Its Holiday Time!
That holly jolly time of year is just around the corner. At work, break room tables offer trays of cookies, candies and other high calorie treats. At home, you may be baking cookies. In between, you are running ragged going to holiday events, school activities and on shopping excursions. It often means more fast food meals on the go. If you’re like most of us, you’ve already managed to put on some extra holiday weight before you even sit down to Thanksgiving dinner.
While some holiday traditions deserve to be treasured, gaining weight and making yourself uncomfortable each year do not. Extra fat makes feels unattractive. Fast foods stress your immune system as well as your digestive tract. You’ll be much more able to enjoy all those special times if you eat healthy and maintain healthy energy levels.
LESS can be more
Instead of attempting a strict, complicated diet plan for the holidays, try to establish some easy eating habits. Professional leadership coach, Leslie Hamilton, who lives in New Zealand but coaches clients around the world, developed such a plan for herself and her overweight clients based on such an approach. LESS: Lifetime Eating for Slimness and Success consists of an intense 30-day coaching program with these five basic eating tools:
- I eat only when I am hungry
- I eat when calm, relaxed and sitting down.
- I focus on my food when I eat.
- I eat and drink only the foods and beverages my body loves.
- For weight loss, I eat only until I am half full.
Taking time to relax and enjoy food better satisfies the physical appetite. Eating on the run just doesn’t “feel” like eating a meal… so you eat again and again. Eating the foods your body loves has two interpretations. First, eat what you enjoy eating. And second, qualify that by choosing healthy alternatives. When you’re offered a decadent dessert, don’t say “no.” Eat less of it. One healthy bite may be enough to satisfy your craving. Notice when you get to end of a huge portion of something delicious, maybe you’re no longer tasting it.
Another drawback to holiday eating is tummy trouble. Overeating, trigger foods and food additives can result in uncomfortable acid reflux and irritable bowel flare-ups. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is reaching epidemic proportions as is Acid Reflux Disease. One in ten American adults has been professionally diagnosed with reflux. Even more are suffering and self-treating. Because 95% of the body’s serotonin is made in the GI tract, IBS can also lead to anxiety and depression. Artificial sweeteners, a low-fiber diet and insufficient liquids can also cause IBS-like symptoms.
As far as reflux, stomach acid isn’t always a bad thing. A car battery can’t function without acid. Your digestive system can’t either. The stomach acid breaks down foods and releases essential nutrients. Reducing stomach acid leaves the stomach at the mercy of germs and bacteria that cause food poisoning and other maladies.
Both reflux and IBS react badly to processed foods, fast foods and overeating. Both respond positively to well balanced, healthy, organic diet that includes:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Natural fats
- Wild fish
- Antibiotic/hormone-free meat and poultry
- Naturally calcium-rich foods.
Avoid synthetic fats, salty foods and processed and additive-rich foods. Drink plenty of filtered water. Studies have shown antioxidants, from fresh fruits to vegetables, do more to heal acid reflux disease than prescription medications.
Presents and Presence
What gift would you like to receive this upcoming holiday season? How about more time? Well, no one can add more hours to a day but you can make them stretch by living them with less stress. Exercise, meditation or prayer and spending time outdoors can all help to relieve stress. So can staying in the present. Check your thoughts—are you always thinking of the thing you need to do next, the place you need to be next? Focusing on the future—whether ten minutes, ten days or ten years from now multiplies stress. Enjoy the moment. Now is really the only time you have.