10 keys to keeping this holiday season healthy, indulgent, and totally free from regret.

These are notes from an instagram live video recorded on October 5th 2017 – you can access the video on instagram until Friday 3pm PST and then on Facebook. 
I’ve been the girl who pulled on a big hoodie at 3pm every Christmas day for years.  By the early afternoon I was so bloated from eating…. but I was absolutely going to keep on eating. I already felt full so I wasn’t going to notice just being more full, right?
Then in another stage of life, I was the girl who brought her own giant (but still personal sized) fully raw vegan kale salad to the Christmas dinner table with family, and touched nothing else.
Neither of those felt like the full package of wholeness, of confidence in making healthy choices, but they were both real parts of my journey.  Since those two ends of the pendulum swing I’ve gone on my own journey to find my own personal balance and confidence in navigating the sugar centric time of year. The journey has to be an individual one but I want to share 10 keys that helped me get to the place where I know that the holidays will be full of fun and some extra indulgence, but January will also come with no regret, no diet, and no intensive juice cleanse.
1) You are powerful! You’ve got this! It can be easy to think that feeling over-fed or overweight are just inevitable by-products of the holidays; that January just always is and will be a month of undoing December and resetting again. But I don’t think so!  We are no victims of the season, it’s not scary, and we can navigate it to have all the fun, and none of the regret. You get to choose and do whatever ‘doing well’ is to you.
2) Don’t buy into the lie that you’re depriving yourself! That’s not the goal! We’re actually investing in getting exactly what we want come January, so that’s not deprivation.   When you make choices that lead there, it’s not deprivation, it’s you giving yourself what you actually want! (Sometimes ‘want’ in the moment, isn’t actually ‘want’ long term and a ‘no’ in the moment is always part of a bigger ‘yes’ to something else.  When you say ‘no’, remember what you are inherently saying ‘yes’ to – Saying ‘yes’ is easier than ‘no’!!)

3) Arm yourself! For the things you want to avoid, find substitutes that are still happy and have them on hand all the time!  For me this looks like clean treats, and good quality dark chocolate.  It’s easy to say no to a junk-filled treat in the work kitchen or at a party if I know I can go home to some organic raw chocolate, or I can grab some homemade granola from my bag instead.  (I use this no sugar chocolate bark to get the satisfaction but without any sugar hit – you can add a drizzle of honey/maple if you need it a tiny bit sweet!)

4) Join in the fun! Don’t zone out from family fun, make a dish that’s healthy and add it to the table, something you will enjoy but everyone can join in on!  (I bring Paleo Pecan Pie or Pumpkin Pie) If you’re joining others for a meal, suggest you bring a dish to add then bring a seasonal side or dessert that’s delicious and clean for everyone to enjoy with you!

5) Choose where you want to indulge then do it with freedom and joy.  Know what you’re aiming for.  You need to indulge, just make it a conscious choice! Think about January and how you want to feel post holidays… then work out what a real true indulgence is and what’s just not worth the moment of fun.  Portion off what you’ve decided to eat and put it on a plate and enjoy every single mouthful!  It’s easier for me to truly enjoy every bite of something if I know it’s thought through and not just mindless – that was I know I won’t regret it or ‘feel it’ and so there’s nothing taking away from the happy moment of indulgence!

6) Eat lots of protein. For me, this is the thing that helps stop the sugar cravings, which makes it easier to truly choose my treats without succumbing to a craving moment.

7) Practice saying no. So many times we feel guilty saying no and it becomes an excuse to say yes.  99% of the time, it’s fine to say no without judging other people’s choices.  Practice that little word 😊 it’s worth it! Sometimes making a good choice makes the people around us feel guilty, but you still get to make the choice you want, and don’t make a song and dance about it, just don’t judge anyone else’s choices, and say a simple no thanks.

8) Find your reason. Take a moment and workout out how you want to feel in January and why it’s not worth totally ‘giving up’ on being healthy! What’s your reason? Then write it down!! Put it in your pocket, in your purse or on your phone! It’s way easier to be motivated if you have a great reason and you keep it close!

9) Eat often! Don’t starve yourself and ‘save’ the calories. It never really works.  It’s tempting to plan for that office party in the evening by skipping lunch or an afternoon snack so you can eat more at the party and still not over do it.  But really, who succeeds when they walk into the dessert laden room on an empty stomach with low blood sugar? Exactly.  Instead, eat small meals often, and eat before the party! Keep yourself steady and your blood sugar stable so that you’re not driven by your body and you retain the power to choose what you want to eat and where you want to say no!  If I don’t know what food will be served at a party, I always eat a small protein/fat rich snack before hand so I can not be a victim of hunger but rather make great, measured choices.

10) Celebrate yourself and have grace for yourself!! If you’re even trying you’re doing well! Don’t give up on the day because you made one choice you regret. I used to be that person – it was all or nothing, perfect self control or giving in completely.  Instead, learn to forgive yourself and pick up and move on.  A good choice is always a good choice, no matter what happened before it.  Celebrate the good choices you’re making and remind yourself… you are amazing!!