Healthy Holidays and Other Annoying Concepts
As I was walking into my bathroom with my mouth filled with contraband Halloween candy that I have hidden from everyone in my family, I heard her.
I was about to shower so that my son and I could go shopping for Christmas cookie ingredients, and her voice was SO loud.
It was the Voice of Holidays Past, better known as Leslie’s brain, and it was saying, “Forget it. You’re eating candy AND about to make Christmas cookies, so screw it. You’ve ruined everything. It’s impossible to stay healthy during the holidays. Enjoy all the things and then you can start over in January.”
I’d tell you what I told her to make her shut up but it’s not very family-friendly and it’s Christmas, so… Let’s just move on to the lesson here – I assure you there is one, and it might involve permission to eat cookies.
One day of baking with my son and sneaking a Milk Dud or two isn’t going to add another roll over my pants. But what usually happens is this little guy named Guilt trots in and erases all logic from our brains and replaces it with self-loathing to the point where we throw our hands up and say, “I’ve ruined everything, so screw it.” And that’s when you start promising that your new life will start on Monday.
You haven’t ruined anything. And you don’t have to start over.
Where we fail at maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not understanding that perfection isn’t a part of the equation. Expecting perfection invites failure.
Give yourself some grace and just move on. Of course you can’t live everyday all YOLO or you will start gaining weight and feeling all crappy. And if you’re looking to lose weight, you know that you’re going to have to be REALLY mindful about those cookie opportunities. That being said, even with the treats rolling in, it’s totally possible to not only continue a healthy lifestyle while also eating cookies, but it is also possible to CREATE, from scratch, a healthy lifestyle during the holidays.
So don’t roll your eyes at those Healthy for the Holidays articles just yet.
I’ve had a coaching group creating mini-goals each week during December. These are just small changes in their lives that don’t take a lot of energy, aren’t stressful, but that will change their lives for the better. One of them wanted to add an extra workout in during the week, one added 10 minutes onto her dog walking time in the mornings, another added an extra serving of vegetables into her day. Easy things, but that 10 minutes of extra walking each morning adds an hour by the end of the week. That extra serving of vegetables each day comes out to 30 extra servings of vegetables a month. See how that works?
Little changes can create big results.
So you can YOLO your way through the holidays or you can reign it in just a little and be just a little more in control. What is important to you? Cookies are really not at the top of the list of what’s important to me, but spending time in the kitchen with my son is. Creating beautiful and delicious cookies together is something I hope we can continue and that he will remember forever. Do we need to eat every single one of them? Absolutely not. It’s a great opportunity to show a six year old how good giving feels! Is hoarding Halloween candy important to me? Ugh… no. It’s gone, I swear. When the break room at work is filled with junk food, I’m going to have to ask myself if any of that stuff is important to me and how it’s going to make me feel.
If I could give just one piece of advice about how to be your best and healthiest self, it would be to pay attention to how food makes you feel.
Notice the emotions you attach to that food, how you feel while you’re eating it, and most importantly, how you feel after you eat it. You can learn a lot about yourself by paying attention to your emotional and physical reactions to food. That could even be your one small goal for the holidays… to pay attention.
This isn’t the time to start some crazy fad diet, but it’s not the time to go off the rails either. Find some middle ground, be mindful about food, remember to chew and taste and enjoy, eat your vegetables, and move your body! Just don’t keep putting your healthy life off until Monday or next year. Start now, and when you eat those cookies, enjoy the heck out of them!
I’d love to hear your small goals, your success stories, or how you stay healthy during this time of year, so leave a comment below!
If you’re struggling with creating a healthy lifestyle during the holidays or any other time, feel free to reach out for a free consultation. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s see if working with a health coach might help you become your healthiest self.