Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are
-Jean A. Brilliat Savarin
This time of the year my business usually slows down…and while many of my clients keep their healthy work, I also hear a lot of comments about how hard this month can be. Somehow we are all tangled in the idea that holiday cheer, peace and love go hand in hand with egg nog, cookies or a generous serving of gravy. I believe in the rituals of gathering around the table to celebrate, and there are very happy moments at the table, but I would like to point out the amount of emotions that get buried under the gingerbread man cookies overeaten during this month.
The reality about the Holidays, with all the beauty and joy they embody is that if you are dealing with a loss, stress, loneliness, anger, etc. this is not such a jolly time. Being an immigrant & seeing all the images of happy families reunited, I too feel a bit nostalgic. But people hardly talk about it. What if you are not 100% ready for all this “Merry” deal? I want to address this unspoken truth, not because I don’t love December, but because in my work I see there is need to talk about it. Some of you are no that merry in December, and some are eating & drinking their way through this season to cope.
There is nothing wrong with feeling grief or any other normal range of emotion. The problem is when you use the wrong tool for the job. The cookie won’t fix the break-up , the illness or the stressful hours at work, neither will the wine or anything else. So what can you do? Here are some simple but very profound ways to avoid eating your way thorough the holidays.
1. Give thanks. I know, I know, you are probably thinking really? that’s your solution? But it is the most powerful tool in the toolbox. The human heart cannot hold resentment or grief and be grateful at the same time. Practice a minute of gratitude at the beginning and end of each day. Practice it when you feel overwhelmed with uncomfortable thoughts that can trigger emotional eating…give thanks often. Practice with faith, it works.
2. Talk it out. Do not hide your feelings. Tell someone you trust about your worries, memories or whatever is bothering you. Don’t feel like you have to be all cheery all the time. Now a word of caution, do not overindulge complaining or wining. Say it once, ask for support, do something about it and let it go.
3. Indulge in other ways. Yes! why not? Indulgence may be good sometimes, it all depends on what you do. How about a massage, a facial, maybe a short getaway, a lazy day…think self care and self love. Pick something that will make you feel good even after it is over…maybe something that you can share with someone. Do not translate this into over spending – we do plenty of that around this time. It is about pampering yourself and loving your body
Notice that none of these things had to do with food. But they will help you. However, I want to remind you of the simple fact that you have a choice. Every festive food that gets put in front of you does not have to be eaten. If you are bombarded with unhealthy food this season, make sure you are not skipping meals and going hungry. Also, plan on taking cleansing days. These are days where you concentrate on drinking lots of water, broths, green juices, detoxing superfoods like wheatgrass or spirulina and fruits & veggies. Consider donating the unhealthy foods that people give you or “re-gift” them. If you are invited to a gathering, don’t go to the parties hungry, pack healthy food and drink lots of water in between those glasses of “vino”. Another amazing trick is to exercise as much as you can, get some sun and take 1,000 iu of vitamin D daily – this will help you release endorphins, to get those feel good vibes you want.
Every effort counts. This month does not have to be about excess…reframe your idea of the Holiday. What else can it mean? How can you participate in that new meaning? What activities can enrich it? Release the need to make the month of December a scapegoat. Instead, make it an opportunity to be vulnerable, honor your feelings and practice extreme self care. Bless & cherish everyone around you, even those who are far or no longer part of your life. From here, I bless and cherish you with all my heart. Stay well my darling. Have a blessed Holiday!