
- Veggies – Pair your meals with plenty of veggies and get creative. Cheese broccoli? Bacon-wrapped asparagus? Go for it. Sure it ain’t as nutritious as just steamed broccoli but f*ck it, it’s the holidays! This might be time to find some new veggies or recipes you enjoy. Plus or minus the smelly pee.
- Eat before you drink – Trust me I know we all have family members where alcohol is a necessity to tolerate them, but if you can hold off on starting drinking after or at least while you are eating you likely won’t eat as much. Alcohol is an appetite stimulant, and it also shuts off the whole logical, decision-making part of our brain. Why do you think at the end of the night you crave the leftover stuffing and mashed taters, not the peas and carrots?
- NO PRE-DINNER STARVATION – For the love of all that is holy. Do not save your calories by eating nothing throughout the day. The only thing this is going to do is lead to you consuming even more calories at dinner. Remember when I talked about the old man primal brain here, here, and here? If you don’t feed that old man he is going to be a crotchety bastard come dinner then add a bit of alcohol and boom next thing you know you are drowning yourself in gravy. Follow your regular routine – get up, have a good protein breakfast, a good lunch, all your usual snacks and bring a pleasant subdued old man primal brain to dinner. Your annoying Aunt Karen will also be much more tolerable.
- What is your favourite treat or dessert? Find it and eat it! Don’t waste your time with burnt sugar cookies or almond roca if you don’t even enjoy them. Find your favourite cookies, or baked goods and eat the sh*t out of those. Life is too short to eat nothing but what we love most!
- Continue to be active – You don’t have to go to the gym or follow your regular workout routine but definitely get some activity. Play in the snow, or the pool if you happen to be one of those brilliant people living somewhere with reasonable weather. Try a new sport or activity. Go sledding with the kids and family. Spend time with the people you love and who knows you might find something to add to your workout routine.
- Do not weigh yourself – F*ck the scale. Especially the day after a big dinner. I would put my life savings down as a bet that the scale will be up! WHY?! Because you just had a big ass meal with extra salt, carbs, and alcohol. Your body is going to be holding water like a camel and you will likely have a poop baby waiting to breach. Your weight is going to fluctuate over the holiday season and I can guarantee it is going to be wonky for the first 1-2 weeks after the holidays and even once you are back to your regular routine. This is not fat!
- Mindfulness – Take a pause when you can. Tune into what and how you are feeling. Are you enjoying yourself? Are you stressing about the food you are going to eat? I wonder how long it would take to smother Aunt Karen? Why the eff am I feeling these feelings? You get what I am saying. And I know some deep stuff for the holidays. But taking a pause and focusing on your breath for even just a minute will go a long way in easing any tension and helping you to be mindful about what you are eating and your other behaviours. Give it a try at dinner, take a smaller plate, fill it up and enjoy the hell out of that meal. When you are done ask yourself, ‘Do I want to go back for more? How do I feel?’ If the answer is yes then effing go for it and do so without guilt. Do not say, ‘I shouldn’t have seconds. I don’t need it.’ Eff that it is one meal. One day. One week. It is not going to wreck your progress. We just get back to things the next day.
My final point:
I want you to take a look around this holiday season. What are you doing? Who are you with? Are you doing things you love? Spending time with people you love? Even Aunt Karen, as annoying as she might be, we still love her. What I am hoping you are realizing is that this sh*t, is the important sh*t. These people and these experiences are what actually matters in life. Not the number on the scale. When you die is anyone going to care about how much you weighed? No, of course not. They are going to remember you and the times they had with you.
You can make this holiday season different.
Take the time to be fully present and enjoy some amazing food. Going to the gym more, eating more salad and losing weight can be something we continue to work on in the New Year if it is part of your life’s journey. We are just making a quick holiday destination stop before we get back on the train and continue living our healthiest and most joyful life. If that life doesn’t involve stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes I don’t want it!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays you beautiful people!