I know, I know. You’re thinking I’m just plain crazy to suggest such a thing. But the thing is, I know it’s possible, because I’ve done it myself. All I had to do was change what I believe.
The truth is that the last six weeks of the year used to be the most unhealthy days of my life. I gained weight, got sick, and felt bad about myself by the time January 1st rolled around. I didn’t understand why it kept happening, year after year. What was wrong with me, that I couldn’t control myself?
It turns out, I was asking the wrong question. The question is not “What’s wrong with me?” Instead, we must ask “What do I need to do, to break the cycle?”
When I started examining my habits, I realized I was surrendering my power to things that are not worthy of power–food, alcohol, shopping. I told myself that I “couldn’t resist” this, or “I deserved” that. And of course I “just didn’t have time” to workout, because I had too much to do. All of these beliefs added up and stole my power. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was sick and had gained ten pounds.
It was the same thing, year after year, for over a decade. I didn’t think it was possible to break the cycle, until I got into yoga. Yoga taught me to be more intentional, and helped me see that I always have a choice, and that every choice matters. By setting an intention, and making choices based on long term goals, instead of short term pleasures, I learned to change my habits.
These days, I rarely get sick at the holidays, and my weight stays constant throughout the year. I’ve reclaimed my power over food and exercise, and I feel so much better about myself! Best of all, the last six weeks of the year are pretty much the same as the other 46, from a health perspective. I make time to eat foods that boost my immunity, and ignore the voices that tell me I don’t have time to workout. I do allow myself to indulge in the treats of the season, but always with awareness and small portions.
The thing that helps me the most, during this busiest time of year, is making daily commitments. I have four disciplines that are non-negotiable, every single day, and they are my priority:
Start the day with warm lemon or lime water: Every morning, when I wake up, I drink a glass of warm water with the juice of a lemon or lime. It boosts my immunity, improves my digestion, and gives me energy.
Veggies first: I try to fill up on veggies whenever possible, every single day. The nutrients help me keep my energy levels high, and reduce sugar cravings. My favorite trick is to eat a can of veggie soup before I leave for parties. When I arrive with a full stomach, it’s easier to indulge in moderation.
Resist a lot: I do a minimum of 30 minutes of intense, resistance-based exercise, every single day, to help boost my immunity and clear my mind. I give myself grace if I miss a day here and there, but I never miss two in a row. For me, yoga is the best form of resistance, but it could also be running, weight lifting, or swimming if yoga’s not your thing. When I practice, I always do the hard stuff first–chair poses, warrior poses, planques, arm balances, and anything else I can think of to work against gravity and build heat in my body. Afterwards, when I have time, I stretch for 5 to 20 minutes. (If you’re not sure how where to begin, read my article about using yoga to build strength here.)
One is my limit: I never deprive myself from tasting the yummies at holiday parties. But I do limit myself to no more than one treat a day. If there are several goodies I want to try, then I will take a bite or two of each, and give the rest to someone else or throw it away (I know it’s a waste, but it’s not really food and it’s better in the trash than in my body!) No matter what, I always make sure my intake adds up to one serving of sweets, or less, each day. This can be challenging, because we are attached to eating what we want, when we want it. It gets easier, however, when we realize that what we truly want is to be fit, healthy, and happy, and sweets get in the way of that goal.
The clock is ticking, and 2013 is slowly slipping away. There is still time, however, to make this the year that you get crazy healthy.
Change what you believe. Create some new habits that boost your immunity, strengthen your body, and keep food in its proper place. I know it seems difficult, but that’s what makes it worthwhile. I promise you can do this! Resolve to get crazy healthy now, and make 2014 the happiest, healthiest New Year of all.
*And by the way…have you liked My Crazy Healthy Life on Facebook? Click here, and join the conversation about staying healthy through the holidays!