Your Guide To Easily Navigating The Holiday Eats & Treats

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and the blogosphere is all a twitter concerning holiday weight gain. One site claims that Americans gain, on average, 5 – 10 pounds during the holiday season and other sites simply “explain” the phenomenon – too much food.

And it’s not just the Internet that is focused on this concern. It is the topic of magazine headlines. Morning talk shows and media outlets now dedicate precious time-segments to experts offering up all sorts of “tips and tricks” to avoid that dreaded holiday weight gain.

While some viewers pay very close attention to tired, overused and rehashed material (eat a salad before going to the holiday party, use a small plate when going through the buffet line, be sure to drink plenty of water, make sure you stay consistent with your calorie-busting workouts), others tune the topic out completely, resigning themselves to “inevitable” weight-gain. They want to enjoy the holidays – and the food. The season only comes once a year. They’ll just start that diet and exercise program in January.

From my perspective, it is neither the holiday season nor its extra food that is the real source of the holiday weight gain. In addition to all the extra food, the season is filled with extra financial burdens and more festivities – which often include friends and family. And while the season is theoretically a time of celebration and joy, it is often a time of stress. Yet even the extra stress of finances, festivities, friends, families and food cannot be deemed the “culprit” in our struggles with holiday weight gain.

In my humble opinion, the true source of our weight struggles – especially during the holiday season – is this cultural “diet and exercise” model.

While I have yet to meet the person that truly believes our body is simply the result of calories in/exercise out – we all know the Skinny Minnie who eats truckloads of food and the heavy person who eats nothing but salads (attributing both conditions to their “metabolisms”) – this calories in/exercise out idea is the fundamental core premise from which we operate.

And this is the same mindset from which all of these “experts” provide their helpful tips and tricks. This is the mindset that – thanks to the media – is constantly in the forefront of our consciousness. It is the mindset that is our default and the mindset that drives our relationships to and our experience of food, exercise and our body.

There are many negative consequences of the conventional, cultural “diet and exercise” idea. But during the holiday season, the biggest problem with this model that it disconnects us from our body.

In the “diet and exercise” approach we only get so much to eat – anything else is going to “cost” us – either in terms of exercise or weight-gain. So we must disconnect from our body – disconnect from our hunger – in order to stay within our allotted means. And to help us disconnect from our body, we can engage in these expertly provided tips and tricks!

And that is the real problem. These oft suggested “tips and tricks” are designed to “trick” us – to fool us – to override our body’s natural impulses and bury them with artificial behavior. They are designed to keep us disconnected from our body. And this disconnection from our body is the source of our weight struggles.

When we can surrender the cultural, conventional “diet and exercise” approach to weight management, we suddenly have the space and the grace to connect with our body and its wisdom. Our body can create and maintain Life itself! Surely, it knows how to create an optimized state of health, vitality and beauty.

Our body knows what, when and how much to eat. Our body knows what, when and how much to exercise. Our body knows when we are stressed out – oftentimes before our conscious mind is aware of it. Our body has wisdom and an intelligence that we have yet to comprehend. And when we are connected to it, we instinctively make choices that contribute to our wellness.

So if you want a real technique for enjoying the food of the holiday season and keeping your waistline intact, here it is: Connect with your body. Tune out the media madness and connect with your body. It will be your guiding light through this food-filled, festive time.