When I was young, I remember Mum putting huuuuuuge effort into Christmas. Cooking up a feast to be consumed over the course of a few days, adding in her Caribbean twist. Walk into the lounge and the Christmas tree was full to overflowing with presents. Did we really need all this stuff? Behind Mum’s smile was strain, she was feeling the stress of Christmas and I knew as a child it wasn’t fun for her.
We’d feast on this food for days, put chocolate after chocolate into our mouths, without really paying any attention to whether we wanted it or not; ending up in a food-coma on the sofa watching ‘Enders and The Royal Variety show. Trudging upstairs feeling bloated and yuck for it to begin another day.
Fast-forward a good few years and I take stock of my simplistic celebrations, stripped back. I’ve exchanged no presents; but instead, exchanged conversation and love with close friends. My partner and I are not exchanging gifts and on the flight from Melbourne to NZ; I told him I don’t need anything for Christmas, because I have his love and support each day, and it’s true. My heart is content because I have love all around me.
It’s just another day – it’s becoming more simplistic and this can only be a good thing.
Because I hear from women that they dread Christmas; they’re frazzled, they put on the brave face, lipstick immaculate and the front that shows they have it completely together. But really, they're close to breaking point, when all they want is to relax and strip it all back but the expectation is to put on a feast, make sure glasses are full and the extended family. So much stress!
And this plays out in the mountains of food being consumed to pacify this feeling of the elastic band being stretched so far that it’s about to snap.
And you guessed it, this mountain of food; Christmas cake, mince pies and brandy butter, the ridiculously massive variety box of chocolates, never-ending cheese and crackers washed down with a glass or 3 of red…
Only to go to bed with a bloated stomach and guilt weighing down heavily. Will it be repeated the next day? Or will full blown restriction happen in their mind, meticulously planning each bite and sip only to fail at the next bite in this miserable cycle.
Ladies, it doesn’t have to be like this.
I have a few tips to help you ease into Christmas as you step away from the buttons popping on your jeans and more importantly, to help you keep stress and over-eating at bay:
1. How do you want to feel? Set your Intentions.
How do you want to feel over Christmas? How do you want to wake up each morning? Is it energized, happy, content, bloat free? Delve further and ask why it’s important to you to honour how you want to feel. What is your intention for the way your family will interact over the holidays? You may not be able to control how the kids act or the life-long habits of your partner, but you do have a choice in how to react – based on your intentions of how you want to feel.
Write out how Christmas day will look, what you’ll wear, how you’re going to go through your day. A favourite of mine is with ease and flow; when I bring this to the forefront of my mind, setting my mantra for the day, it just feels easier.
Your turn – get out a journal and write down how your ideal day looks and feels and what you’ll honour to feel the way you want to this silly season.
I love these and they became an absolute game changer in my life. What are the essential non-negotiables you'll put in place to set you up for Vitality to breeze through your day?
When I encourage my busy clients whose routines start at 5:30am, I encourage them to wake 15 minutes earlier. Pure, unadulterated 15 minutes just for them: a cup of herbal tea in their favourite china, to write down their Intentions, a 10 minute Yoga sequence or HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) sequence, a guided meditation, create a mantra for the day based on how they feel in the moment. They are amazed at how their day changes as they become in control, as opposed to feeling out of control. When they are in control, they also become in control of their eating; no binges, no restriction, no guilt.
Right now, right down 3 Non-Negotiables that you will honour yourself with from tomorrow morning.
3. Stay present and savour each deeeeeelish bite!
Staying in the moment with each bite of food you take, starting with the choices of what you feel like eating, will help you eat the right amount of exactly what you feel like to keep over-eating at bay. You won’t run out, there’ll be plenty more if you feel like having some more later and imagine the tasty leftovers the next day! Mindlessly eating just because it’s in front of you is a recipe for disaster.
Listen to your body, it’ll tell you when it’s getting full and just like you save room for dessert, notice when that room is almost full with your favourite Christmas food and just because it’s once a year, it does not mean you can go for it! You know how you’re going to end up feeling. So to break the cycle means to stay present so you’re not auto-piloting fork to mouth feeling totally sick, bloated and guilty.
These 3 elements have helped so many of my clients regain the power they’ve given to food as they feel calm and in control and from there, they become empowered in making the right choices for themselves.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love my 3 Vital Elements To Eating Well.
Have an amazing Christmas, ladies.
Much love + Vitality,