Welcome to the 3rd week of October, 2015! As we head towards the end of this month, we approach a bunch of special holidays all of which involve fun, socializing with family/friends and eating a lot of food. Let me just remind you, no food is morally bad. The difficulty lies more with the quantity of food we eat irrespective of whether healthy or not. Excess food consumption or gorging in-and-of itself creates a lot more work on our digestive system which then ignites the stress response. Once stressed, the body releases cortisol and insulin which ultimately equates to fat storage and lean tissue depletion. Certainly, we can say that the poison is in the dose.
Halloween of course is right around the corner. This is a sweet holiday in every sense of the word! For many, there's a sentimental connection from childhood to this day/season with memories of going out in costume and bags in hand and ringing the door bells of others for a trick-or-treat! Our treat - candy! Jackpot!! As adults, we're surrounded by the special events of Halloween including dressing up our kids, giving out candy, going to costume parties, and seeing/eating candy just about everywhere we go - home, office, others' homes, local shops, etc.
Our brains are hard-wired to like sugar. And here's the ugly catch, food manufacturers DELIBERATELY make their candy as addictive as possible by creating perfect ratios of sugar, fat and salt designed to light up the pleasure sensors of our brain - (it's the same area in our brain that lights up with cocaine, heroin, etc.) Over time, we actually start to crave candy/sweets not just during Halloween, but always. (Note: the food corporations are doing a victory lap at about this point.)
I was certainly in the same boat with all of you on this. Here's a bit of what I do to maintain my authentic desires regarding what and how much I eat.
1) Deep Breathe - I start and end my day with slow, long breaths and access those breaths throughout my day. This helps to really ground me, become embodied and shift me to a place of calm. I deep breathe not just during/after a crave or stressful event, but in-between those times when things are fine.
2) Slow Down - I try as much as possible to slow down when I eat, even if it's just for 1 piece of candy. I like to sit quietly and without distraction and take in the food/sweet with all my senses by looking at what I'm eating, really tasting and smelling it, and becoming aware of its textures in my mouth. By slowing down, I actually enjoy whatever it is I'm eating that much more!
3) Avoid Temptation - Especially during Halloween season, when buying candy for the trick-or-treaters, I don't buy my favorite treat. In fact, my preference is to buy candy I don't like. This helps me enormously to not dive into the candy bowl. (If you bring candy to the office, try doing this as well.)
4) Be Kind - I'm not perfect, no one is. Of course there are times when I indulge in too much eating. When I do over eat, I don't beat myself up. Honestly! I find it much more soothing to talk to myself as I would a friend during their times of need. We really don't have to be perfect, we just have to be ourselves.
Please enjoy the upcoming holidays with calm, love and in great health! Be kind, be patient, and most importantly, be your beautiful self!
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