We’re now officially in full-swing holiday mode. And it’s easy to let the to-do list, the cookie dough, the parties, and the lack of sleep pull us from our intentions and our schedule…right?
We rationalize tossing away our plans with thoughts like, “It’s more important to make these cookies for the neighbors than go to the gym,” or “Everyone overeats this time of year.”
Well, I know you can stay healthy, peaceful and on track with your weight-release or maintenance, even with all the temptation around you. Here are five of the techniques I swear by every December.
1. Believe you can maintain, or even release, weight through the holidays.
No… I’m not kidding. I recently overheard a couple of women say it’s “inevitable” they’ll gain weight over the holidays. Because they believe this, they probably will. This commonly held belief is only true if you believe it to be true. Watch thin people. An abundance of available food doesn’t necessarily call them to eat more than they naturally would eat.
So, if you subscribe to this philosophy, I invite you to shift your thinking this year. Begin to believe that, despite the holidays, you can think like a thin person, listen to your body, and eat healthfully and mindfully while maintaining your weight. Believe it’s possible and it will be.
2. Just say “No.”
This one is about boundaries. How are you doing with yours?
Boundaries are the emotional borders we place between ourselves and other people. Someone with strong boundaries says “No” when they don’t want to do something. Someone with weak boundaries says “Yes” because they fear displeasing others.
Setting strong boundaries honors you, your time and your energy. Weak boundaries leave you vulnerable to make decisions you later regret. Having strong boundaries is especially important during the holidays when extra demands stress our already busy lives. So if you’re asked to bake three-dozen more sugar cookies and you really don’t want to, politely decline. The emotional and physical energy you save helps you feel empowered, calms your body and reduces stress that can lead to overeating. An added benefit: You don’t have three dozen more cookies in your house.
3) Ask yourself: “How do I want to feel one hour (or one day) from now?”
This powerful question helps you anticipate the results of your choices. Instead of contaminating the next hour or day or your life with guilt and regret, you can instead feel strong and confident.
For example, before entering a holiday party, imagine how you want to feel as you drive home. When observing an array of food at a holiday buffet, imagine how you want to feel one hour later. Asking, “How do I want to feel?” helps you link with a positive mental image and think twice about over-indulging in the cake and pie in front of you. Taking a moment to close your eyes and visualize your desired result, and the feeling attached to that result, energetically aligns your mind and body to help move you in that direction. I use this all the time. It works. Practice and let me know how it goes.
4) Write your “I AM” list.
If you’re like me, you probably have several “to do” lists, especially at this hectic time of year. While keeping task lists helps you stay organized and efficient, keeping an “I AM” list helps your mind/body/spirit remain aligned and peaceful. For instance your “I AM” list for today might say:
“I am patient.”
”I am forgiving.”
”I am kind to my body.”
“I am able to choose healthy foods.”
”I am connected to my Higher Power who guides me.”
You may want to write your “I AM” list on note cards to keep with you and review regularly, especially when you’re about to enter a food-challenging situation. Your “I AM” list supports you in becoming someone who honors herself and her body so you ultimately take better care of yourself and release weight.
5) Drop the perfection and have fun!
Give yourself permission to enjoy this holiday season and not get caught up with having to do it all, make everything perfect or obsess about your weight.
I learned this inspiring phrase from spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra: “This moment is as it should be.” No matter what is happening—if you ate more than you intended at the office holiday party, if you haven’t had the time to exercise, if you experienced friction with a relative at a family gathering—it’s okay. Trust that every situation offers you an opportunity to learn and grow.
Instead of giving up and believing that being overwhelmed and gaining weight are inevitable, believe that you will have fun and enjoy this holiday season. Believe that you will experience the holidays with a calm heart and peaceful mind, trusting that, no matter what, you’re exactly where you need to be.
What will help you remain calm and at peace this holiday season?