Over the holidays we tend to eat more, workout less, and our vision of that summer body becomes harder to recall.We complain, yet accept, the five to eight-pound weight gain as a necessary evil. The good news is, with three simple lifestyle changes we can conquer this holiday season.
Listen, I love apple pie too but there is such a thing as too much apple pie. Oh and those leftovers that become a sandwich for lunch two days in a row? Can we please add lettuce and spinach to it? For the love of #nolovehandles.
Here is the drawback with the holidays, we equate quality time with the food. We accept what always has been, what we are accustom to, with no real effort to change the upcoming experience.
Why do we allow poor nutrient deficient meals to rule the holidays?
Message: You can eat healthy for the longevity of your health and still enjoy quality time over the Holidays.
Traditionally, we spend hours in the kitchen preparing a big feast, filled with traditional meals, taste testing all day long. People are shouting “add more butter, actually add more salt” not even cognizant of the ingredients and its nutritional content. Your cells are screaming.
The stories being shared and the constant laughter makes your health take a back seat, with no seatbelt.
The food engulfs your five senses, reignites the emotions you felt from last time you ate that dish. Simultaneously Aunt Cathy is telling a beautiful love story about how she met your Uncle.
Your heart is warm, all your senses are satisfied and the energy in the room is amazing. This explosion of feelings and senses is what people live for! This explosion outweighs that one guest you can’t stand but somehow manage (yes, it happens in my house too.. every time).
All these memories, all these feelings, all this lovely stimuli coming in, you couldn’t fathom doing anything else in this moment time.
But it is also making you relive the past, the good emotions with the people you love.
Here is the where the problem lies, tradition makes us remember the good times, taking us back mentally and physically when we need to move forward health wise. Holidays takes our attention away from what we eat as we mentally we prepare to unbutton our pants.
It is OK to relive past emotional experiences whilst eating healthy food for the future.
Consider this, if we eat unhealthy for Thanksgiving, followed by Thanksgiving leftovers, then Christmas and Christmas leftovers, then New Year and New Year’s leftovers, we just reinforced an unhealthy eating habit (6 times at minimum) in our mind and now the bad cravings reignite as your sensory nervous system has adjusted.
Thanksgiving already passed, but we can consider these 3 changes in behavior for the Holidays:
1. Separate the food table and family time. It is possible to bring healthy dishes and eat at the table. Majority of the family is still eating unhealthy meals without a desire to modify ingredients in the name of health and tradition. You can be the light, be the inspiration for future holiday meals.
2. Remember your goals for your life trajectory and how important being a healthy human is to fulfill them. “Your physical health affects your mental health; your spiritual strength affects your social/emotional strength. As you improve in one dimension, you increase your ability in other dimensions as well.” (Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
3. Have a solid plan implemented in your brain today. Changing your pattern, your behavior that has been ingrained for years on end, it’s no easy venture. The mind is the world’s best supercomputer for a reason.
If you are in the beginning stages of your healthy journey, or simply haven’t let go of a certain unhealthy food, set a limit for yourself.
Here is an example:
The dilemma: Ok, I love apple pie. I love apple pie because my mom and I always discuss future plans while chopping the apples and making the pie from scratch. And the cinnamon, oh the cinnamon.
The plan: “Before dessert, I will drink two 16 oz glasses of water. This will fill my stomach leaving room for only one slice of apple pie instead of 2 slices…the whole pie.”
The result: By having this plan already fixed mentally, you set the intention for how you want to feel, what you want to experience whilst still enjoying something you love. By eating less apple pie this Thanksgiving (compared to last Thanksgiving), you set yourself up for success for future Thanksgivings.
If this plan proves to be successful, you’ll be able to transition to a raw fruit apple pie by next Thanksgiving. Talk about a win-win situation!
Adjusting to a new normal for future success requires a lot of adjusting and readjusting. Implementing these 3 strategies will set you up for success over the holidays while satisfying your emotions and senses. Sensory explosions and emotions are the factors that make us human, but we need to control them in this video game called life, not let them control us.
Wishing you, you reading this, and your loved ones Happy Holidays! I have faith in your power to make healthier choices.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! If you enjoyed this and would like health tips, check out www.instagram.com/jasminentorok2/ This Instagram page is dedicated to posting one healthy meal and one health tip per day.
Originally published at medium.com