Staying healthy and vital through the holidays! (Part 2 of Your Best Holiday Season Yet)
Posted Dec 17 2009 6:22am
Well it's just over one week until Christmas. Got holiday parties and family gatherings galore going on? Not sure how you are going to get through the season feeling healthy, energetic and full of natural joy and zest for life? Hopefully this post will give you some food for thought so that you have your best (and healthiest) holiday season yet.
I recently posted some ways you can better emotionally and mentally cope with the holiday season, and even (gasp!) enjoy it. If you haven't read those tips yet, you can do so here. I definitely recommend having a good peruse through them as while the next tips are going to make your life a lot easier and keep your health and diet in a place you are comfortable with, it is the way you choose to set yourself up mentally and emotionally that will really dictate how happy, calm and relaxing your holiday season will be.
So, let's get on with the show. Put these steps in place and I promise you will be giving yourself the best opportunity to glide through your holiday season looking and feeling happy, calm and with plenty of energy.
Set Your Game Plan
We all know just how important it is to have a game plan for how to manage the holiday season so that you are at peace with your food choices. Let's not also forget a plan for your movement routine or any other lifestyle practice you typically include each week to feel your best. For me that means not only am I managing my dietary intake with plenty of hydrating mostly green vegetable juice and a very high raw diet of mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, but also including movement 5-6 days per week (this does not have to be hardcore exercise - if you haven't read my recent blog post on this, I suggest you check it out here), meditation and/or yoga a few times each week, regular colon cleansing and getting enough sleep. Your list may be very different but either way, first up, I suggest you make a list of your "non negotiables" for you to feel well and happy. Just to be extra clear, I don't mean make a list of your goals, only what you know you need to include to feel good. While there is always some exceptions, for most people this is not the time of year to be putting added pressure on yourself to do more than normal, reach new goals or to feed any perfectionist qualities - you know who you are! This is instead the time to objectively stand back and look at what routines and food choices make you feel fantastic and only add to your daily life experience, not drain you or take more of your time and energy than you have. You don't even have to keep things at the level you are used to. So for me, for example, typically I include movement 5-6 days per week, but over the holidays I would still be happy if I only got to move four times per week, especially with all the running around I'll be doing anyway. I am also happy to consume a little more cooked clean foods than normal, if I feel the urge. In fact, it is often rare that I follow through with these things, but if I needed to I know they are options for me and I would still feel great about my choices.
Once you have created your "absolute minimum" list, consider what you need to do now to make sure these things happen. Are you going away for the holidays and need to take frozen juices and a yoga mat? Or do you need to do some online research to find local juice bars and cafes with salad and a safe park you can walk in? Do you need to call ahead to friends, family or restaurants to let them know the way you eat and tell them that you will manage your own meals? Are you staying at home but need to schedule in the times to do your absolute minimum activity in advance because you know how busy you will be? Do you need to make a grocery shopping list and buy in advance hard to get items so you have yummy and healthy food choices ready for you at a moment's notice? Do you need to book in or seek out a colon hydro-therapist to keep or consider how else you can keep your bowels moving over the season of higher and heavier food intake? Do you need to buy or download a yoga or workout DVD to do at home because classes are sporadic and money is tight? Do you need to add a guided meditation to your MP3 so you can listen to it while on plane, bus or train rides and find your moment of peace? There are so many ways you can make sure your non negotiables are still a big part of your life over the next few weeks. The key is to actually make your list and then do the preparation!
Always take your own food or ensure you can get what you need in advance
This one is pretty self explanatory but vital to how good you will feel. We all know just how much poor food choices can severely drain our energy and mood. This is definitely not what we want to happen in a time that is often already fraught with challenging personal relationships and social settings. However, if it's your absolute minimum to just enjoy your Christmas day, for instance, and eat whatever food it is you want, then that's fine. As long as that is what you have set out in your game plan. For most people, that is the only way they would actually enjoy the eating experience. If it's not pre-planned it is much more likely you will just feel guilty, sick and self-disgust and who wants to feel like that? (By the way, even if you do end up doing this, it's still up to you if you feel this way. You can make the choice to accept what's in the past and move on NOW, or dwell on it for hours, days, or longer and just make yourself feel more awful - something to bare in mind).
I always prefer to take my own food as I like extremely fresh food and with the flavours I like. So I'm fussy, is that a big deal? Who wants to eat food they don't enjoy? Plus, err...you do know you're reading an article from a mostly raw, mostly vegan, mostly organic eater, don't you? I'm sure that would be considered fussy in itself :). If you don't want to take your own food, I do still recommend you at least take one dish you can share with others that you will enjoy too. At least then, if there really isn't anything else, you have one delicious option. Alternatively you can call ahead to the host/ess or restaurant to ensure there will be food choices for you. Whatever you decide to do, make sure there IS food for you. I can imagine you might be sporting a rather glum face if you get to a holiday party and as everyone enjoys their feast of roasted meats, fried vegetables and sugar and flour heavy desserts, as you sip your non-filtered warm tap water - unless, of course, this is your absolute minimum.
Just get straight back into the game So you overdid it or you ate foods you don't feel good about. So you didn't move or exercise at all for a couple of weeks. So you totally ditched your mediation proactice and barely remember what a yoga mat looks like. Hell, you can't even remember the last time your bowels moved! (Ok, ideally you really don't want to be experiencing this last one but you get the picture). So what now?? Do you promise yourself you'll not eat at all for the next two days until your body drops the extra kilo you put on? Do you tell yourself you'll work out for two hours every day for the next two weeks to "make up for it"? How about this - just get straight back in the game! I.e. your normal routine. So get back into your exercise four times per week, get back into your health food choices that feel good for you and not resrcitive, start your meditation practice again and book in for your next colonic. The best strategy, and by far the most realistic, comfortable and really, the quickest, way to start feeling your normal energy and vitality again is to just re-commence your normal routine, rather than feeding disordered thinking with a binge/purge or binge/restrict mentality. It makes for much healthier mind, soul and body and a hell of a lot more happiness! It won't be long before your feeling as good as new again I assure you! In fact, it will be a lot quicker than if you set yourself up for guilt and self punishment for another few days or weeks.
Allow for some compromise This has been partly covered in the other points but it's worth including again. While it is important to keep up you absolute minimum level of practices that make you feel happy and well, you also need to be a little less rigid with yourself than you normally might be. A big factor in your happiness over the holidays, and in life even, is flexibility. Unfortunately, things aren't always going to go your way or be as perfect as you like them. Accept this and allow yourself to change with the situations you are in. If you keep an open mind and prepare yourself to adapt as necessary (both physically and mentally), you will have a much more enjoyable holiday experience.
Want to use this article in your publication or on your website? You can, provided you include the following information with the article. (c) Copyright Casey Lorraine Thomas 2009 Casey Thomas, Raw Lifestyle Coach and Detox Counsellor, publishes "Bloom Time" - a free monthly eZine for health and energy-seekers and raw food lovers around the globe. If you're ready to look and feel amazing and awaken your Va-Va-VOOM, get your FREE report, tips and guidance now at http://www.CaseyLorraine.com