Christmas cakes, puddings, cookies, rich meats and more! The holidays are filled with sugar, gluten and a lot of the foods we tend to avoid throughout the year. So, if you're thinking of making changes come January 1, focus on sustainable changes in lieu of a fad diet. Here are a few ways to detox from the holidays and kick off your healthiest year yet!
1. Eat mindfully: Eating mindfully is about being present and aware while you’re eating. Slowing down, acknowledging the food you’re about to eat, being conscious of its taste, texture, smell, and understanding its role in your life. When we're not eating mindfully we tend to majorly overeat as we're totally unaware of how much and how often we're eating.
Here are a few of my go-tos for clients who want to eat more mindfully:
Know your triggers: Is it a buffet? Is it meals with family? Whatever it is, just think about what makes you nervous and throws off your eating and be prepared for it. You can learn more about mindful eating here.
Be present:Turn off all distractions and just be present. That means no phones, tvs, ipads or computers. Then take a moment to breathe and come into your body.
Say a prayer: And I don’t mean this in a religious sense, I mean it in a spiritual one. Acknowledge where your food came from, how it was prepared and how it arrived on your plate and send a note of thanks out into the universe.
Think about the role of food for you: Primarily, food if meant to nourish our cells and also provide a bit of joy. When you stop to think about that, it changes the game. If you’re looking at food as a vehicle to help you live better, you no longer want to overindulge on the foods that are going to make you feel less than your best.
Forgive and reboot: If you eat something that doesn’t serve your highest self, don’t spiral into self-loathing and hatred—remember that’s what keeps us stuck. Simply forgive yourself and promise to do better next time.
2. Address the underlying issues: If food plays a big role in your life and you're overly dependent on it it might be time to look at the why. If you eat clean, but the moment you're in another setting you're freaking out and having a fit because you can't find a gluten free protein bar, you might need to examine what's happening under there. A free-writing exercise could really go a long way. Just take out a piece of paper and start to journal about what you're afraid of or why it's such a big deal if you don't get what you want.
3. Eat clean: Focusing on eating clean and fresh foods is way better than any diet. By removing packaged and processed foods and swapping them for whole and nutritious foods you're allowing your body to rest and restore. When you choose the right foods and a healthy balance of macronutrients you'll find that you stay fuller longer and have a more balanced blood sugar. By virtue of that, you'll feel much better and be much less likely to reach for unhealthy substitutes. Check out our ebook for more tips on how to eat clean and kick off a healthy lifestyle.
4. Make it a lifestyle: Focusing less of quick-fixes and more on long-term changes will set you up for much greater success. With diets, you make see some initial results, but once you revert back to your old ways or go too heavy on a "cheat day" you'll be back at square one. The ticket is to focus on lasting and sustainable changes to your eating and wellness routine so you can always feel your best.
Tis' the season for holiday parties, giving and horrendous eating. It's true. The holidays can be hard and triggering for a lot of us and it spills over onto our plates.
Whether it's being around family or being exposed to the buffets full of sugar and fried foods, eating well and mindfully can be such a challenge this time of year.
Here are my top tips for munching mindfully this holidays season:
1. Think about your triggers: Is it a family meal where emotions run high? Is it a buffet where you can eat as much as you want? Take a moment to think about the areas where you feel out of control and where you turn to food to feel in control again. I highly recommend free-writing this exercise and see what comes to the surface.
2. Find the WHY: For some of us, the struggle is daily. For others, the holidays really digs this stuff up. It's important to go to the root of the issue. And the root is usually our families. What was the conversation around food in your home growing up? Was it frantic and frenetic? Was your mom always on a diet and really anxious at the dinner table? Was your dad a chronic over-eater who always ate of your plate so you ate quickly to compensate? Whatever it was, journal it out. Think back to the FEELING that is the root of your disconnected relationship to food. What are you covering up? What are you trying not to feel?
3. Call it by it's name and then let it go: Once you know what the feeling is that you're trying to cover up, call it by it's name. If it's anxiety, call it that. If it's sadness, call it that. But don't make yourself feel guilty about. The feeling of guilt also keeps us stuck and in our unhealthy patterns because the ego gets a moment in the spotlight.
4. Come out of your mind and into your body: If you find yourself super triggered and reaching for a bag of the most unhealthy thing you can find, do a quick breathing exercise. One of my favorites is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise or breath of fire. You can find more breathing exercises here. Clients do this at work all the time. If they have a challenging meeting or a tough conversation with their boss that usually ends in a binge, breathing can be a great way to bring yourself out of your triggered mind and back to your body.
5. When approaching each meal, express your gratitude: Instead of diving in head first and eating without thinking, take a moment to consider your food, where it came from and how grateful you are to eat it. If you want you can even say a quick prayer. Some of my clients say prayer like "Thank you for this food. May it nourish my cells and my soul." Super simple and basic but reminds you of the role of food in your life.
6. Forgive yourself and try again: If you catch yourself mid-binge, that's no biggie. It's actually a big win that you actually caught yourself! But it's super important not to punish yourself and to quickly get yourself out of shame and guilt and just try to do better next time. Be kind to yourself and simply try again. The best way to change a behavior is to be aware of it and practice the change.