Holiday Temptations: It Doesn’t Have To Be A Free-For-All
Weight loss is the most common New Year’s resolution, and it’s become a running national joke. The reason there’s so much press on this particular failed New Year’s resolution is because of the sheer number of people who delude themselves year after year. They allow themselves to binge their way through the holiday season, while making promises to themselves that they’ll lose the weight they’ve gained after the New Year. This plan always fails, and the cycle continues every year with people weighing more and more and more. Because this pattern is socially acceptable, people feel comfy letting it happen—but hating themselves at the same time. This lifestyle choice is a slippery slope to accelerated aging, and the next stop is “assisted living,” (i.e. waiting to die), followed by a cold impersonal hospital death. Not very festive!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little education and a little will, you can change your holiday habits and change your life forever.
Holiday Temptation Blasters
- Recognize what happens to you physically/emotionally when you overeat
- Set your intention
- Reprogram your brain to work for you
- Eat well before you go to a party
- Learn to navigate holiday party food
- Sleep enough to keep your “munchie” hormone from taking over
Recognize what happens to you physically/emotionally when you overeat
Face it. It’s not even fun to stuff yourself. It doesn’t feel good. The physical and emotional sensations of overeating are not much different than what you feel when you’re hung over. Especially if you eat factory produced food filled with mineral stripped salt, refined white flour, and white sugar, corn sugar, or high fructose corn syrup. Your liver is going to be toxic and you’re going to feel it. Your brain is going to be depleted of happy neurotransmitters, so you’re not going to be very jolly. Instead you’ll wake up groggy, headachy, bloated, constipated, and toxic. You’ll feel emotions of shame, guilt, and self-loathing. It’s not a nice or productive way to start, or go through the day.
Set your intention
Feeling that bad physically is bad for your self-esteem. Self-esteem plays a huge role in programming your brain. I’m an advocate of psyching yourself up. I’ve been doing it forever and it works. If you tell yourself I’m not going to overeat tomorrow at whatever party, you won’t do it. You have to set your intention. Intention is a very powerful thing. It’s important to visualize your eating and behavior during the holidays, but also where you want to be six months from now, a year from now, and for the rest of your life. The Sanskrit word drishti means “gazing point.” In yoga, if you gaze at the appropriate drishti you’ll eventually experience the full expression of the pose. The same is true for life. If you establish your drishti—your gazing point at where you want to go—you’ll eventually experience the full expression of your life. Recognize that the holidays are just one season of the year, not a “special” time that you can eat and drink with impunity. Then set a new gazing point for a healthier way of being.
Reprogram your brain to work for you
If you think about the alert systems our government has in place now compared to prior to the 911 attacks, it’s much like your brain before and after prolonged stress. Because of the plasticity of the brain, the more you use the areas of your brain that respond to stress, the more dominant those areas are going to become. It’s like working a muscle. Thinking negative thoughts about your weight, your appearance, if you worked out enough or not programs your amygdala the primitive part of your brain, which processes emotion, and reinforces those negative behaviors.
Thinking positive thoughts trains your amydala so that it supports you as you behave in more positive ways—including eating. Think to yourself that you’re proud of yourself, that you like yourself, that you’re special and worthy. Do it frequently throughout the day. If you blow it at a party, don’t beat yourself up. Talk to yourself like you would any other victim of a bad experience. Be kind and gentle. It takes time to undo bad programming. So be patient and persist. Our two-month holiday season is a long time of training to the brain. You can use this time to create a healthier brain and a healthier way of being.
You can listen to me talk about this subject my interview page on nancydeville.com.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of this informative article on making the correct lifestyle choice to control your weight loss throughout all the holiday temptations!