It was heaven to spend a week in the woods, sleeping next to lakes in gorgeous old lodges, walking on beaches and hiking a few mountains. (check out my IG for some pics). And now we are hitting the holiday season.
I look forward to this time of year when things quiet down a bit and the holiday atmosphere picks up. It’s exciting to show the little one-year old man what the holidays are all about and how not to pull the X-mas tree down :-)
Many years ago I used to feel threatened by the holidays because I had no idea how to resist all the temptations: my mom’s X-mas cookies (by the box full), the Gluehwein (a German specialty), and the many holiday parties and the goodies there. I felt that food had all the power over me. I’d indulge, feel bad, indulge some more, feel even worse and then say “why even bother…. I’m just going to eat whatever I want and clean up my act on January 1st by being perfect”
Does that sound familiar? It’s the classic all-or-nothing mindset. I’m either perfect or I go all out!
That mindset resulted in food choices that contributed to some pretty uncomfortably tight jeans, breakouts, mood fluctuations, feelings of guilt and resentment, defeat and the knowing that I could make up for all of it come January, when I could be ‘perfect’ again.
There’s not an ounce of that mindset left in me. Now, I enjoy the holidays, have a cookie from the Holiday market, or treat myself to something I really want, but I never go overboard.I have no regrets, nor do I feel I have to be restrictive to make up for it. I also don’t see the holiday season and its food and parties as threatening anymore. They no longer have any special appeal and as a result my food choices or workouts are no different than the rest of the year. I also don’t see any magic in January 1st. Quite the contrary. I get quite annoyed watching all those dumb weight loss adds on TV...
How did that mindset switch happen?
I had lived the binge-clean-up cycle for many years. The reality was that a period of binges took at least twice as long to clean up and I was getting very frustrated about being in that cycle. I always approached weight gain the same way: I’d choose another diet, exercise my butt off, see some results, then get discouraged for lack of progress and quit. Then, i'd get uncomfortable again and repeat.
As long as I approached weight loss with diet and exercise alone, I was stuck in that cycle. Not until I realized tI had to find something for the rest of my life, not just the next 30 days, did I finally see the light.
One big powerful lesson was that I learned to associate so much pain with my behavior its results (eat crap, get fat), that I no longer WANTED to be in this cycle of extremes. I used to think that eating cookies by the pound would make me feel better, allow me to relax and rebel a bit. I also thought I could live a little, given how hard I had worked out and dieted.
I didn’t feel better. I didn’t relax because I knew what I was doing to myself and what was in store. I knew that my rebellious side was only backfiring and kicking me in my own butt because I’d end up pounds heavier, bloated, moody, puffy, with digestive issues, inflammation, water retention and hating myself. So, all in all, the cookies weren't a treat. They were pure punishment. And, i was ready to stop punishing myself. I wanted to feel balanced, like I was thriving, relaxed around food and in tune with my body.
I soon learned to connect certain ‘comfort’ foods with immediate negative effects and the more frequently I did that, the easier it became for me to say: “No, I want something that really makes me feel good. Now and later.”
Now, when I have these foods in front of me, it’s so much easier to say no to them because I simply don’t want to feel bad anymore. I want to feel balanced and well and sugar just doesn’t do that for me. So, saying no is easy and rewarding. I'm not missing out on anything by not eating sugar. I'm must missing out on feeling like garbage.
I’m not saying I never indulge anymore, but I do it as a choice and I do it with quality foods that won’t ruin my digestion and skin for days later.
So, when you are in front of holiday indulgences the next few weeks, I want to encourage you to do just one thing. Ask yourself: Will this food make me feel good while I eat it AND tomorrow too? If the answer is yes, go for it. If not, ask: What will help me feel good and in charge?
If you overdo it, make up for it by either skipping the next meal or by cutting down on carbs by eating veggie carbs only. Add an intense workout within 12-16 hours to make use of the carb energy. Then, move on.
And, if you are short on exercise time, I want to encourage you to do this workout routine 3x a week.
It’s 14 minutes long. Short and super effective, working to reshape your entire body. No equipment needed.
Ideally do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then walk afterwards to burn the fat off that was released into your blood stream.
Let me know how you do!
I would love to hear from you!