Its that time of year again! Holiday goodies are everywhere you look, parties are every other day, and sweater season is a joyous time to hide our binge worthy gains. It is important to unlearn the unhealthy society behaviors over the most joyous time of the year in order to be successful all year round.
Here are a few tools I use to help overcome challenges and temptations during the holiday season.
The most important thing to remember while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is simply this:
“We do not live to eat, we eat to live.”
In today's society our lives very much revolve around food. Getting together with friends, family BBQ, celebrating an event or holiday, going out on the weekends, vacation, essentially everything we do on a daily basis has one main focus; Food. In many ways we stopped caring about the nutrition of the food we are consuming, and have become more interested in how it tastes and even makes us feel.
It seems to be even more difficult to focus on our nutrition and overall wellness during the holiday season. Due to parties, holiday events, and social get-togethers. What tends to be the first thing we stop working on… our nutrition.
To be successful, it is important to differentiate between what our bodies need, and what our minds want. This is something Okon teaches our clients, if you are in need of guidance click here for more information on our educational programs. Now this does not mean you should not allow yourself the freedom to enjoy grandma's home-made apple pie, or your mothers holiday speciality dish. It simply means you need to be more mindful of what, and how much you are consuming. Most of us have heard someone say “one won't kill you” -- and it wont! But the danger of that comment is, we don't usually stop at one, and likely that is not the only time you will hear that line. If you can be mindful, and not mindless graze and snack during the holiday season, you will more than likely still maintain what you’ve been working on and wont feel the NEW YEAR NEW ME pressure quite as strongly. You don't have to gain 10-15 lbs during the holiday, and it can be as easy as being intentional with your food consumption.
One would think that once you’ve made the choice to live a healthier lifestyle, eating the foods your nutritionist or coach suggests you consume…that most would applaud your decision to actively better your life and overall goals.
But sadly, that is not always the case. Many experience quite the opposite. I personally have experienced this behavior and the best conclusions as to why someone we love dearly or consider a good friend would act in this manner is simply because many have a hard time seeing others making good choices that they themselves may not have the willpower to do. It is not always about you but more of a projection of themselves, so be mindful of that.
It is important to be prepared to be asked “why can't you have that” or even ridiculed for being a “health nut” because C'MON it's the holidays, live a little! Now, reality is not everyone is going to be hard on you, and some may just really be interested in your why and reasons behind your abnormal behavior.
The best tools to use in these situations is, patience and understanding. Not everyone is going to understand your decisions nor will they stand behind your lifestyle, but know this… In the long run you are doing this for yourself, for your loved ones, and maybe even setting an example for those around you. A kind response I use that many seem to accept is:
I have one body, and I have decided I want to take care of it how I have been educated to do so. This is my choice and I appreciate your concern. The way you take care of your body is none of my business, let me take care of mine how I see fit.
Nothing. That simple, nothing. We see people trying to work off the food they ate or feel ashamed that they ate more calories in a day than they actually need in an entire week. But it's not that serious, for real. Don't go and punish your body by doing loads of cardio and “fasting” for a day. Don't stop eating good foods to “offset your calories’. You can't change the past but you can change what you do next. Which is simple, get back on track. One crazy calorie day isn't going to set you back or completely derail your progress. What does set you back is the fuck it mentality where you continue eating all the food the rest of the holiday season until its no longer socially acceptable to have candy syrup and cookies for breakfast… and then of course; the new year wave of health has arrived.
Break the cycle that many repeat every year. Binging through out the holidays as it is socially acceptable, and then fighting to “lose the weight” come the New Year. Implement some structure, have intentions with what you eat, and be mindful. And you will come out of the holidays the same as you went in, maybe even better.
Most importantly, know that your health is one of the most valuable things that you will ever have. Once you lose it, it gets even harder to get back. Love yourself, take care of your mind, rejuvenate your body, and as you do so, you will grow and become an even better version of yourself. When you decide to invest in you, you will realize that it is the best investment you will ever make.
I worked with my team to put together a quick list of some of the most common foods so you are able to reference this as you are focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Simple. Easy. Effective.
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