Not your expected holiday eating guide

Today as I strolled the aisles of Walmart (yes I love me some Walmart) I walked right into their Christmas display. Now that Halloween is over the countdown to Christmas has begun!

The next two months will be filled with shopping and socializing and being with the ones you love. For some it is also a stressful time filled with guilt, stress, less sleep and unwanted weight gain. In the fitness industry it traditionally is known as the dead zone of the year. The calm before the New Years storm. The time when people coast with their fitness goals and adopt an attitude of waiting till the New Year to make those changes. When I was a trainer it was the time of year where my clients who lived a healthy lifestyle year round got all my attention because quite honestly they were the only ones in the gym.

So how do we stop the endless cycle of letting the holidays reek havoc to our fitness goals and vowing to start over come January?

I think it’s a matter of perspective and choice. How you choose to react to the holidays and how much you let them effect your normal routine plays a huge role in how you feel during them.

I love the holidays!! The things I love most about them is seeing them through my daughters eyes. It’s also the one time during the year I get to spend time with the people who matter most. To be honest I don’t do much Christmas shopping. I get my daughter one great gift and really just relish in the family time. I really don’t think about what I am going to eat or drink. For me the focus is not food but family. The meals that we share are just that – meals. I try a bit of everything and when I am full I walk away. I know God willing that there will be other opportunities to eat so I don’t have to eat all the food. I don’t place restrictions on myself, I enjoy everything without guilt.

Sounds easy? Not at all!!! It took me years and a lot of work to get to where I am today. I could load this post with tons of tips like eating before you get to parties, drinking lots of water and sticking to the healthy stuff at holiday parties, but I am not. What I am going to share is some of the things I did to build a healthy relationship with food.

1- Stop dieting: and if you insist on starting a program make sure it has real food as its base and has a balanced approach to nutrition (that why I love the ADVOCARE 24 day challenge)

2- Set a goal for yourself that has nothing to do with the scale or your abs: A turkey trot, 5k or obstacle race are great goals.  Or decide that you want to be able to do a strict pull up.

3- commit to eating only when you are hungry:If you don’t know what that feels like take a couple of minutes before you eat that chocolate or cookie or other packaged food directly out of the container in front of the fridge or over the sink and ask yourself: Am I hungry or am I just (fill the blank)

Tired

Lonely

Sad

Bored

Upset

Anxious

Angry

4- try not to think of food as “good” or “bad”: Instead take a moment to make a choice.  Will this food serve me or my goals? If the answer is no make a better choice and don’t blame the food.

5- Take quiet time: I spend at least 30 minutes a day reading my bible and praying. It helps me to get closer to God and remember his promises. It gives me a shield for the day and confidence to make choices based in truth and not emotion.  Feelings lie.  They cause us to make decisions based on what will make us feel better RIGHT NOW.  not what will be best for us in the long run.

We are less than 15 days from Thanksgiving and Christmas is not soon after that. Take some time in the next 15 days to work on your relationship with food. Connect with the spirit of the holiday and focus less on getting caught up in the craziness. See this time of year as one of family and gratitude and being surrounded by the ones thou love.  Think before you react and use food as a comfort.  Pray more. Worry less.