The holiday season is once again upon us. By now, many of us have put strategies into place to help us stay healthy and strong throughout the season of eat, drink and be merry! And…some of us have not?. So, although you’ve probably heard it all before, here’s a list of 12 strategies that will assist you if your goal is to maintain weight (or possibly lose a pound or two) and to stay away from the dreaded 5-7 lb weight gain that accompanies all the parties and hoopla that has begun! Also included in this list are ways to remain grounded and balanced. It’s not all about the weight, you know.
1. It’s in your head. You make a choice to gain weight when you think about the holidays as a time when you are out of control. You are always in control and you always have choices. Without exception. Choose to do whatever feels right to you. Do not let the media and hype throw you into imbalance.
2. Starting today, create a plan. Most people have already sent out their holiday party invitations. I got two yesterday. Take a few minutes to map out from October 23rd through January 10th, including family functions, work related functions and networking events. Are there any that you do not want to go to and feel that your presence is not mandatory? Send your regrets now! Look at what you have left. How does the schedule make you feel? Excited to be a part of it or overwhelmed at all you must “do” during the season? If you are feeling overwhelmed, keep working the schedule by eliminating those events that do not feed your feeling of “good will to all” until you are excited about your activity during the next six weeks.
3 Come up with 10-15 of your favorite foods that are also healthy. Stock them and use them to eat a small meal before you go to a party. This way you feel satisfied and will not feel that you are depriving yourself of that extra portion of fatty, greasy, nasty chips an dips or cheese and crackers.
3. I hate to say it, but sugar is a killer for the willpower. You have one cookie on 11/23 and by 12/25 you are eating the batter raw out of the bowl. Consider, if you will, if you are eating high sugar foods, to at least combine them with a portion of lean protein to slow down the absorption process.
4. The dreaded water drinking. Drink water…lots of it…often throughout the day…there is just no way around this.
5. I know…I know…you are sooooo busy. Whatever. Take at least 5-10 minutes each day to sit in contemplation/mediation and truly feel the gratitude you have for your life. It gets shorter by one day each day and you owe it to yourself to connect with your spiritual power, whatever that looks like and feels like to you. Getting in touch with that small still voice that is your soul will absolutely help you to stay calm and centered as you get bombarded by the anti-spirit of Christmas…shopping!
6. Exercise. I know…I know..you are soooo busy. Whatever. Even if it’s 5-10 minutes for a walk around your office, do it. Just do it…there you go; I’m not a fan of Nike but the tag line makes sense. As Yoda says..don’t try…just do. Here’s my favorite when I’m out of time. Run ¼ mile fast as I can..do 25 pushups, 25 sit ups, 25 squats and repeat all 4 times. Takes me 15 minutes..I’m cooked. You don’t have to do this intensity..scale it to whatever you can do..but..do it!
7. Make each meal a complete one. Combine lean protein with healthy fat and carbohydrate. Like: hardboiled egg, with almonds and handful of grapes. That kind of meal satisfies your body and keeps you fueled and balanced.
8. Eat every 3-4 hours. If you keep the furnace stoked, you won’t get the cravings that come when your body is saying “feed me you fool” and your mind is saying “Snickers”. Your mind is not your friend.
9. Work on being present throughout the day. Most of us are living either in the past or thinking about the future. All you have is right now. Don’t waste time playing the “he said/she said” game. It’s over…get over it. And your future can change in a minute…you could get hit by a bus or a deer (depending on where you live). But you do have the blessed and amazing here and now. Look around you…it’s wondrous.
10. Here’s an oldie but goodie. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, precede it with a 12 ounce glass of water. It will help flush toxins and will help you not to want to drink too fast or too much.
11. Decide before you go out, how do you want to feel when the party is over? Do you really want to waste the next day having a headache and not being able to get off the couch? Really?
12. Enjoy the holiday season in the spirit of love, friendship and being in the presence of magic and wonder. There is nothing more wondrous than nature, the beings we share our planet with and the love we have to share that is limitless. Keep your heart open, let go of anger and hatred. As one of my very best friends says….We are one…We are connected. Open up..let us in.