Have you ever vowed to make healthier choices during the holidays, and came up short of your goal? Most of us have 'been there, done that' and then vowed to do better next year.
What if there were steps you could take to create a healthier experience for yourself this year? Would you be willing to do things a bit differently to create meaningful, positive changes? Yes or Yes?
Read on to get some ideas about how to feel more in control and be able to enjoy yourself during the upcoming holidays.
What if you were to have a plan ahead of time to help you be confident and empowered in your choices over the next few weeks, and beyond? A plan to be more mindful and centered when faced with piles of Christmas cookies and free-flowing fountains of alcohol?
Below are five easy- to-use tools for you (and a bonus option) to use this holiday season. (Of course, you may want to start practicing some of them now to build up your confidence ahead of time, yes?)
1. Set your intention. This is one that we wrote about last week yet is worth mentioning again. Becoming clear and stating your intention, BEFORE an event where it might be easy to overindulge, is especially powerful when you're working on maintaining or improving your health.
We like to set our intentions in 2 steps:
The first is setting the intended goal we want to experience. Always set your intention in positive terms. It could be: "my intention is to totally enjoy myself with my family and make healthy food choices." That, vs something like: "not fight with my a-hole brother and not pig out."
Keep it positive.
The second part is: what is the highest state of being you can be as you create that intention? This second piece keeps you on track so that you don't flounder.
The second part usually follows the word: while.
So, it could be something like: "While being present, authentic, and being mindful about what I eat and drink."
What if you were to pause before entering the party or event, and ask yourself: "How am I feeling?" "What experience do I want to create for myself?" How much do I want to eat or drink while here?" "How do I want to feel tomorrow morning?"
Allow the answers to these questions to guide your decisions. Set the intention to make wiser, more life-affirming choices. And then do it!
So, based on the example above, it can be something simple like: "My intention is to totally enjoy myself with my family, while being present, authentic and mindful about what I eat and drink."
Doesn't that feel good? Make sure you say it out loud. And if you're with someone you trust, speaking both of your intentions to each other really works!
Regarding food and drinks... you don't need to deprive yourself completely, just pre-plan to keep things sane and manageable. Having a clear intention will help you stay the course.
2. Stay away! Standing around the food table or at the bar often leads to temptation, especially when others are easily loading up their plates or announcing "I'll just have one more!" at the bar. It's so easy to follow suit, yes? Until now.
What if you chose to walk away and sit in the living room or another area with your food or beverage?
To help you achieve your intention, you may need to create a bit of distance from things you KNOW are tempting. This simple solution is more powerful than it seems. Not only will you not be in the vicinity of the temptations, you'll also be in a quieter environment where you can potentially have more meaningful conversations.
Otherwise, with the food or drink immediately in front of you, you're more likely to overindulge and get off track.
3. Go small. When there's a choice between a large glass or a smaller one, a large plate or a smaller plate, go small.
Choosing the smaller version allows less room for food or drink, and because of your intention, you'll be less likely to keep going back for more.
4. Connect to your 'why.' It's great to set goals for ourselves, yes? Yet, often we fail to achieve them if we're not clear about this crucial component.
Do you know your why? Why do you want to create change? Why do you want to get fit? Why do you want to get sober, quit smoking, give up meat, eat less sugar, make peace with relatives?
Becoming clear about your why, writing it down and plastering it around your house - in front of your computer, on the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, on your phone - will help you stay motivated now, and throughout the year.
5. Tell the truth. Tell your friends and the host (and your self!) ahead of time that you're working on creating new habits and are intentionally trying to stay on target, and welcome their support. This way, others will be less likely to offer you a plateful of cookies or circulate around you with a bottle of wine or champagne to "top off your glass."
Most of the time, when you tell people that you're working to create positive change, others will come forward to admit that they'd love to do that too.
Not only will you maybe inspire them to follow suit, you will create instant rapport, connection and support with other like-minded friends and loved ones.
Bonus option: Close your mouth! (Gulp!) Growing up, you were probably told to "chew your food" over and over, right? And did you do it? Well, it's always possible to start today!
What if, instead of mindlessly shoveling in your food as if you were in some sort of food consumption race, you take a bite, close your mouth, pout down your fork, and chew 25 or 30 times? Can you do that?
This practice significantly helps with digestion (less gas and bloating!) intensifies flavors, and boosts your feelings of satisfaction or satiety with your food. You'll be less likely to overeat and will feel fuller, faster.
That's it! Even if you only practice one or two of these ideas this holiday season, you'll be setting the stage for a much healthier upcoming year!
You'll have tools in your toolbox and will feel better about yourself the morning after - which in turn, creates a setting for additional, positive, life-affirming choices in the future. See how easy that is? :)
>> If you're ready to step into your power and create a healthy life that works on all levels, check out several healthy retreat options we're coming up with!
Come stay with us in San Miguel de Allende for 5-7 days, with a clear intention to get back on track with your health and well-being: quit smoking, lose weight, recover from cancer or another chronic imbalance. Check out SanMiguelRetreats.com for some info.
Before you check that out, please share in the comments below other tools that have helped you that may help others stay on target regarding overindulging during the holidays.
Thanks for reading! We appreciate you!
To your highest!
Eli + Joseph