Top Ways to Stay on Track During the Holidays

It’s so easy to “fall off the wagon” during the holidays. There are so many temptations, so much yummy food, so many fun opportunities…

So, how can we stay on track and still have fun and enjoy ourselves?

First, I might invite for us (me included) to change our perspective about “falling off the wagon.” It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I don’t have to commit to avoid sweets 100% of the time and neither do you. What if we allowed ourselves to eat whatever we wanted 20% of the time? And then the other 80% we did our best to “stay on the wagon?” What would that feel like?

Let me break this down for you. If you ate as healthy as you can 80% of the time that means 17 of your meals a week would be “on the wagon.” Then, 4 of your meals each week you could eat whatever you wanted. And that’s not necessarily “off the wagon,” but rather chosen indulgences.

How does that feel?

For me, I like that a whole lot better than beating myself up for having pie 3 times in one day (maybe those are three of my four indulgences)!

God didn’t design us to be deprived all the time! He did design us to have self-control however. Choose and enjoy those indulgences!

So, here are a few tips to help you stay on track with this 80/20 lifestyle:

  1. Make a plan! This may be the most important tip ever! Benjamin Franklin said,

“If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.”

So, make a plan of what meals will be your indulgences and which ones you’re going to choose healthier options.

2. Get enough sleep. When we’re tired we are less able to follow through with good intentions. We just run through the nearest drive through or takeout because we’re too exhausted to cook. (Sound familiar, anyone? I know I’m guilty!)

3. Exercise. It’s a kind of fuel for your body. Plus, it will keep you focused and motivated to keep fueling your body with nourishing foods. Nobody wants to undo the hard work we’ve already done.

4. Take some time for yourself. When we allow ourselves time to rest, relax, and be rejuvenated then we will feel better and we’ll be more able to show up as our best self (and be able to resist the pie if that’s not an indulgence we chose).

5. Contribute to family and friend gatherings. Or, volunteer to be the host! Make or take a healthy dish or two to share with everyone. That way you’ll be able to control at least something that you’re eating.

I’d love to hear what you think about this perspective change and these tips! Comment below and let me know your thoughts and if there’s something you would add!

How to Enjoy the Yummy Food During the Holidays without Feeling Guilty

I hear so many people talk about “falling off the wagon” around the holidays. They feel guilty for eating the yummy treats and then their growing waist line increases the guilt.

Well, what if you could eat all the yumminess, not feel guilty AND not grow your waist line too?!?!

Try this new idea out and let me know what you think!

Have questions about putting this new “rule” into practice? Comment below or email Carrie at needahealthcoach@gmail.com.

Do you need accountability during the holidays (or after) to stay the course? That’s what I do! I’d be honored to help you “stay on track” and pray for your success during this holiday season!

Healthy Holiday Swaps

The holidays can bring such joy to our lives and can often bring inches to our waistline too.

So, I thought I’d provide you with some healthy swaps to help cut down on calories, but still give you delicious food to enjoy.

But first, check your normal eating habits. Do you:

  • Chew your food around 20-30 times?
  • Take a few deep breaths before eating?
  • Focus on eating and enjoy the time by yourself or with friends and family?
  • Turn off the tv and social media? Savor each bite?
  • Take 20 minutes to complete your meal?
  • Stop eating when you’re 80% full?

These are all suggestions to help your digestion and metabolism work optimally. These things can help set your body up for success even if you do decide to splurge and eat the apple pie and pumpkin pie and all the yumminess available!

I do recommend to my clients to follow the 80/20 rule. This states that you will eat as healthy as you can 80% of the time and then eat whatever you want 20% of the time. If we break that down weekly that means you will eat 17 meals as healthy as you can and 4 meals eat whatever you want. This allows you to splurge and not feel guilty. Plus, you won’t be deprived!

So, taking all these ideas and suggestions into consideration, here are a few healthy swaps you can make for a healthier holiday season:

  1. Instead of mashed potatoes choose mashed cauliflower.
  2. Instead of sugar in desserts and dishes use honey or monk fruit sweetener.
  3. Roast or grill turkey or meat instead of frying it.
  4. Leave off the glaze on the ham or make your own that has less sugar and preservatives.
  5. Make gluten free cornbread instead of stuffing the turkey.
  6. Use real cranberries instead of canned.
  7. Drink water or hot tea instead of sugary sodas.
  8. Use butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil instead of other oils.
  9. Choose gratitude over judgement.
  10. Take a walk after the meal instead of hours of tv.

Which one sounds doable to you? Or what would you add to this list?

Need a Healthy Holiday Meal Plan?

