And so it begins. The eating season. Even though every year I come to this point of the season promising myself I won’t gain weight this time, I still end up gaining weight! It’s worrisome, because this kind of weight gain seems small and innocuous enough, but, in reality, research has shown that it’s this same weight that we keep on for the whole next year…only to add 2 or 3 more pounds next holiday season! Holiday weight gain is not nearly as innocent as we want to think it is. Think about gaining 2 or 3 pounds every holiday season for a decade, added to other weight gain from aging or lack of exercise, and we can easily find ourselves 30-40 pounds overweight in 10 years. Easily.
This year, I started to really think about what I wanted to do differently this time. (Because doing the same thing as the last 10 years is just insane!) And, over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve realized it’s all about mindfulness and awareness. I need to stay conscious of the fact that holidays can be stressful (mostly due to my own unrealistic expectations) and that food and alcohol are easy go-to’s when stress is high. Just being aware of this first piece can help me be present with my choices, and hopefully improve my choices.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Our minds and appetites happily repeat the same patterns year after year, as it’s what we know and feel comfortable with. Changing things may mean feeling mildly uncomfortable. Only 1 piece of pie! Waahhhh. Woe is me.
But, it can be done if you build in external structures (supports) to keep you mindful of your goals and desires for the long term. Small notes to yourself can be placed inconspicuously around the house to remind you of your self-promise. The candy and desserts can be placed out of sight to prevent post dinner gorging. Leftovers can be sent home with guests, leaving just enough for you and your family to have 1 remaining treat.
On a deeper level, setting a mindful intention at the start of the day can keep you focused as well. Take a few minutes of quiet time before all hell breaks loose to breathe, calm yourself and make a conscious choice to do what is right for you that day. Whatever it may be- to eat more, or not, to indulge in treats or abstain- if it is done mindfully, it is the right choice. Write down your intention if you wish. Keep it with you, or place it where it can serve as a gentle reminder through out the day to stay conscious, to keep your self-commitment. Imagine what it would be like to gain no weight this holiday! Keep that memory close to you and act accordingly.