I’m pretty certain that the angels that are being referred to in the Christmas carol, “The First Noel”, did not say, “Eat as many cookies, cakes, pies, and candy as you possibly can before the season is over”. However, this time of year, everywhere we turn, there is another opportunity to eat sweets, eat too much, and pack in the calories. This coupled with the shorter days, darker mornings, colder climate, and the hustle bustle of the season, many of us are skipping our work-outs in favor of one more hour of sleep, the company holiday party, or getting those final items on our shopping list.

I want to give you a few practical tips that may help you this time of year minimize the negative consequences that sometimes go along with this season.

On Eating

-Bring fruit or salad to the potlucks and eat some of it.
-Put fruit on your plate. You don’t have to “go without” the sweets, just eat more fruit.
-Share everything with a friend.
-Eat half of every dessert you choose and give away or throw away the rest.
-Indulge your curious tongue with a bite of everything, but just a bite.
-Set limits (i.e. 1 dessert a day, or 2 cookies a day). Carefully select that dessert.
-If you can’t stop thinking about the pie before you start your meal, eat the pie before you start your meal. This will enable you to actually enjoy the meal after and maybe even make you eat less.
-Practice mindful eating. Meaning, as you are eating, be aware that you are eating, and what the food tastes and feels like. Enjoy each bite.
-Decide before you eat that what you have on your plate is going to please you enough.
-Be aware of the sugar crash and then the thoughts to have more. Remind yourself that this is just your brain’s way of dealing with the sugar and seeking bio-balance.
-Remind yourself that there will be plenty more cookies, cakes, candy, and pie in your life. This is not your “last supper”.
-Remember that sugar is an addictive substance for many people. The more you have, the more your want. The more you have, the more quantity you have to eat each time for the same “high” effect.
-Don’t eat in front of the TV.
-Don’t eat alone.
-Re-gift the cookies or share them.
-Be “okay” with telling your children “no”.
-Be “okay” with telling yourself “no”.
-Throw it all away (my motto: it can go on my butt or in the garbage, my choice)

On Exercise

Something is better than nothing (20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes?)
Cut your work-out in half instead of not going at all.
Move as much as you can.
Park far away from the mall entrance.
Take a quick walk around the block before bed.
Take the stairs.
Play active games with your children (chase, hide-and-seek, wrestling, ball, frisbee, Wii).
Have more sex.
Walk at lunch.
Take the long way to the cafeteria.
Think about exercise as a reward to your body for working all day instead of sweets being a reward

The most important thing to remember is that each moment you have the opportunity to start anew and make a new choice. Don’t beat yourself up for the choices you’ve already made. This is a very unproductive thing to do. Just begin again.

Now excuse me, I’m going to do 10 jumping jacks.

If I can do it, you can do it!

“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” – Orson Welles

“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.” – Mitch Hedberg

Sometimes when my daughter and I are riding our bikes, we will be going full speed down a hill and she will turn around to look at me. I cringe at the thought of her hitting a bump or losing her balance… you can picture the rest. I yell, “Focus on you, Darlin’. Focus on you!”

I like using this analogy of riding a bike for living life. First, its important to have a well maintained vehicle with enough air in the tires and grease on the gears. It is also important to know where home is, so if it starts to rain or you are done for the day, you have a place to rest.

As you are riding, it is important to not spend time looking behind you lest you hit a tree. Looking too far ahead may also cause you to lose your balance or miss a bump in the road for which you might need extra concentration. Carrying extra weight or baggage will make your ride a little more difficult and a little slower. Focusing on the other riders will take your concentration off the most important thing – which is your own balance. Without your own sense of balance, you will hit the pavement hard (and that does not feel good, believe me).

If you do fall and you are injured, please call 911 or at least a team of caring friends and loved ones that can help patch you up. Don’t wait too long to get back on that bike. Fear may begin to consume you and you may find yourself doing a lot of sitting around (watching your waistline expand).

When you get on that bike again, focus on you.

And maybe, just maybe, during your ride, you can appreciate how the sun feels on your face, how good it feels to move your body, how the wind feels on your cheeks, how satisfying it feels to challenge yourself with that extra steep hill, and then how exhilarating it feels to speed down, or how relaxing it feels to coast around the neighborhood.

Who would have thought that animals such as ourselves could balance on two wheels? If it were any other animal, it would look like a circus act!

Focus on you and you’ll make it look easy.

If I can do it, you can do it!

“In today’s society we sometimes forget to balance our hearts and our heads; this is the reason we stop laughing.” – Yakov Smirnoff

“No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for ‘we’ are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” – Louise L. Hay


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