Updated: Dec 23, 2019
We get a lot of inquiries this time of year from people wondering if we can help them with their health goals. They worry about the parties, dinners, treats and drinks. Will it be too much to take on right now? Should they just wait for the resolution rush? Is it a lost cause to try?
Our answer is: if you’re ready to make changes, then it’s the right time. When you decide to make changes matters less than how you feel inside. Mental and emotional states are what really determine our success, no matter when or what we are working on. Tried a million diets only to give up a month in? Enthusiastically signed a gym contract only to realize you couldn’t describe the inside a year later? Maybe you paid for a program but couldn’t ever quite make it to a meeting. All of those “failures” are just mismatches to the timing: you weren’t ready. Even if you thought you were, the one thing that determines success is being in a centered place where making change is the only option you have.
So, maybe you have started making changes and want to stay steady through the holidays. Perhaps this is just the beginning of thinking about your health…perhaps you are planning for 2020. No matter where you are, we are here to support and guide you. As part of our holiday series for 2019, we asked clients for their top health challenges of 2018 and weighed in on approaches to stay on course with 2019 goals.
Week 1 Healthy Holiday Questions
Challenge 1: Should I not eat in the morning if I am attending a party that night? I don’t want to go over on my calorie goals…
Consider this: Skipping meals with the intention to eat more during an event is known as budgeting or bargaining for calories. This can be a slippery slope because getting to a party with extreme hunger (AKA hanger) can mean extreme eating! It’s tough to think when hungry and having treats available can make it impossible to hold back. Better to eat well and balanced throughout the day so you get to the party with a clear head and intention.
Our tips: Eat before drinking any alcohol; alcohol will lower your inhibitions and can make your judgement cloudy. Next, load up on veggies and protein first and save dessert for a bit later. Eating slowly and distancing yourself from the goodies can be helpful, too. Overall, though – enjoy the people. It’s not about the dessert – you can have that at any time from any grocery store! It’s about making connections and being human.
Challenge 2: I can’t make it to the gym with all the crazy events and my kids out of school. Plus, hosting family makes it nearly impossible to get out…
Consider this: We totally agree – the time restraints and obligations around the holiday can test anyone’s patience. We like to step back and look at the calendar and schedule protected time in. If that’s too tight, activity doesn’t have to be one complete block! It can be broken up throughout the day; it could be the stairs taken instead of the elevator or a post-lunch walk with a coworker. If you do have the time to work out but feel guilty for taking that time, consider your response if a family member asked for time to work out – you’d be proud of them for sticking to their goals! Your family is likely the same. You deserve it.
Our tips: Make it a family affair! Consider a daily morning or afternoon walk; sign everyone up for a run/walk race; plan dance breaks throughout the day or try an afternoon/lunch time class at your closest gym.
Challenge 3: The foods just too tempting – I can’t say no to gravy and turkey or apple pie.
Consider this: Please enjoy the food! There are no ‘bad’ foods and depriving yourself can make the temptation stronger. Consider the old phrase, “the dose makes the poison.” No one meal or snack – or even day! – ruins your progress. It’s what we do over time, consistently, that matters. Consider the foods you are wary of as treats and stay focused on maintaining portions of the stuff you know that fuels you.
Our tips: Being plant forward minded at holidays is a great way to slow down the meal and make sure you feel good about going into the dessert or gravy options. Start with the veggies, a side salad, or some fruit. Keep your portions moderate and really enjoy eating them! This mindfulness about food can let you recognize when you’ve had enough and keep you from overeating.
Challenge 4: My extended family always makes comments about my food choices during the holiday...it makes me feel singled out and like I need to fit in by eating what they are eating.
Consider this: Often times, people are wary of change. If they see you’ve made a big change to your food, they may feel like their habits are up for evaluation. No one wants to be judged so their comments and lashing out is likely a result of feeling unsure of themselves. Staying committed to your goals can show them how comfortable something different can be – at the very least they can try something new!
Our tips: Aim for a variety of foods to incorporate the new with the old – let the visiting family members take over preparing the traditional dishes and you handle creating ones that fit in line with your vision. Asking children or teens to help prepare food can also get them excited about trying something new. One of our favorite ways to increase vegetable intake among children is by letting them choose a fave veggie and then helping prepare or serve it. Try to stay mindful at the table – enjoy the beautiful holiday dishes that you worked hard to prepare and savor this time with family by keeping conversation inquisitive but kind.
Final Thoughts: Consider adding a team of people to support you on this journey! Our team can provide the guidance, counseling and plans to get you through this season still on track and ahead of the curve for the new year.