I know that this is quite a big one for many people (including myself a few years back!) We get to December every year, and a week before Christmas we start to freak out. Why? Because we have been SO good all year with our health and fitness goals, then we get to Christmas and EEK! The food starts. Yummy, rich, sweet food.
Christmas is meant to be a joyful, loving and giving time of the year where we can spend more time with our loved ones, enjoy yummy food and rejuvenate, ready to take on the next year! However this wasn’t always the case for me, and I know for a lot of you, this time of the year is not something you look forward to either. Instead, it just leaves you feeling a whole lot of angst and overwhelm. Our MEAN GIRL kicks in, and we begin thinking, all of that hard work and weight I have lost is just going to go all back on again!
I am going to be brutally honest with you here…I am all about moderation and I do not believe we have to be good 100% of the time! So I am not about to say, just keep eating clean over Christmas, it is possible if you really want to, blah blah blah. That is no way to live. Life is too short and I am all about the 80 – 20 rule. If you want to, and choose to eat clean over Christmas, because it is something that you want for yourself, and you are being authentic and real with yourself, then go for it. But if you can feel a sense of ‘resistance’ around it (even the slightest), then you aren’t being true to you, and trying to eat clean won’t make you happy. Trust me girlfriend. I know. I have tired it, and it doesn’t work.
So with that being said, here is the deal when it comes to Christmas.
How to stay mentally in a good place
+ Understand the facts – You cannot put on weight (fat) overnight from one or even two days of unhealthy eating. That’s right! Our bodies cannot produce fat that quickly. So that heavy, bloated, yucky, ‘fat’ feeling you experience after the Christmas indulge is just fluid. Because we eat more of the high sodium/sugar based foods over Christmas, we will always hold more fluid (water retention) Yes, you may go up on the scales, yes you may feel ‘puffy’ But I can promise you it is not fat.
+ Acceptance – It is OK that you won’t make it to the gym over Christmas. It is OK that you want to treat yourself to some of your favourite foods. So now you need to accept that and take the pressure of yourself. Added stress will only increase your cortisol (aka the stress hormone) and that my darling WILL put on weight. (You have heard it before and I will say it again, everything in moderation) As I mentioned before, you will not put on weight just because you have treated yourself for a few days, or because you have had to miss out on a couple of gym sessions. Your muscle memory will kick straight back in when you go back, don’t worry. Just accept both situations and know it is OK. In fact the break from the gym will do you some good!
+ Be mindful – You don’t have to eat everything in sight either! And this I believe is half the problem. Just because it is Christmas, doesn’t mean you have to eat everything that is put in front of you to the point you go overboard and feel sick. Practice actually being mindful and eating mindfully. This means when you go to eat something ask yourself, am I really hungry, or do I REALLY feel like this? Or am I just eating it because I want to get as much as I can in because it is Christmas and this doesn’t happen every day!? This is not being mindful. When you do sit to eat a meal, eat slowly, break often, really taste the food, smell the food, and get involved in conversations at the table. Don’t put so much focus on food. That leads on to my next point..
+ Take the focus off food – Get involved in conversations more, laugh more, get outside more. Don’t put so much of your energy into what food is there to eat, what can I eat? What can’t I eat? How much can I eat? Don’t consume your day with thoughts of food. There is so much more to Christmas then food.
+Let go of control – Trying to have total control over every situation is not going to happen and it will only stress you out. Again, it goes back to just accepting what is. If you feel like treating yourself then go for it! If you can go with out, great! Listen to your body it will tell you what it really wants. But to really listen, YOU have to let go of the control. You cannot control what others make as a food choice if you are visiting, so just enjoy it while you are there.
+ Just HAVE FUN! – I cannot say this enough. Do not spend your Christmas obsessing over food and food choices or stressing because you can’t get to the gym. This time is precious and only comes once a year. LAUGH more, SMILE more, LIVE more. Be grateful that you are having this time with loved ones. If you don’t allow yourself to have fun, you will only be left miserable and isolated while your loved ones enjoy the day.
+ Get straight back in to your daily grind – After you have enjoyed yourself for a few days just get straight back in to it! Your body will actually thank you for the break from the gym too. So when it is all over, just get back to the gym and into eating clean again, and within a few days you will start to feel like you again. Remember it is just excess fluid that is making you feel crappy.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year my friends! Implement these things over the Christmas and New Year, and I promise you will make it much more enjoyable for yourself firstly, and for others around you too!
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