Warriors always have a strategy. If you leave your health up to chance, especially during the holidays, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Here are six simple tips we use to keep our Brain Warriors on track during the holiday, which happens to be when people get the sickest and have the most reported number of heart attacks (yep Christmas Eve). If you’re one of the people complaining that eating healthy during the holiday is a drag, try eating hospital food. Or that it’s too expensive to eat healthy… Have you seen the price tag on a day in the hospital?
Every warrior knows that the most successful battles are the ones you never have to fight because you’ve prepared so well, you win before you engage. If you keep healthy snacks with you, eat prior to attending the junk food fest, and take your own healthy desserts (leading as an example), you will likely prevent the necessity of these six steps. But as a Brain Warrior, we want you to have a plan for your back-up plan.
Follow these six tips for holiday success:
- If you just can’t resist Aunt Sally’s apple pie, remember the “Three Bite Rule.” It’s the first three bites of anything that give your taste buds that big “hit” of pleasure. If you stop after three bites, not elephant bites, you’re less likely to trigger the addiction center in your brain that will keep you hooked. Be fully present. Enjoy it, but don’t become a slave, or worse, a “zombie” and keep going. After three bites, get up and throw the rest away. Don’t keep it next to you or even in your house.
- Do NOT schedule cheat days that trigger addiction and inflammation. I’ve seen people eat as much as 4,000 calories of garbage with “self-permission,” which is nonsense if you plan to win! Instead, choose one food that is not on your plan that day. And don’t use the excuse that since you made one unhealthy choice, you might as well eat lousy for the entire day. How’s that been working for you? On average, it takes about three days to get back on track and lose your cravings again after only one day of gorging on sugar and fat all day!
- Avoid your trigger foods. Be brutally honest with yourself about your addictions. If you know that you are still vulnerable to relapse, give yourself a couple more weeks, or even months, before loosening the reigns. I had total control over food like pasta, burgers, fries, and even most sugary foods after about four weeks. However, frosting was like “crack” for me and would have me in a dark corner of a donut shop licking waxed paper for left over traces – not pretty! I simply had to stay away from it for at least six months.
- Make the healthiest choices possible from the selection available when faced with less than optimal selections. Ask yourself these questions, “Is this healthy? Compared to what?” Then choose accordingly.
- If you overindulge, make it a conscious decision. Lose the guilt that only serves to cripple your progress. Then stop whining, be a warrior and get back on track immediately. Think like your GPS, which doesn’t call you a “stupid idiot” when you make a wrong turn. It just tells you to “make the first legal U-turn.”
- Turn bad days into good data. When I make a decision to eat food that doesn’t serve me, I don’t feel great. Being aware helps me to be truthful and empowered, and not feel like I’m “deprived” for eating healthy.
Our desire is for you to feel vibrant this holiday season so that you may focus on all that is truly important to you. If these tips are helpful please send me your feedback and forward them to someone you love. Whether you’re a health warrior now or a warrior in training, I want to set you up for success!