Ok, so now you are hopefully being compassionate to your busy/snappy/stressed out self. You’ve gotten sweaty and tried to clear you mind while shaking your booty. You’ve maybe bribed yourself with a moderate treat. Now, it’s time to acknowledge that you have to put some good things into your body in order to feel good enough to make it through this tough time.
I think many people have warring urges when it comes to food during stressful and/or holiday times. One urge is to eat everything that calls to them, comfort food and treats and healthy foods alike. Another is to be “strict” or “good” and “finally lose weight before New Year’s this year” or some such nonsense.
But here’s the thing, you won’t feel your best if you’re either overindulging or completely depriving yourself, or both in rapid succession. Caving in to emotional/comfort eating will only serve you in the moment you eat that food (and maybe not even then). Depriving your body of the fuel it needs to get through an intense time will only leave you feeling run down and less resilient than you need to be. And, eating whatever you want, then atoning by depriving yourself, back and forth in rapid succession, will only confuse your body and likely trigger more cravings.
So where does that leave you? With the middle path of course! Really, the only way to feel stable emotionally, fortified physically, and ready for whatever life throws at you is to nourish yourself well on a regular basis. Cleansing has its place, but not during times of stress. And indulgence is fine, just with a lot of mindfulness, not wild abandon.
What does moderation mean for me?
- Green it up. I drink green juices to alkalize my system, boost my energy, and mainline the incredible nutrients. Not in the way of a juice fast or cleanse, but simply as a booster. Also, I make 2/3 of my plate veggies at every meal if at all possible. If you’re not getting greens at every meal you’re missing an important opportunity to cram in more vitamins and minerals, keep your digestion humming and boost immunity.
- Eat regularly. Did I not say it clearly enough? Dieting is not a good idea right now. Eat enough fats, complex carbs and proteins in reasonable amounts and combinations. The more “real” food you eat, the less “crap” you’ll crave. If you’re worried about portions, see the above. Make your plate 2/3 vegetables and you’ll be fine.
- Eat real food. This should be #1 I guess. And there could be endless posts on this topic (and probably will be one day), but the basic idea is to eat unprocessed, whole foods. Things that grew in the ground? Great. Things concocted in a lab? Not so much. Shop the outer edges of the grocery store. Produce, meats eggs and fish if you eat them, all these things are “real” food. Almost anything in a box or bag in the middle aisles is likely to contain chemicals, preservatives and processed ingredients that will steal your delectability before you can say “New Year’s Eve.”
- Only indulge in treats that you really love. Those dry cookies at the office? I don’t think so. Don’t eat them just because they’re there. Bring something healthy with you and eat it when those sad little sugar cookies call to you. But Mom’s gingerbread warm out of the oven? You bettcha. That’s a treat worth splurging on. Just not everyday. And not a plate the size of your head. A reasonable portion, when it calls to you, in the company of loved ones, with no remorse.
- Drink water. The easiest thing in the world. Staying hydrated will help you digest the unusual indulgences, keep things moving, keep your energy up. It can help you tell the difference between real and fake hunger. Sometimes when you’re thirsty, it might feel like hunger, so just drink water first, wait ten minutes, then rethink the craving. Also, you’ll have a glowing complexion for those holiday parties.
- Be compassionate to yourself. This goes back to tip #1 from last week. If you slip up, it’s not the end of the world. Really, every day is a new day. Just drink a glass of lemon water—the great alkalizer—and move on.
- If all else fails, call on some help. Yes, this is shameless promotion, but a good health coach can be a great resource and safety net to both inspire you to keep it up and bolster your spirits when the going gets tough.
Perhaps this sounds a little overly simple, overly optimistic, a little extra peppy, a little easier said than done. It sounds that way to my own ears and I wrote it! But take one step, one idea at a time, and you’ll find that nourishing yourself is easier than it seems.
What’s your favorite healthy comfort food? Emphasis on healthy!!!