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Healthy Holidays

(From Cheryl Richardson’s newsletter for this week)

“The body must be nourished physically, emotionally and spiritually. We’re spiritually starved in this culture — not underfed but undernourished.”
–Carol Hornig

~*~ Topic of the Week ~*~

Well, it’s the time of year when many of us will visit with family and friends for vacation and holiday celebrations. During an interview with a reporter last week, we talked about the pros and cons of holiday gatherings and the reasons why so many people have a tendency to
overindulge in food and drink during this time of year. I suggested that it may be because we’re so hungry for soul-nourishing connection and conversation that we attempt to fill the void with a form of pseudo-nourishment through excess food and drink. Either that or we simply
use food and alcohol to medicate ourselves against the boredom of superficial chit chat.

Too often we go overboard during the holidays with the intention of making up for it in the New Year. Then, January comes around and we start beating ourselves up for letting our health go. This week I’d like to offer you a few suggestions on how to stay healthy during the next couple of weeks so that you set yourself up for a strong start in the New Year. Here we go .

~*~ Enjoy “soul-nourishing” conversations. When attending social gatherings spend more time having meaningful discussions. For example, rather than stand around the food table talking to a co-worker about your latest work problem, sit down and have a heartfelt conversation about a favorite memory from 2002 or an important goal for 2003. Don’t get pulled into the gossip about Aunt Millie’s constant complaining and instead, take the kids outside to run around or make a snowman. Trust me, the nourishment of intimacy and fun will curb your cravings for food and alcohol.

~*~ Get out and move your body. Gather friends together and go carolling, bundle up and go for a walk after a meal, or stroll around the neighborhood to look at lights. Personally I’m hoping for snow over the next two weeks so I can cross-country ski or take my nieces and nephews to a local tube sledding park. Remember, our bodies need fresh air and sunshine in order to run properly.

~*~ Eat protein first. When attending parties, start your meals with some kind of protein (meat, eggs, nuts, cheese, etc.) so you have less room for carbs like cakes, candy, or cookies. While you’ll need to be mindful of how much protein you eat, choosing it as your first food selection will not only help you to feel satisfied and full, it will curb your cravings for sugar.

~*~ Drink plenty of water. Now that the weather is cold and dry we all need to be more conscious of staying hydrated. Bring a bottle of water with you wherever you go and remember that alcohol, soft drinks, coffee, and tea are not hydrating liquids.

~*~ Be willing to bow out of the parties that leave you feeling empty inside. Choosing to disappoint someone else may be just what you need to do to make sure that you don’t disappoint yourself. Simply tell friends or family members that you need to sit this one out. Your “soul-care” is always a valid excuse.

Most of all, relax and have fun over the next couple of weeks. We are making memories during every moment of our lives. Make sure that yours are worth remembering!

~*~ Take Action Challenge ~*~

Decide to make at least one change in your behavior this holiday season so you can feel better about yourself. You might choose to eat before going to a party or limit your alcohol consumption to one drink. The trick is to plan ahead so you’ll be less tempted to overindulge. Good luck!

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