So, peace out November... and welcome to December and the Holiday frenzy. I kind of freaked out when I realized Hanukah begins on December 5th this year. That's Saturday folks!
I realized how early Hanukah was this year on Thanksgiving morning when my son's dear friend was over hanging out with us. Watching the parade he casually asked, "We're having mashed potatoes with Thanksgiving dinner tonight, right?" Oops! Um,.. oh gosh, sure we are... so I got busy texting the hubby to pick up a bag of potatoes, and scrambled to come up with a healthy mashed potato recipe with 3 hours notice. Then I got a text from my son's other friend who was headed over to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, "Since we won't be in Dallas for Chanukah can we do latkes (that's fried potato pancakes eaten on Hanukah, for those of you who don't know)? I know they aren't very "Thanksgivingy" or healthy, but they are tasty!" I love these boys like my own sons, yet all these potato requests were stressing me out, .... but I digress!
The holidays can be a source of stress despite the pleasures associated with them. The food prep, the shopping, the lack of quiet time, and for many people...the cravings!! Which brings me to my big announcement, I am currently writing a book that is expected to be completed in the Spring and I can't wait to share it with all of you in my Harmonious Health Community. My book will be a simple step by step guide to many of the topics I teach in my Health Coaching Program. One of the big topics I work on with my clients is helping them to deconstruct their cravings, and how to satisfy them in a healthy way. Today I was working on the "Cravings" chapter of my book. I originally thought I would include it in the EATING section of the book. Then I realized, no, cravings need to be discussed in the section of the book that talks about HABITS TO CALM YOUR MIND, and here is why.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I have heard statements like this from clients and friends, "I was bad this week", "I f**'kd up yesterday", "I have no self control", "I suck I can't stick to anything". So much negative self talk, so damaging to our self-esteem when really, giving in to those cravings is brilliant. This negative self-talk upsets us, creates guilt, stress, and disappointment none of which are good for someone seeking good health and a calm state of mind. Learning what our body is trying to tell us through cravings is brilliant, we should feel great about ourselves when we notice our cravings, it means our minds are in tune with our body, and that is the first step in making baby steps toward a healthy diet and lifestyle. That is why I am including cravings in the MIND section of my book.
Cravings are your body's way of telling you what it needs, and when we listen to what our body needs, we are actually doing something wonderful for ourselves. Now don't get me wrong, I am not praising you for giving in to your craving for a pint of Ben & Jerry's. When we crave sweets our blood sugar is probably dropping, when we crave salt we are likely deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. We also have cravings related to mood swings, events (like an argument with your boss or friend), lack of exercise, memories (especially around holiday time). Smells and sounds can also trigger cravings, especially in December.
So during this busy time of year, stay alert to the cravings you are experiencing. Remember you are not weak for having them. Do the best you can to deal with them. If you need something sweet choose the healthiest sweet option available, do the same with salt cravings, stay hydrated, get fresh air, take a walk, stretch, and do the your best to eat a whole food diet which will keep you balanced and help minimize these cravings. Only a superhero can fight a craving. We are human, deconstructing cravings is a process, but sometimes step one, just recognizing them, before you give in to them, is the beginning of healthy progress.
As for my potato dilemma, the mashed potatoes mixed with rice milk and sea salt were delicious, and the latkes, sadly never made it onto the Thanksgiving table, they may show up this weekend in a healthier format if I can find a good recipe....but honestly I will likely make the real ones fried in vegetable oil, because I always CRAVE them this time of year!
For more info on surviving the holidays, for a one-on-one health coaching session with me during the December craziness, to motivate me to keep writing my book, to tell me if you are enjoying my blog posts, or that you just polished off a pint of Ben & Jerry's, send