People want to stay healthy during the holidays, so I asked the members in my FB group what small intention they could set and honor to carry them through the season.
One comment struck me in particular. A member decided that she could have See’s candy at any time of year, so she wouldn’t eat it during the holidays. Brilliant.
An article on the healthy holidays topic takes this even further, recommending that we de-mystify holiday food. That is, once we recognize that we can truly eat holiday food at any time, we can better control our choices.
But you might say, “I don’t eat pumpkin pie any other time of year.” Or peppermint bark. Or stuffing.
But you could. And that’s the point.
I recall the 1989 Christmas season, working as an accounting intern at a large insurance company. Boxes of Sees candy seemed to appear daily. And somehow, gratefully, I decided that I could eat my one or two favorites and leave the rest.
That was huge for me, because during the better part of the 1980s chocolate was one of my food groups. Really. Not kidding.
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Here are my three tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays:
- Start with the intention. And decide that it’s doable. Otherwise, if you think that it’s hard or, worse, impossible to control your behavior, you won’t make many healthy choices.
- Define what it means. Eating. Exercise. Enjoyment. Downtime. What does your picture of healthy look like?
- Plan to carry it out. I love the idea of standards. In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown talks about the decision that makes a thousand other decisions. Like my member’s decision not to eat See’s candy. Think of the brain power freed up by not having to decide each and every time you’re presented with a situation to choose health. Decide beforehand.
And be careful of the “moderation” argument, as it can keep you in the murky middle. You find yourself saying things like, “at least I didn’t eat three desserts.”
Lastly, if you experience a moment of over-indulgence, be kind to yourself. It happens. The next moment is a new opportunity to hold to honor your intention and carry out your plan. Don’t excuse the behavior (that makes you more likely to do it again), but have self-compassion.
Maybe self-compassion could be part of all our plans. And not just during the holidays. 😊