Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Paradigm Holiday: What Energy Are You Bringing to the Table?

Holiday parties and dinners are everywhere! The cookies are flowing. I know you want to enjoy yourself fully, you want to feel free to eat whatever you want. I also know that you want to feel grounded and in control of yourself and your body, you want to feel energized, and good about your choices.

The best news ever? Eating whatever you want and feeling exactly how you want are not mutually exclusive –you CAN have it all... and eat it too.

Most people use this time of year as an excuse to engage in poor self-care. Have you noticed that it's almost expected? If we all overindulge together, we won't have to feel as bad about it. And have you noticed that most people come into the new year with extra weight, extra guilt, and extra resolutions? Not to mention “flu season” … what I like to think of as I'm-so-stressed-out-and-over-extended-my-immune-system-crashed-and-burned season. Do you want to carry all of that extra heavy energy – physical, emotional and mental – around with you? Or are you ready to try something else?

Even some of the most health-conscious people I know say to me “It's only this one time of year – I really just want to enjoy myself.” Trust me – I do too! I get it – I love turkey and stuffing AND pie. But I'm doing the holidays on my own terms this year, not at the expense of my body and health, or my confidence and peace of mind. I'm not going to pretend like it's no big deal anymore.

Seriously, what IS at stake when we say f*it for the holidays?
Overeating – and eating lots of sugars, in particular – wreaks havoc on your metabolism, hormones and physical energy. Short-term effects on your body include bloating, indigestion, skin break outs, mood swings, energy crashes, cravings. Long-term effects include decreased libido, weight gain, increased difficulty losing weight, insulin imbalance, disrupted cycle, eczema, Irritable Bowel, fatigue, sickness and depression. And that's just the physical energy drain.

Mentally and emotionally, we do even more damage, though most of us have been taught to shovel this uncomfortable stuff down – with more food. Every time we do something we know is not really in our best interest, we destroy our confidence, we chip away at our own foundation. Our actions destroy our own personal power. Your inner gremlins love this, as you probably know! They say, “See, you don't have any willpower after all! You're a fatty. Keep eating, tubbo.” Similarly, when we blame the extra cookies on the people at work, we give our power away. And then we've got a whole baggage carousel of guilt, frustration, victimization, anger and low self-esteem pulling on us for months, years, maybe most of your life. Up until now.

I don't advocate doing anything drastic!
Don't decide that you are, at heart, a vegan right before Thanksgiving dinner - unless you won't be happy otherwise. Generally, that's a recipe for failure pie. I want you to eat whatever you want, I want you to enjoy yourself fully and leave every meal and gathering feeling satisfied. But I am going to ask you to get real with yourself, to get honest about what that would REALLY look and feel like for you.

Here are my top 4 tips on how to put your New Paradigm Holiday into action: (And yes, you still have time before Thanksgiving!)
  1. Get Clear & Set an Intention: How can we expect to have the experience we want if we don't even know what that is? Write down your ultimate holiday experience. How do you want to feel? Pick a specific event, meal or moment in time and script it out in the present tense, as if it's happening to you right now. “I am... I feel...” What are you enjoying? What are you doing differently, and how is it empowering you? Why is this important? Hint: Use as many wonderful sensory descriptions as possible!
  2. Wear Something Special: to remind and anchor you to your vision and intentions, your core values, your true self! Maybe it's a piece of jewelry, or a snazzy outfit. Maybe it's bright red lipstick. Dress the way you want to feel. And act it out.
  3. Find a Buddy to Back You Up: Your partner, your mom, your brother... someone you trust. Pull them aside before the meal and let them know honestly what you're up to and why it's important for you. Ask them if they are willing to get your back and stand up for you when the pressure for seconds comes around. Not only does this set you up to feel supported, but it sets you up to be accountable to another person, and to yourself. If I know anything as a coach, it's that this step is all powerful. Remember – your family wants to you be happy! Assume this energetic attitude and allow them to support you and the changes you are making in your life. You might be blown away.
  4. Ground Yourself and Get Present: Before you head in for the gathering, and throughout. And then SAVOR everything. The sunlight. The people. The drive. The music. Each bite. Every lick. Laughter. Messes. Practice mindful, sensual eating. Take breaks to step outside and breathe in fresh air and remember how beautiful life is.

Remember this:
We cannot control what happens outside of us. We can't control the whole holiday spread. But we can take control of our own experience, from the inside out. We always get the energy that we put out. If we go in with people-pleaser energy, doubting ourselves, others (and we) will sense that energy and pressure us to cave. If we go in feeling clear, luminous and confident, others will more readily respect our choices.

Let this holiday season be an experiment. Will everything go perfectly? My personal experience says no. But I have certainly found that when I allow it all to be a playground, where I am learning from the things that don't go the way I wanted, then I don't have to feel guilty and powerless about the hiccups, I can feel compassionate, curious and creative instead. Now that's some serious energy lift.