Do you look forward to the holidays each year but think, “Oh boy, I hope I’m not going to be grappling with another unwanted 5-10 pounds after this holiday”? I used to think the same. All year long, I’d taken care of my husband, the kids, a full-time job, most of the meals, and kept a fairly neat and tidy home. I’d spent another whole year serving others. I deserved a break.
Chanukah, followed by Christmas, were times that I brought my sore and tired heart to the table to be nourished by other members of my family. What did another helping hurt? Another glass of wine? Or a second or third desert? I deserved to be taken care of didn’t I? Especially after taking care of everybody else. I’d deal with the fall-out in January. Except that I never did. I wound up with an extra sixty plus pounds with that state of mind – “I’ll deal with it later. Tomorrow is another day.”
My addictions were self perpetuating due to a lack of fundamental connection to my own primary needs. Sadly, the long-term outcomes were feelings of anger, shame, sadness, and fear aimed entirely at myself. I was trauma-bonded to my unmet needs. How was I to get out of this spiral and then subsequently remain healthy and fit through holidays and celebrations without the negative fallout? I had no idea how to answer this question.
Since then, I’ve lost the sixty pounds and at almost sixty years of age, I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been. I’ve also been subjected to many celebrations and holidays and I’ve learned to trust myself in the face of the onslaught of need disguised as gluttony. Now I ask myself, what feeling do I want to have after this day, week, or month? I want the feeling that I love, value, and care for myself without self-abandonment. I want to know that I will take the time to foster connection with myself daily, weekly, monthly, and all year long so that I don’t come to the holidays feeling beleaguered and neglected. I made my life into a permanent place that I don’t need to escape to ‘Christmas Island’ from.
Here’s Twelve Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit Over the Holidays (assuming that you don’t need to escape from your life):
- Focus on the feeling you want to have after the celebration is over – self-condemnation OR a sense that you weathered a temporary storm of offerings and triumphed?
- Seek out support from your host, partner, or friend. Let people know that you’re struggling with food/drink addictions and it’s best if you stick with the mineral water that you brought and stay away from the empty carbs and desert.
- Hang out with other fitness and health advocates and minimize your exposure to those on self-sabotaging, empty carbohydrate binges.
- Take time out for study into addiction/resonant fitness, journaling, meditation, and self-reflection. Dr. Saladino’s book called, The Carnivore Code, is a good one. So is my friend, Mary Beauchamp’s book, Radical Health Makeover. Enjoy!
- Engage with the type of recreation that you love, that gives you that feeling of being able to stand from a squat without an ounce of restriction at any age. (Did you know that the #1 reason folks end up in a nursing home? It’s because they can’t haul their hiney up off the commode under their own steam.)
- Get outside to walk, toboggan, skate, or go snowshoeing. Make snow angels in freshly fallen snow, walk your neighbor’s dog (if you don’t have a dog of your own), or make an ice castle in the park with a group of kids.
- Arrange for a massage, a group meditation, start a gratitude journal, sing in a choir, or celebrate winter solstice when the sun returns to warm the earth with longer days of light.
- Take up a craft that speaks to you like paint pouring, wreath making, pottery, winter photography, or water colors, for example.
- Use the holidays to institute more fasting into your regimen. Rotational fasting or a water/broth fast for a day or two can take your health to a whole other level.
- Use Christmas to detox from coffee or any other substance that seems to be serving you less. Try a matcha latte with monk fruit or allulose and full clotted cream if you’re a ‘B’ or ‘AB’ blood type, and Laird’s Superfood Creamer if you’re an ‘A’ or ‘O.
11. Use the holidays to study tantric sex and catch up on your love-making with your beloved partner.
12. Catch up on your sleep, take naps, read a novel, or watch a favorite series on a resonant channel. Jeff and I have loved, This Is Us, Somebody Feed Phil, and Doc Martin. I have loved reading the book, Anna, Grandmother of Jesus.
13. Bonus! Seek out counseling or trauma therapy (Heilkunst treatment just happens to offer both) to get to the root cause of your unmet needs and how better to meet them without sabotaging your health or fitness.
It’s interesting, as I ruminate on writing this concluding paragraph to you, I never used to think about ways to stay healthy or fit over the holidays. Wondering what has changed for me, I came to the conclusion that prior, I didn’t feel that I had something ultimately worth valuing or protecting through the holidays. Procrastination is a sign of early trauma where our needs are not met on our terms. We feel put off, and put off in favor of others’ agendas. My family of origin also showed their love through food as opposed to creating a true, more primal connection with me. It seems that I was following a default program instead of evolving more on my own terms as an autonomous, sovereign adult with needs that could finally be met all year long.
To learn more about trauma-bonding and how it can present throughout our personal and collective history, pick up my latest book, Trauma Bonded in Canada:
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