Tag Archives: Stress

Do Christmas Cookies Make you Crazy? – The Path to Holiday Sanity

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For years, between the months of October and December it seemed like my health and body image always took a backseat to an overload of cookies, sweets, baggy clothes, and the winter blues.

It’s always a fun time of year, between holidays, friends, family, and parties, but at the same time, all of this fun often led up to a whole lot of stress. Everything from my finances, to what to wear suddenly seemed like an overwhelming burden and I often compensated for this stress by over analyzing my food choices.

I would meal plan, restrict, and count calories, all in the hopes of looking amazing by the time Christmas day came around. The problem was, my anxiety, that I was convinced was about my weight, was actually about things like seeing long-lost friends, getting along with family, and my money. I never actually addressed these fears and every time I slipped up on my diet, I felt like I just couldn’t take it any more.

The anxiety I was ignoring, thanks to my diet, was then taken out on cake, chocolate, and candy, which I had likely, previously denied myself at a party the night before. Since these times, I’ve finally figured out how to combat holiday stress and now I’m going to share some of my tips with you. Here are 3 of my favorite tips to stay sane during the holidays.

1. Get clear on your emotions.

Don’t let your stress take a backseat. Get clear on what it is that is causing your stress or anxiety and tackle it. If it’s finances, make a budget, if it’s your family, give them a call and talk it out now. Likely your stress over your weight is simply a side effect of a bigger fear. Figure out what that fear is and tackle it.

2. Don’t go on a restrictive diet, or even try to diet during the holidays.

Instead, keep your focus on eating quality whole foods, staying healthy, and weight maintenance. Stressing about your weight or food choices is only going to add on to the stress of the holidays. Plus the increased guilt whenever you eat something not entirely healthy will actually put you at an increased risk to gain weight. De-stress and give yourself permission to enjoy the season.

3. SELF CARE.

It’s very easy when things get busy and stressful to put yourself last on the list of priorities but I want you to make this year different. Consciously take 30 minutes per day for you. Do something you love everyday. Stay active. Get enough sleep. Take days off. It may take some creative scheduling or saying “no” on your part but I promise it is worth it!

I think this is an excellent time of year to put yourself first and really address your health. Why? Because this is the time of year when we often put ourselves last, in favor of everything else in our lives. Remember when you take care of yourself first, you are better able to care for everyone else around you.

Now you tell me….

What are your tips for staying sane during the holidays? 

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Why you get fat looking at the cookie that your skinny friend is eating

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight even just a little bit you probably know what I’m talking about. You know that friend that eats whatever she wants and never seems to gain weight. Chances are you’ve skipped dessert before because you’re “on a diet” and watched her devour something delicious, just wishing you could have a bite without the worry of weight gain. She’s also probably that girl that loves to run and stops halfway through a cookie because she’s full. Well today, I’m going to teach you how to be that girl. Sound good?

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Before we start, little mini science lesson: When we are stressed our cortisol levels in our bodies rise, which can lead to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, heart disease, and fatigue. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it?

What does this have to do with your skinny friend? She’s likely not stressed around food. She listens to her body and when she wants dessert she eats it. She stops when she’s full and sometimes just skips it all together when she’s hungry. Because she is not stressed and hence not in fight or flight mode, her body is able to full digest and metabolize her dessert. She is in tune with her hunger and is not eating beyond her needs.

Now let’s look at you. Chances are if you are struggling with your weight and trying to “diet” you are likely putting your body under some stress. Dinner itself can become a stressful situation. You worry about what to choose and whether it’s cooked in butter and already feel on edge because you’re hungry and that breadbasket is staring you in the face. Sound familiar? Well by the time dessert rolls around your cortisol levels are so high that your metabolism has slowed down and your blood sugar has risen without even touching dessert. So here is what you need to do: relax, slow down, and find ways to reduce stress.

First thing’s first: stop labeling your food as good and bad. Food is just fuel. It is energy that our bodies use to function on a daily basis. No food should be off limits. This doesn’t mean go have a free for all on chocolate and cookies but allow yourself to have a cookie. Take away the stigma of a cookie being “bad” and you likely won’t crave it as much.

Next step: stop trying to “diet”. There is no need to restrict or cut back anything in your daily intake. If anything you probably need to add in more nutrients and that’s exactly what I want you to do. Fill up on things like fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables, foods that come from nature. Make your diet plentiful of these foods knowing that you can also have a cookie and see what happens.

Another tip: eat without distractions. Focus on your food and enjoy every bite. Munching mindlessly while watching TV doesn’t count. Sit down, put your food on a plate, and enjoy it. No stress necessary.

My last tip: work on eliminating stress in your life. Maybe you need to take a rest day from the gym, maybe you need a night out with friends, maybe you just need to go shopping. Whatever it is take time for you and de-stress however you need.

Now what are you going to do with this information? Next time you go out for dinner with that “skinny” friend or really anyone remember, nothing is off limits, enjoy your company, fill up on some greens, and just relax! Food is not worth the stress.

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