What worries you the most about surviving the holidays? I asked 10 friends and guess what? The response was 10 different concerns. They ran the gamut from having too many invites to being alone or feeling lonely because they turned some down. The biggest worry was weight gain from all the goodies, parties, special meals and there was a chuckle as they spoke knowing that they would indulge. The one that got an embarrassed laugh was looking forward to being with extended family and also wishing she could ditch the family.
I turned to a special friend who I knew had a handle on many of these worries and asked her to give me her 3 top tips for surviving the holidays.
Hope Stanger, is a holistic coach with an extraordinary approach to healthy eating – having created Chewless Mondays on her Facebook page – she shares her thoughts on how to get through the holidays based on a talk she has given for the past twelve years around this time of year.
1. Never skip a meal
This is my number 1 nutrition recommendation. Anytime we think we overeat or eat richer or more “fattening” foods, we tend to want to change our daily routine and often skip meals.
This kind of deprivation promotes unhealthy eating, and ultimately, weight gain and mood imbalance. We want to stay consistent with our eating habits during this time of year; Consistency creates Balance. Let go of the quick-fix diet mentality and go with the slow and steady nourishing food plan. We are allowed to be human and have some food adventures, and sometimes, that might include eating more or differently than usual. It’s OK to do this! Enjoy the special foods you get to eat this month. Our bodies easily adjust to the changes during the holidays if we don’t overreact and stay calm. Trust your body to take care of you.
Honor that whatever food choice you make is the right choice and enjoy your next meal without guilt.
If you are too full to eat, wait a little while or eat a smaller portion.
2. Balance your holiday meals with your normal way of eating
Have at least one meal a day that supports your body with balancing and energizing foods. Have this meal be a meal like the one you would normally eat the other 364 days of the year. Surround and honor yourself with some of your typical foods. If you are going away, pack a cooler with a few of your Core Foods. Yes, this Really works! My clients are so happy coming back from holiday vacations because they feel balanced. They were able to eat the special foods of the season with their families and friends and not feel bad at all, because they had some of their typical foods to keep them thriving. It’s how we get our bodies to honor us; by honoring ourselves. When the body recognizes that you are still treating it with love and nourishment, it gives that right back to you!
Go to the market the first day you are there, and pick up a few foods that support your normal way of eating. If you are used to making smoothies, bring a portable blender. Make it super easy for yourself to do this. If you normally eat steel cut oats for breakfast, bring a bag with you. Whatever is typical for You is what you want to remember to bring in each day. If you have cereal in the morning at home, and it really works for you, and now you’re having pancakes every day, have cereal one day to remember. If you love vegetables but your family doesn’t, pick some up and make a salad.
This does not set you apart from others; in fact, by taking really good care of yourself, it allows for you to truly appreciate the holiday foods that you eat and know they are cooked with love, and you become more present with and connected to the people in your life because there is no negative self-talk going on. I have heard stories of family members wanting to have some of what the person brought with them!
3. Make a list of things you’ve accomplished this year
As the year closes, we tend to look to resolutions for the new year. These are all about what we feel we haven’t done well and want to alter.
Why not stop to see all the wonderful, powerful ways in which we Have made forward movement in our lives. Run through the past year in your mind; what actions, conversations and decisions brought you even a little bit closer to your goals and dreams? Write them down. No negative thoughts allowed. This is a time for personal acknowledgement.
- Where did you make a difference in another person’s life? Even in a small way…you might think something you did or said was nothing but it could really have been a Huge help to another person, so count the littler things as well.
- What did you let go of in your life that allowed you to move forward? This can include habits, relationships, a job, self-criticism, negative thoughts…
- Where did you walk through your fear and venture ahead?
- Write down even the smallest of actions…they count just as much!
Now look at it and Really take it in. Allow yourself to receive the feeling of gratitude.
We are so appreciative of Hope Stanger for her thoughtful approach to surviving the holidays. Which tool resonates with you?
Happy Holidays to all,
Roz and Beth
For the complete set of tools, you can read Hope’s blog:
Hope Stanger is an international Health Consultant, Therapist and Nutritional Counselor. She helps people create loving relationships with their food and their bodies. Hope is the founder of Therapy Beyond Walls, Healing Trauma, Relationships and Eating Disorders. She is the author of a forthcoming book on weight loss.