Stuff Your Turkey, Not Yourself

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It’s that time of year when the holidays have a way of hijacking our attempts at remaining calm and practicing healthy habits. Today I’ll be sharing some tips to avoid overeating and over-stressing over the holidays on Paula Sands Live.
Here are a few strategies to get you from here to the New Year in good cheer.
HALT and Plan Ahead
Making decisions when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired usually leads to poor choices. Planning ahead when you have time to calmly think through your options and prepare healthy snacks will save your sanity by eliminating the emotional frenzy that comes with feeling famished.
Nourish Yourself Regularly
Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals or eating them on the run does not help you lose weight. In fact, it can lead to weight gain. Fueling yourself with whole, nutritious foods at regular intervals will help regulate your appetite, clear your mind, and keep you energized throughout the day.
Pace Yourself

Treat the holidays like an endurance event and train accordingly. Eating, drinking, or otherwise consuming your way through the holidays will only compound your stress. Take it one day at a time. If you blow it one day, don’t resign yourself to giving up until the New Year. Just begin again. Six weeks of bad habits is hard to overcome. Especially  when you can simply start over whenever you slip up. A new perspective is always one thought away.
Move Through Your Stress
Working out does wonders to help alleviate the stress that can accumulate at the mere thought of attending a party or preparing a family feast. Find a way to move that’s fun for you. It doesn’t need to look like exercise. Fire up your Wii Fit. Get out your bowling ball. Break out the ice skates. Rake up the leaves and then jump around in them. Recruit your family or a few friends to make it more likely you’ll stick to it.
Unplug and Get Enough Sleep
So much to do. So little time. Skimping on sleep will not only add to your stress but add to your waistline. Your body needs downtime to rest and repair. Unplug from your electronic devices in plenty of time to wind down so you have the energy to get up and face another day refreshed and rejuvenated. Never unplugging leaves you in an endless cycle of feeling wired and tired.
Be Grateful
Although the focus of Thanksgiving tends to be all about the food, it also includes the many people, things, and opportunities you have to be grateful for. If this is the one day of the year you look forward to feasting, by all means savor the flavor of your favorite foods. Do not obsess over calories. Feeling guilt or shame around food robs it of its pleasure. Take the time to be present and aware of what you are eating.  Get curious about where it came from, who prepared it, and the love that went into sharing it. Ironically, when you give a meal the time and attention it deserves, you end up feeling more nourished by less food.
When you reflect on how much you already have, you can resist the urge to fill yourself up with food, shopping, and other distractions. In other words, stuff your turkey, not yourself.
Join my Here to the New Year in Good Cheer Challenge starting on Black Friday and running right up to December 31st. Details to follow later in the week. Or email me at penny@wellpower.com for updates.
For now, keep calm and gobble on!
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No Matter What – Day 1

The white flag is an internationally recognized symbol of surrender, truce, or a desire to parley.
In case you missed what the No Matter What Game is all about, you can read about it here. All you really need to know is I will be posting my responses to random prompts by coach Gillian Pearce (who would be glad to do the same for you). By doing so, I get to practice my writing, she gets to practice her coaching, you get to see the creative process in action, and hopefully, you will be inspired to do a similar practice where you __________ (fill in the blank) No Matter What.
For some of you that may be to meditate for ten minutes or wait five minutes before responding emotionally to an email. It could be to that you walk the dog no matter what, play the fiddle, eat your veggies, wash the dishes, say I love you, read to your child, call your mother, the list is endless. You decide.
I decided to write no matter what. So here’s my response to Gillian’s prompt.
G: What are the pros and cons of surrendering to what is?
P:  Ah, surrendering to what is … because it is what it is… and all that.
I had carefully crafted, saved, and sent a different response to myself earlier today. Thinking I’d only need to add a few lines and make a few edits this evening, I waited to open the attachment.  When I did, most of what I’d written was missing.
Was I happy?  No.  Did I want to forget I thought this was a brilliant idea?  Yes.  Did I instantly remember why public challenges are so challenging?  Absolutely.
And then it occurred to me it was the perfect way to illustrate the pros and cons of surrendering to what is.
I have a couple of choices as to how to proceed. I can painstakingly recreate what I wrote before.  I can write something completely different.  I can not write anything and lament an unfortunate onset of writer’s block.
Whatever I had planned for the perfect post has now morphed into something that simply shows I wrote no matter what happened to the first draft or how tired and frustrated I may be.
By surrendering to what is I open to myself to what is going on right here, right now.  Whether I like it or not, I honor it and myself by feeling it, allowing it, and letting it go. If I look close enough, there is always a gift.
Where I get stuck is complaining about what is, judging it, wishing it were anything other than what it is. It’s also where I tend to overlook the lesson I could be learning.
I once heard someone say you can’t hate or resent your way out of anything.  You can only love and accept your way out.  The best way I can do that – maybe the only way – is to surrender to what is.
And there you have it.
If you’d like Gillian to send you prompts to help you play your version of the No Matter What Game, please contact her at http://gillianpearce.com or https://www.facebook.com/GillianPearceCoach/.
Thanks for playing along with us!