Rose Long is a Liverpool based Health Coach and Absolute Yoga practitioner. Rose has very kindly agreed to write a few guest articles for our studio in the area of health, well being and nutrition. Research suggests that the food you eat is approximately 85% responsible for factors such as body weight and overall health. Accordingly, read on: what Rose has to say is very interesting…
How many of us start planning for a healthy, happy Christmas, all good intentions and bright ideas, only to find ourselves face down in temptation firing off excuses as soon as the festivities hit? Whether you’re going to be burning the candle at both ends, at home with the family, or heading off on holiday, chances are you’re hoping to make it through the festivities without tipping into excess and suffering the consequences.
There’s no denying that Christmas is designed to tempt us into unhealthy habits… There is rich food EVERYWHERE and in quantities that make it seem totally reasonable to eat a box of Celebrations in one sitting, and reach for the Pringles as soon as they’re done. On top of that we spend time with our families, who press our buttons and instantly we revert to being moody teenagers. Another box of Celebrations. Most years I’ve crawled into the New Year feeling like a sick rat, wanting to hibernate until Spring.
So what’s the solution? Well, start by giving yourself a break. If we believe the Christmas hype we’re going to end up miserable, because the reality is we simply can’t live up to the perfect picture of family togetherness, luxurious indulgence, awe-inspiring parties, and radiantly presented beauty that greets us in every advert at every turn. Just like everyday life, the holidays will have their magic, and they will also have their mess. Geneen Roth says, ‘Holidays can be illuminated, tender, horrible, painful, fragile, glorious times because they exaggerate our longings, our love, our generosity and our selfishness.’. So what can we do to look after ourselves in the midst of all this messy good cheer?
The first step is giving up all those rules and restrictions about what you can and can’t eat. When we label food and drink ‘bad’ we just fuel the temptation and it becomes impossible to resist. I’ve tried everything – ‘I’m only going to eat one mince pie a day’. Sounds simple enough, until I’ve eaten the one pie and suddenly that second mince pie looks like the most delicious, tasty, wondrous pie ever made. Will power can only last so long, and when it snaps, it’s messy!
Everything we eat and drink has an impact on us, but food and drink is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, it just has consequences, which can make us feel ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Often we can be so in love with the taste of something, we forget that it makes us feel like crap half an hour after eating it. Eat with awareness, not rules. Too many of us fall into the diet trap over Christmas – restricting the things we love and then hating ourselves for wanting them.
Since I’ve stopped punishing myself with rules, Christmas has become much easier. Rather than focusing on what I can’t have, I allow myself to have what I want. Sounds dangerous, but I also add in some healthy stuff to keep the balance. That’s the key, add in some simple steps every day that support your health. If you’re taking care of yourself in small ways, you’ll be more mindful of your choices, and that makes it easier to keep the balance between enjoyment and excess.
Here are six simple suggestions. Try them out this Christmas and you need never be that sick rat and believe me, life is easier that way!
– let a friend know what you’re committed to and stay in touch with them, especially if you’re struggling.
– stay hydrated. The quickest way of feeling terrible is to get dehydrated, and it’s easy at this time of year. Start each day drinking at least a pint of water and stay topped up during the day.
– support your digestive system. Add in raw veggies each day to increase digestive enzymes, they help your system deal with all that rich food.
– look after your liver. Drink green tea. Eat at least one liver loving food a day: brussels sprouts, grapefruit, beets and carrots, leafy greens, garlic, apples, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower. Take milk thistle.
– keep active. Exercise, it works wonders.
– have time out. Time to relax, be quiet, breathe. In yoga this is called the fifth limb, Pratyahara, and it supports our growth and appreciation of life. Listen to what you need, reflect on what is important to you and your inner growth, observe where you are with cravings and habits that are holding you back. Read something inspiring, take a hot bath with oils, do a vision board for 2015, write, sleep. Do the things that nourish and nurture you from the inside out.
Be committed to looking after yourself this Christmas and have a perfectly messy, wonderfully imperfect holiday!