A creative way to manage holiday stress

One holiday down. A few more to go. I love this season. But, man, it’s a lot. So much travel. So many people. And oh so many holiday parties.
 
It’s awesome. And stressful.
 
The stress part is what concerns me most when thinking about waistlines. Stress is a known culprit for weight gain, and I know many of us are worried about adding on extra lbs over the holidays. So, to help you maintain and keep sane this season, I thought I’d share another sure fire way to get through the winter months the same size you started.
 
Believe it or not, cultivating mindfulness is one of the best tricks to eating healthy when your schedule is packed.  
 
For those unfamiliar with the phrase “cultivating mindfulness” (no judgement here as I didn’t know what this phrase meant for almost 30 years), it simply means being present and aware of your surroundings. During the holidays, we’re often running from place to place, finishing one errand after another, and planning for the next day. When you cultivate mindfulness, you stop all of that and simply enjoy the moment. Now, you don’t have to stay in this state all day (I know, you got sh*t to do), but if you can 10 minutes here or there throughout your day, it will make a big difference on your health this season.This helps bring down stress, which is central to weight management. 
 
So how does mindfulness affects food exactly?
 
Holiday or not, we often eat our food without much thought. We don’t pause to truly taste our lunch, and we barely stop to smell our food before we scarf it down and get to the next task. You know that this only gets even worse over the holiday season. And that’s a problem because our lack of mindfulness often causes us to overeat. You see, being aware (and dare I say excited) about your meal is a key part of your digestion as it actives the switches in your body that manage nutrient breakdown and regulate our stress hormones. So, by being present and savoring your food, i.e. focusing on what it tastes like, smells like, even looks like, you’re stimulating the gears necessary to maximize your food intake, minimize stress, and reduce over eating.
 
I know it’s hard to slow down, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your body.
 
Cultivating mindfulness can be hard at first even though it sounds pretty easy. So, if you’re new mindfulness, I recommend starting with the STOP method. This method, developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is one of the best ways to take a beat in the midst of holiday chaos. It looks something like this:   
 
S: Stop whatever you’re doing right now ( be it scrolling through your phone or thinking about your next project)
T: Take a breath and reconnect to the body (3 seconds in and 3 seconds out is all you need)
O: Observe what’s happening now in your body, what thoughts and feelings you’re having, what sounds you hear around you (don’t judge them, just notice them and act accordingly)
P: Proceed with what you were doing
 
If you think you need some additional support staying mindful this holiday, I can help. I’m working with Invoke Yoga to host a Mindful Maintenance Challenge. This program starts on December 4 and runs through December 17. For just $45, I'll share a two-week meal plan, unlimited access to me through a private Facebook group, more tips to stay healthy during the holiday, and group support.
 
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