I’ve had two things in the back of my mind for the past few weeks that I’ve been wanting to write about. You could call them rules or guidelines, but basically they’re just two things that I would like to sit down and talk with you about over some hot coffee. I can’t do that, but I’d love to hear what you think, so please feel free to leave a comment.
- Be mindful of what goes in your mouth. This is something that I try and practice all the time but especially during the holidays, when there are more parties and treats around than usual. Rather than completely withholding from any and every treat that passes by, and rather than indulging in every single treat that passes by, make intentional and conscious choices about which off-plan foods are ‘worth it‘ for you. Avoid automatic eating, like bowls of snack foods (chips, popcorn, candies) that are easy to consume in large quantities without even realizing it. Avoid high sugar and high alcohol drinks that quickly lead from one drink to three or four drinks. When you make an intentional and conscious choice to enjoy something that you know is not the most nutrient-dense choice for your body, go ahead and enjoy it. Please don’t try to work out how many burpees you need to do to burn off however many calories you consume in that off-plan choice. (It doesn’t work that way anyway, so don’t waste your time.) Please don’t call it a ‘cheat’, or label it as a bad choice or bad food. Be mindful about your choice, and then enjoy the heck out it.
- Be mindful of what comes out of your mouth. ‘Tis the season for adults all over North America to be saying things like, “As soon as the holidays are over, I’m starting a diet”, “I really need to work off all these holiday sweets”, “I’m really packing on the pounds this Christmas”, etc. Here’s the thing: your children can hear you. And they are learning to associate the holidays with gaining weight, and the New Year with losing weight. Mamas, they see you cringe at yourself when you look in the mirror and they hear your big, discontented sigh. If you’re going to drink eggnog in front of your children, just drink it. Don’t drink it and then talk about how many calories are in it and how far you’ll run tomorrow to ‘burn it off’. They are putting it all together in their sweet, innocent minds, so let’s be mindful about the words we use to describe our food choices. Eat your food, and focus on the more important things like family, connection, traditions, and joy.
(Read a lot more about the way we talk with our kids about food and exercise here. It’s something I’m super passionate about, and I would love to hear your opinion!)
Keep these things in mind, and enjoy your holidays. Merry Christmas from my family to yours!