Cookies, cookies, cookies! You would think it was Girl Scout Cookie season for the amount of conversations I have had today about cookies! To bake or not to bake. How do you enjoy holiday cookies, and create health too? Here's the deal...
a) Is it necessary? Do you really want the cookies more, or is it just tradition - a.k.a. habit? If you really don't care, but have just always done it. Or you are just doing it for your kids. Be done. You don't need them. They don't need them. The holidays will still exist, with or without them. The only real tradition you are passing onto your kids, is the eating unecessary sugary-food tradition.
b) Is it a significant trigger? Meaning, how off track do the cookies (the sugar) send you? Will you be satisfied with a couple, or is a couple really a couple dozen? If cookies are "an achilles heel" I would think long and hard about what you want more. I cannot emphasize enough how amazingly awesome it feels to be free of the struggle. There is no cookie worth that.
c) If you want them, and decide to make that choice - make it. And enjoy it. But it helps to have a plan. Stuffing yourself, feeling gross, beating yourself up and getting way off track kinda takes the fun and enjoyment out of the treat. Which ones do you really like? Decide to have one, or two. Set them aside. in a tupperware with your name on it. Create your own portion controlled situation. If they are all on the counter, it is way too easy to conveniently forget how many you have eaten. IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep eating healthy the rest of the time. Do not. I repeat do not, decide to count the cookies as your meal to make up for the calories, and then skip the meal. That is a really bad idea, and a really good way to create a mountain out of a mole hill. And finally, know that when you have extra sugar, especially if your body isn't used to it, you can kick in some extra cravings. Plan for it. Drink your water, be a bit more active and manage your hunger/cravings with protein - not with not bread. And certainly not with more cookies.
d) If they are staring at you and you thought you could have just one and now you are stuck, elbow deep in the cookie jar. Get the flipping cookies out of your house!!! Now. Give them away, throw them away, whatever it takes. Remove yourself from the situation. And note to self in the future - have one out somewhere from time to time if that is your choice, but do not bring them home.
What is it with the holidays and food? It can be a challenging time of year, but only if you make it so. I hear people say, "the holidays are going to be tough." As if the scale has already gone up. It hasn't. If being unhealthy over the holidays is a foregone conclusion - and the "holidays" are still weeks away - I challenge you to really notice that thought process. You aren't just what you eat, you are what you think. If you have deciced the holidays are going to be tough, that is a decision you have made. Instead you could decide the holidays will be a breeze - and make them a breeze. In fact, you could start to create better health today rather than wait until January. I LOVE clients who start in December because they are not messing around!
Next week, which I'm going to talk about next week, marks my five-year anniversary of when I first started this journey. I too had favorite cookies and life-long traditions, but there was no cookie or sentiment I wanted more than to be out of those blessed, awful maternity pants - and so I chose to skip the sugar. And I have yet to go back. I don't even slightly recall what cookies I may have passed up that year, but I very clearly remember how it felt to put on my pre-baby jeans. And the pride and relief I felt for having done it. So bake or don't bake, but be DONE playing small. Make an intentional choice and plan - and OWN it.
"Sup.port.ive: giving support; providing sympathy or encouragement; providing additional help or information." (dictionary.com)
I often hear clients say when they talk about making healthy changes - "My spouse/friends/parents/kids are very supportive." Which is great. It makes taking care of yourself a whole lot easier. But let's talk for a second about that word support. And what it means to be supported.
My husband has been very supportive of my decision to create health. In fact, he created his own health right along with me. But that doesn't mean there weren't and aren't times when I have to stand really strong on my own two feet and stubbornly advocate for what I need - usually for some alone time to recharge. Or a less cluttered house. Yes, being "supported" is a shoulder to cry on, or a cheering section in your corner. Yes, being supported is getting agreement to spend money on a food plan or gym membership. But sometimes being supported also means the "supportive" person has to make concessions. Sometimes being supported means your spouse/friends/parents/kids are willing to go to a different restaurant with a healthier menu, or serve healthier food at the holidays, or split up the household chores more evenly... or stay home with the kids while you take a break, see your friends or go work out. Sometimes, in addition to "support" we also need more compromise and sacrifice. Which is where the supportive rubber tends to meet the road.
Here is what I have learned. When you make a choice to create health. A serious choice. The kind of choice where nothing is getting over that wall - it is OK, and frankly it requires, receiving support - regardless of whether it is being offered. Especially when you are often someone who cares for everyone else.
It is OK to put yourself, and your health, first. It is OK to say "this is what I need," and then expect it. Everyone else will survive. They may or may not like it. They may or may not know what to do with this healthier, stand up for yourself, version of you at first. But they will get used to it. And they will be thrilled for you when you feel better, physically and about yourself. But until that happens, and in order for that to happen, there is no need to apologize or feel guilty about creating health. You plant your feet on the healthy side of the road and get DONE playing small.
I joke about how, but it wasn't so funny early on, when I first started going to yoga - I told my husband to think of it as my "tee time." I don't make him late for his tee time and he doesn't make me late for mine. Period. My husband is very supportive of my yoga "me time" twice most weeks, and understands that it is what I need to stay sane. There have been times where he has had to make sacrifices for that to happen. And I know more than once I have walked out of the house, yoga mat in hand, to the chorus of two crying kids and said "see ya." And I don't feel guilty about that at all. Any more than he feels guilty about going golfing or playing soccer or basketball, or whatever else he needs to stay sane and healthy.
I guess my point is that supportive goes both ways. And - as you seek to make positive change - the word "change" is still there. Even though someone wants to be "supportive" they may not want to change. Yet if they truly are, or want to be, supportive - change is part of the deal. And so sometimes to receive support, you need to stand strong and help someone walk the walk... or put their money where their mouth is... however you want to say it. And stick to your guns. In the end you will all be healthier and happier for it. How's that for a New Year's resolution? Instead of lose weight, "receive support." I like it! You have 30 days to think it over.