So, I know we just had Thanksgiving!  But are you already thinking about food for Christmas dinner and parties and friends, and…?

Well, maybe you are and maybe you aren’t.  But either way, Christmas is going to be here before we know it!  And I want to help you be prepared to have a healthy holiday!

Well, part of cultivating health during the holidays requires more than well wishes.  It takes planning and cooperation!  (I recently taught a workshop on this topic and two sisters attended.  They said it was most helpful that they were there together!  They could plan and prepare with the things they learned from the workshop in mind!)  So, get your family and friends in on the planning.  The planning might even be the most important part!  The execution will just be following the plan!  Easy peasy!

So, what are some healthy options for a bountiful holiday meal?  I’m so glad you asked!  I have created an entire day of healthy recipes to take part of the stress of the holidays off of you!  Want a copy?

All you need to do is send me an email requesting a copy!  (And I’ll add you to my email list so you won’t miss out on any other amazingness!)

Here’s a sneak preview into what you’ll receive:

Recipes for Breakfast, Appetizers, Snacks, Lunch, Dinner, and Desserts!

One of my favorite is the Raw Chocolate Pomegranate Bark!  Hope you enjoy!!!

The PTSD Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!  Jingle Bells!  Santa Claus!

Do these words make your heart swoon or send dread all the way to your toes?!?!  For some people, the holiday season can be a time of anxiety, sorrow, dread, worry…

And I get that.

If you’re like me and have suffered from PTSD or anxiety/panic attacks, the whole thing and especially socialization of the holiday season can feel like a boulder on top of you. Even thinking about being with all those people and having to have conversations might just send us into a full blown “I refuse to get off my couch and celebrate – bah humbug” state. And possibly even the idea of getting one tree out of the attic -much less seven (yes, I have seven Christmas trees!) – is just too much to handle.

Let me explain.  When there is an emotional war going on in our brains the body is trying to figure out how to create balance and peace.  Some days it does better than others.  And some days it’s a total loss.  Either way, when something is thrown in – expected or not – that is out of our control our brains flip out.  Our brain is already overloaded and this small feather just sent it into full combat mode.  Que the heart palpitations, sweaty palms, shallow breathing, tight chest, dread, fear, and fight or flight mode.

The sympathetic nervous system -the fight or flight system – is fully engaged and anxiety is high with panic riding full force towards us on the horizon.  And grandma, parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, nephews, and in-laws are arriving shortly!  What am I supposed to do?!?!?!

Here are 5 tips for those of us with PTSD and/or anxiety to use in moments like this.

  1. Stop.  Take a deep breath.  And another.  And another.  And another.  When we breathe slowly and deeply for at least two minutes our brain says, “Hey!  I was freaking out, but I’m breathing like a calm, relaxed person soooooo – I must be relaxed.”  This turns on the parasympathetic nervous system and allows us to relax and calm down the nerves.
  2. Focus on what is going well in this very moment!  We are in control of our thoughts!  Much to many people’s surprise, we have the ability to stop negative thoughts from taking over and sending us in a downward spiral.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.”-Philippians 4:8 (NIV)  Paul’s words are written as he sits in a jail cell wondering if he will live or die.  If he can focus on positive thoughts in that situation then I can too.
  3. Get grateful!  Begin to name all the things you are grateful for.  This also takes the focus off of the negative and puts it on the positive.  Gratitude can do more for us than we realize.  I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal that I write in everyday, and I really notice a difference in how I respond to anxiety producing moments.
  4. Be prepared ahead of time.  Take some time for yourself filling your own cup.  Maybe you’ve heard the thought that you can only serve others from the overflow of your own cup.  And if you’re dealing with anxiety or PTSD then you need some extra filling of your own cup to be able to deal with life – especially around the holidays.  What nourishes you or helps you relax?  What is enjoyable? Go do that!
  5.   Choose your activities wisely.  What are some parties, events, or gatherings you want to attend (if there are any)? You don’t have to go to all of them.  Choose the one or two that will be important for you but also the ones that could end up nourishing your soul.  If it’s too much to have Mammy, Pappy, and Uncle George over then ask if someone else can host this year.  Things don’t have to stay the same just because, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Being kind to yourself and to others, make the best choice for you.

Implementing these tools won’t stop your anxiety, but they will help you manage it.  And as a yoga teacher I often tell my students that when we feel depression we are living in the past.  When we feel anxiety we are living in the future.  The best way to counteract both of those is to live in the present moment.

Comment below with a way you help manage your anxiety!

To learn more about me and my story visit my website, and contact me if you need advice for dealing with anxiety or PTSD.