‘Tis the season to indulge!
I love everything about Chirstmas, including the food, the alcohol and watching movie after movie. That usually means more calories in than calories out.
We’ve all been programmed to think this equation is the end all/be all when it comes to weight loss, weight gain and weight management. The truth is that our bodies are simply not that simple. As soon as we drop below our energy intake needs, our body shifts our hormones and metabolism to conserve energy and maintain a homeostasis. The same is true for overconsumption, your body does things to help us maintain it’s weight like fidgeting. The most important thing our bodies need to maintain a naturally slim waistline is nutrients. When we consume high quality nutrients, our body likes to stay at a naturally healthy weight, even during the holidays.
There’s one more thing that is being studied like mad when it comes to weight loss… stress. Stress is being shown over and over again to cause people to gain weight. Holidays are funny when it comes to stress, we get time off work (de-stressing) however, most of us carry extra holiday stress when it comes to presents, finding time for everyone and food.
So, how do I keep my scale in balance over the season?
- I make sure I eat during the day if I have a Christmas party at night. My old self would eat as limited as I could during the day so that I could splurge on the Christmas party meal and desserts. This would make me feel awful physically and emotionally. These days, I have a big breakfast (like 3 eggs cooked in coconut oil and 1/2 an avocado) and regular lunches and snacks so that I know all my nutrition needs are met before I go out. I find that I enjoy the Christmas meal even more because I take the time to taste my food instead of shoveling it down to a starving stomach. I also tend to eat less and pick out the desserts that I truly desire instead of every dessert just because.
- I choose my drinks wisely. Having drinks over the holidays is totally fine, I’ll even have a mimosa with breakfast. It’s the balance of all drinks that I pay attention to. So, I will skip the pop (organic of course) and lattes if I’m going to have a gluten free beer with lunch or wine with dinner. I find that the sweeter the drink and the more of them I have, the worse I feel.. weird?! lol. So, I do try to skip out on the mixed drinks and not get out of hand with the number either.
- I don’t exercise but I do try to move. I have a pretty active lifestyle so by the time the holidays come, my body wants a break. That being said, I start to feel pretty heavy in my joints, body and mind if I don’t move around during the holidays. I try to do 2-3 yoga postures in the morning. Usually just a simple downward dog, warrior 1 ( to open my psoas) and some form of pigeon (to bring blood flow to my hips). Then, I nag and nag until someone takes me for a gentle walk. Nothing fancy, just enough movement to keep everything flowing and my metabolism at it’s normal pace.
- Don’t stress out. Sometimes this is easier said than done but managing my stress during the holidays always leads to smarter eating choices. If I notice that my mood is starting to get out of hand, I find a quiet place (sometimes that means on the toilet), close my eyes and take 8-10 deep, five count breaths releasing all tension in my face, shoulders and mind. If it gets really crazy, I will tap using the eft (emotional freedom technique) points. The other thing I breathe or tap about is letting it be ok to consume things and quantities of things that are abnormal. I can get pretty uptight and judgemental if I think I had too many chocolates, but these days I breathe and let it go, knowing that it will all balance out in the course of the week or month so long as I don’t stress about it.
- Sleep. We make better decisions when we are well rested. This doesn’t just have to do with food and drinks, it also has to do with how we interact with others. Some studies have consistently shown that if we are under slept, we consume an average of 200 extra calories. That’s nuts! It has to do with how our bodies recognize hormones like leptin that clue us in to stop eating when we are full. When we are well rested, we make the choices our body actually needs, instead of just stumbling around trying to grab some sort of carb so that we can experience a seretonin release. I also experience way less stress when I’m well slept. That means my cortisol (stress hormone) will be lower overall and my body will be less likely to get into fat storage mode (which is what happens when cortisol is high).
So, this holiday season, my mode isn’t about cutting calories or exercising a whole bunch to off-set the holiday meals, treats and booze. My mode is about taking care of myself and not feeling badly when I do choose to have too many chocolates. I’m planning to eat super nutritiously outside of holiday functions, move my body to keep stagnant energy flowing, sleep and have fun! I know that if I do this the odds of the scale going up are much slimmer than if I count every calorie and try to balance it out with exercise. I also know that if the scale does go up, it’s probably just because my body is holding onto some extra water weight and that I didn’t put on the pounds the scale says. I also know that I would rather have fun and be present with everyone and have that scale temporarily jump up, instead of being scared of every morsel that touches my lips. After all, aren’t the holidays about being merry and jolly?
Have fun at your parties and take the time to relax and enjoy,