Holiday Survival

By now you’ve probably sampled more than a few Christmas cookies.  Stress and sleep deprivation have you grabbing for chocolate, and party hosts have been cajoling you into seconds on wine and cheese.

On top of that, there’s no time (nor energy) for exercise.

Of course your jeans are tight!

If you’re going to make it into the new year with your sanity, and liver, intact and without resorting to stretch pants, you need a strategy.  Now.

How do we keep from feeling deprived while passing up those festive treats?  …. or the mulled wine?…..  the fudge? …. another glass of bubbly?   You need more than behavior mod.

Here are 7 powerful strategies to help at holiday time:

1. Set an intention.  Before the party, get clear on what you need and what you don’t. Examples: “I am having one glass of wine, no dessert.”  Or how about:  “No bread, two bites of dessert.”  Get clear ahead of time what you can commit to.  Then SEE it happening in your mind; imagine yourself smiling, as you say “no thank you” to the bread basket or dessert. You’ll be amazed at how powerful this is.

2. Eat protein. All the willpower in the world can’t overcome a lack of protein. Protein stimulates brain chemicals that keep you satisfied, focused and cheery.  Reach for another helping of eggs, smoked salmon, deli meat, Gouda or lamb stew to keep yourself off the sweets.  Remember, protein also boosts metabolism.

3. Seek out greens. broccoli, kale, collards and other greens contain flavor compounds that make sweets, especially chocolate, less appealing. The rich magnesium content of greens also balances blood sugar and boosts energy. Cook your greens for best results.

4. Don’t skip meals.  When real hunger sets in, your appetite gains a kind of momentum. Think speeding train – you can’t stop it.  Eat three meals, each with plenty of protein and good fats. If you need to, eat a handful of nuts or a few slices of cheese in between.

5. Eat more fat.  Studies show diets rich in good fats reduce anxiety and depression, the two moods that make us think about food. Fat slows food emptying from the stomach, thus providing satiety for longer.  Worried you’ll gain weight? Fats that contain medium chain triglycerides, including butter and coconut oil stimulate thyroid and help burn fat!

6. Sip broth.  Studies show a savory broth such as chicken soup or Miso can reduce appetite, enabling you to cut back at meals. Ayurvedic traditions tell us hot liquids help melt fat.

7. Sleep 8 hours. Lack of sleep stimulates stomach levels of ghrelin, a chemical that spurs appetite, especially for sweets.  It also suppresses blood levels of leptin, a protein that signals you to stop eating.  This double-edged chemical change will make chocolate, sugar cookies and second helpings more irresistible than ever.

Need help?  Call me at 541-246-0386 or email me.     I will walk you through eating strategies, supplements and energy-based modalities to boost your mood,  energy and metabolism while keeping you on track, without deprivation.  


Holiday Survival — 4 Comments

  1. I think this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the idea of moderation to your girls as well as the concept of a special treat. The freezer is a good spot to keep those cookies so they don’t have to get gobbled up so quickly. Would it work to offer them one cookie after lunch OR dinner every other day or every few days until they are gone? Sit down with them and encourage them to savor their treat slowly. Explain why we don’t eat sugar every day. Point out how addictive they can be. Next year, politely suggest to their auntie that she give them something that doesn’t involve sugar. How about special art supplies?

  2. Linda, I love the piece above on setting intention…..that is such a great way to be mindful when there is so much delicious foods offered. I rarely keep sweets in my house b/c they do not last long with me, but what strategy (for mom:) would you recommend when there is that one ‘sweet treat’ that my girls received from their auntie (a special box of holiday cookies) that they do enjoy and that I do let them indulge in once in awhile??

    • It gets easier Patricia! Keep up the protein and it will get even easier. There’s always another choice – lightly roasted nuts; pastrami and cheese; cup of soup…

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