It's no wonder we get to January and we find ourselves thicker around the waist and thinner in our wallets. Add to that, feelings of depression, guilt and exhaustion. The question is why do we stress ourselves out over the holidays? I think it really is a simply reason, we have these ideas around what makes the perfect holiday and we want to create those images. We want to show people we love them so we want to purchase the best gifts, create the most spectacular dinners and have our houses decorated in such a way that everyone would be in awe at our work.
Over the past few years I have learned that simple is better. Now, I do deck my house out, but it's a family affair. We put on music, laugh, have fun and the fact that we are doing it together adds to the reason why this season is special to us. We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner together, but again it was a family affair. Everyone created a dish so that I was not exhausted when it was all over.
So what does any of this have to do with weight loss, or healthy living you might ask? I would say a lot. I have realized that weight issues stem largely from behavioral and emotional issues. If we have accustomed ourselves to eating a lot during the holidays, we will do just that. If we are use to eating because we are stressed, we can find ourselves doing so as we rush around during this time of year with so many parties, gifts to get, events to attend, and so forth. The holidays while they should be about family has really turned into a time of where we are busy and stressed, two things that can really add to eating poorly and causing us to hold onto weight. So I want to suggest a few ideas for you to think about as you celebrate the holidays.
One of the first tips I would give any one is, if you haven't started making healthy changes, this really isn't the season to try, there will be too many temptations for you to try starting at this point. You can however be mindful of what you eat, how often and if possible try to limit your portions. But other than that, I would not try to start over the holidays. You would only be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Even though I suggest you don't start at this point, you can begin to set your mindset up for the new year and new changes you will be making. Don't use the fact that it is the holiday to splurge (over eat or over spend). Also my greatest suggestion is "STOP". Yes I said stop. Stop putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. You don't have to do everything by yourself. And if you are, maybe you need to re-evaluate the things you are doing. I understand some of you may not have family to help because of busy schedules or maybe your children are too young. However, I still think we need to evaluate what we are doing to make sure that while we are making the holidays special for others, we don't kill ourselves doing it! Look at creative ways to make family memories that are not always centered on eating or spending money. My suggestion is take in some of the free light events in your town, or go see the Christmas tree displays at some of the museums. Whatever you do, make this a time when you do slow down some, be intentional in what you do and how you do it. You want to get to the new year but with a more peaceful spirit.
Weight Watchers article gives 16 tips on having a healthy holiday. One of the tips aligns itself to what I wrote above, don't try to start now getting in shape but don't use the holidays as a reason to splurge either!
Again, I recommend that you really try to come up with some healthy ways to celebrate the season. What I would like to do during the holidays is go with my kids to an indoor rock climbing, sky diving and zip line location. My eldest daughter found a place and that is one of our Christmas presents to our family. I am learning that Christmas doesn't have to be a lot of gifts under the tree that may go unused by January, but it is more about spending some time and sharing with each other, now that's priceless and my wallet thanks me in January when it comes time to pay for all the stuff under the tree. Does this mean I won't get my kids things for Christmas, no, but I am learning it is okay if I don't get them tons of things. And I teach them a valuable lesson as well, I am teaching them the importance of valuing our family, not the things we can give to each other material wise, but the love and support we have for each other.
Maybe if you can't buy gifts for everyone or afford to splurge to spend the money to make dinner for everyone, have a potluck Christmas Eve party, and save Christmas just for your immediate family. Or a dessert party. I did that one year. I invited friends over and offered cookies and fresh baked desserts and hot chocolate. It was just enough for us to have something sweet, but not feel guilty for over eating. In the Weight Watcher's article the suggest you challenge others to see if they can bring healthy desserts.
The key is, find creative ways to enjoy the holidays without creating a burden for your pocket or that will cause you to over eat. I know it's hard because we do spend so much time around food. But let's get creative and come up with other ideas that don't have food as the central theme, even though it might be a part, it isn't the main focus. Hot chocolate and game night. Family pick a movie night. Have someone pick a movie and everyone watches together. Girl friend pamper pajama party. Get your nails done, and just laugh and have fun. Let's make memories, not debt or a need for larger clothes. Until next time, W.I.N. in health!