This past month, have you been inundated with articles about how NOT to gain weight over the holiday season? I know I have. And frankly, it’s annoying.
In fact, this morning I was listening to NPR and they were doing a story on this very subject. They interviewed a doctor who stated that between Christmas and New Year’s we tend to eat 1,000 more calories per day than usual, resulting in a one pound weight gain.
One pound?!? Horrors!!
I even got into the game myself. In October I gave a talk on “How to Avoid Binge Eating During the Holiday Season”. Guess how many people came to that talk? ONE. That’s right. One.
You know what that tells me?
We WANT to feast during this time! We WANT our indulgences!
So whether your customary holiday weight gain is one pound or six, I’d like to offer you a radical new way to approach December in America.
I want you to eat whatever you desire.
I posted this on my Facebook page, and someone replied “I won’t feel good if I eat EVERYTHING I want.”
I totally agree.
But I would argue, if you’re not going to feel good after it, your body doesn’t truly want it. Your tastebuds may want it. But your insides are likely saying “please, no”.
So here’s what I propose you try over the next few weeks:
1. Make sure nothing’s off limits.
We all know what the restrictive mentality leads to. That’s right: overindulgence. So guess what. You are allowed to have that Yule log. You are allowed to have mulled wine. You are allowed to participate in your neighbor’s cookie swap.
2. Ask yourself “is it worth it?”
Here’s the thing – while you have permission to eat whatever, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily worth it. Is a slice of that Yule log from Safeway really going to make your night that much more dazzling? Are your neighbor’s cookies really that drool-worthy and flavorful? If the answer is yes, go for it! But if you know that the mulled wine is actually just going to put you right to sleep, if the Yule log just tastes like a sponge soaked in artificial sweetener, well, what are you missing? This approach involves truly listening to, trusting, and honoring your body. (And if you have a difficult time doing this consistently, you should schedule a consultation with me).
3. Stabilize biochemically with protein and regular meals.
Consuming the typical holiday party foods causes biochemical dysregulation. It can kick up mood swings and can even trigger more cravings. You know how it’s hell on your skin? Yeah, that’s what it’s doing to our insides too. As you make deliberate choices about what’s worth indulging in – and what isn’t – make sure you regulate your system as much as possible so that it can better handle the sugar, gluten and alcohol.
4. Feed your soul, not just your body.
If that Yule log truly is that scrumptious, please do not insult it by gobbling it down in a frenzied state of guilt and fear! SIT DOWN, breathe, chew slowly and ENJOY IT THOROUGHLY. Feel PASSION and GRATITUDE for it. And along those lines, please remember that food is not the only way to enjoy this time of year. Pick at least two other decadent sensory experiences to indulge in fully between now and New Year’s. Do you enjoy winter music? Attend a Christmas or Solstice concert, or listen to wintry classical music on Pandora or Spotify. Do you love to feast your eyes on lights? Decorate your home with candles scented with cinnamon or pine, or take a stroll around your neighborhood at night to soak up the neighbors’ decorations. Is crafting a passion? Take an afternoon to make scented bath and body products as gifts for friends and family. THIS is the stuff that feeds your soul! And when your soul is fed in this way, the Yule Log from Safeway somehow loses some of its intrigue.
Wishing you a holiday season that feels deeply nourishing in body, mind, and spirit!!