With another holiday season upon us, many are already joining the chorus that sings to ways of ‘squashing cravings’, ‘being good’, ‘avoiding over-indulgences’, and keeping our weight in check.
Holidays or no holidays – these are generally good ‘rules’ to live by. But part of the fun of living with rules, is figuring out which ones are genuinely meant to be broken – and then rebelling accordingly – (all in moderation, of course!)
Here’s the thing…. Whether it’s something we’re beyond passionate about, or something we practice daily as part of mere survival – such as eating & sleeping – we have to be sure that we don’t take it TOO seriously. When we do – it all spirals downward. Instead of remaining something that we can light-heartedly incorporate, and reap real joy from – it begins to wear us down to the nubs, and burn us out.
Generally speaking, there are 3 rules I tend to live by….
- staying true to myself,
- making a point of not intentionally harming anyone else,
- and paying my taxes.
The rest is typically (at least somewhat) negotiable!
While I’m big on keeping my food intake clean, and my toxin exposure low – there is a mildly rebellious “rule of thumb” that is even highly regarded by the most well-defined nutritionists and holistic docs… (Though remember, even the ‘experts’ aren’t always well-informed, or in some cases well-intentioned.)…. It’s the lovely 80/20 ‘rule’. Nothing too hard and fast – but a way for us to take it in stride, daily – and focus on progress and joy, rather than perfection. [Can I get a BA-MAA?!] It speaks to keeping it clean roughly 80% of the time, and indulging and enjoying – even in ‘guilty pleasures’, up to 20% of the time. If you ask me, this is one rule-of-thumb WORTH following.
FAR too many people in our society define ‘healthy’ as fat-free, or low-calorie. It’s incredibly inaccurate to say the least – and actually – the opposite of what our bodies really need to (re)learn how to burn fat stores as our primary source of fuel. *Besides that, the low-cal or fat-free versions of foods are often full of other health-busting inclusions that far out-weigh any potential ‘saved calorie’ benefits.*
Our culture, in particular, is nearly obsessed with calorie counting and fat intake.
But here are TWO THINGS to keep in mind:
- Calorie counting is a waste of mathematical intellect – (or in my case, a lack thereof.) The TYPES of calories/ WHAT we’re eating will impact us far more than the quantity. Eating healthy calories & fats doesn’t require keeping tabs, and your weight will naturally stabilize when you incorporate REAL wholesome sources of fuel into your daily habits.
- (Healthy) FAT is NOT the enemy!
So when it comes to holidays – or EVERY Day – here are some basic principles I would give my own kiddos to live by for indulging:
- Think about how you define food, and live accordingly (overall.) BUT – make occasional exceptions. If you want to consistently choose happiness and take a cue from the French culture toward aging well – we SHOULD indulge in moderation – especially on those special occasions. *That 80/20 rule-of-thumb applies here!
- Healthy Fat and calories are not what make us fat… For example – calorie-heavy, REAL (organic, pastured) butter (which I’ve also written more about HERE) promotes the burning of stored fats. This is FAR better for us than a less caloric, fake, and toxin-laden synthetic version, such as margarine [which aids in fat storage] – ANY DAY of the year. YES – the processed carbs, sugars, grains, and the unhealthy fats contribute greatly. That, along with our body’s inability to properly digest non-food-inculsions and other toxic processed ‘food’ ingredients… Then you have the chronic systemic inflammation brought on by such damaging food inclusions, toxins – plus chronic stress… THESE are the things that make us gain weight and make it so difficult to get back to or maintain a healthy weight.
**Personal Side Note: I have consistently needed to re-vamp my closet with each change of season over the past 6 years – GIVING AWAY CLOTHES THAT ARE TOO BIG ON ME! With each new tweak I make to my daily routines, toxin & gluten avoidance, + added health-boosts – [in other words, the MORE I LEARN about how to best fuel my body, mind & soul] – the more my body has benefited. That includes getting back to my ideal body weight and then some, after baby #2, and digging deeper into the details of my emerging health woes at that time.
*[I had thought I was ‘eating right’ for some years…. But many baby steps and then much more in-depth research later – I learned there was still so much being hidden from us about foods and toxins.]*
By digging for hidden health truths – I’ve transformed my health and my life! And my weight loss after baby #2, had NOTHING to do with counting calories…
See “before”, “during”, and “after” pix below for a visual~
**BEFORE: Meaning – before eliminating gluten, soy, GMO’s, plastic exposure, and really learning in-depth about many more of the hidden health hazards still prevalent in our foods… (2008)
With baby #2, the baby weight was stubborn as my gluten intolerance surfaced. I later discovered there was much more to it than just gluten…. Love that acne?
**DURING: With my continuing research into what is best for our bods… making progress. Still digging. Still learning more & more… Getting to the bottom of those hidden health TRUTHS! (2011-12)
**CURRENTLY! I’ve learned so much and have honestly never felt better. I kind of think I may have even “aged backwards“? What do you think?? [I look & feel better now than I did even 10 years ago – before babies!] (2015)
In summary, remember:
- You can still primarily stick to your body’s healthiest options while also indulging – simply by SUBSTITUTING. However, when we attend events or celebrate special occasions, we can decide on enjoying a few intentional ‘temptations’ in moderation (another French tid-bit-o-wisdom), and without the guilt. *Guilt is more harmful to our physical and emotional health than the toxic foods! It all intersects~
- Regardless of the season – we should consistently remain ACTIVE. Find what triggers your joy, and commit some non-negotiable time to whatever activities fuel your body AND your soul. Feeding both makes it a no-brainer, and keeps it FUN!
Basic Do’s & Dont’s: Don’t get hung up on perfection (impossible anyway, yo.) Don’t fret over the amount of ‘fat’/ ‘calories’ you may be consuming – but do consider which TYPES of fats/ calories you’re consuming. Just keep the otherwise-taboo or less-desirables to a reasonable limit – (think 80/20.) In other words, indulge & ENJOY in moderation, and feed your body, mind and soul in the process! Be diligent without being rigid. Substitute better options where you can, and generally let your body be your guide. And definitely – make the MOST of your holiday season – and every season – by leaning into joy, and maintaining a gratitude attitude.
And finally – lick that (organic, pastured) butter right off the knife!