Why we started our New Year's Resolution NOW!

My family generally eats very “clean”.  I cook most meals at home (rather than eating out) from organic, unprocessed whole foods without additives, preservatives, dyes, or GMO’s.  We eat grass fed, organic beef and chicken, pastured eggs, wild-caught fish, whole grains, and tons and tons of veggies.  But I admit we have fallen off the wagon a bit since Thanksgiving with our family in town and then an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico.  IMG_9589_copy1

So, last night my husband said he wants to go Paleo again “after New Year’s,” and that got me thinking…  I’ve been hearing the same thing from my friends and clients (“I’m just going to eat whatever I want over the holidays and start eating right after New Years”.)  I realized we are all in the same boat, thinking the same thing!  So, I decided we are going to start that New Year’s Paleo plan now, but we will allow some flexibility for the occasional indulgence to avoid completely throwing in the towel and falling victim to the negative eating cues surrounding us everywhere.

That got me thinking about how to avoid weight gain over the holidays and I started doing some research.

Why do we gain weight over the holidays?  There are many reasons, but predominantly stress, broken routines, and emotional associations with food.

So, what do we do?

We are doing Paleo (the sign is courtesy of our boys :)
because we both feel better and less bloated with less carbs, we will get plenty of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which studies show is linked to weight loss, and the lack of carbs will curb any holiday weight gain.  

But not everyone feels best eating the same way, so KNOW YOUR BODY.   Regardless of the style of eating, PICK SOMETHING.  Pick a plan.  If you have no plan, you will undoubtedly fall into the hands of countless plates of cookies, glasses of champagne, and tubs of chips and dip.

CLA is found in it’s highest content in grass-fed beefIMG_9613 (these are grass-fed meatballs over zucchini "noodles"), or milk (significantly more than standard beef) and pastured, grass-fed eggs.  If you are a vegetarian, you can also use supplements.

However, trying to be 100% perfectly anything over the holidays could turn equally disastrous as eating whatever you want.  Not many people have that kind of will power.  And then, if you fall off the wagon, you will likely never get back on and just stay sinking in piles of mashed potatoes.  
If you don’t feel like you fall victim to holiday temptations, or really don’t want to make any major dietary changes per-say, just try doubling your water intake and green leafy vegetables this month.  I bet you see a big difference with just that one change!


I mentioned one of the main reasons for weight gain over the holidays is the emotional associations with certain types of food, and in #1 I mentioned we don't want to try and be 100% perfect over the holidays.  If you grew up having Pumpkin Pie every Christmas, and it brings happy memories just thinking about it, do you really want to deprive yourself of that just because you are on “a program”? 

Think about where you will be over the holidays.  Who will be there?  When are the parties?  What particular treat do you find irresistible or crave the most?  Do you eat when you’re stressed or for social celebration? 

If it’s social celebration, pick your poison.  Perhaps instead of 2 glasses of wine, just have 1.  Or, if you’re going to have 2, skip the pie.   If you love your Mom’s pie, maybe skip the wine and ask for a ½ piece and skip the whipped cream.  Just make sure you have a plan, and keep track of it.  Each night mentally (or better yet, physically note) what were the day’s indulgences?  Can you do better tomorrow or did you stay on track with your plan. 

I for one, will DEFINITELY looking forward to 1/2 a piece of cheesecake on Christmas!


For me, the holidays can be an extremely stressful time.  This Christmas I will have 2 parents, a mother-in-law, my husband, my son, my step-daughter, step-son, and 2 dogs in a 1900 sq. foot house for the better part of 10 days and probably off-and-on 3 or 4 other neighbor kids.  It will be a wonderful, joyous, festive and LOUD house.  I will be cramming in last minute shopping and wrapping as I always do.   
But one thing that will not fall by the wayside is my daily self-care.  For me, that’s yoga.  It keeps me sane and grounded.   It could be at one of my two favorite studios, Charleston Power Yoga and Satsang or just in my backyard if time doesn't permit a class.  But I DO NOT SKIP IT.

This can be anything that soothes you.  Just pick something that makes you feel good, and do something for yourself every single day.   Even if it’s something you already do, just having the intention that it is self-care, can make a difference.  You will feel proud that you are nurturing yourself in a season where we so often only nurture others.

You will feel less like you need to fill a void with food if you fill it with something truly nurturing, I promise you. 

It doesn’t have to be long.  Maybe a 10 minute walk by yourself or with your husband, A nightly bath with some candles, 10 minutes of morning meditation or journaling, a pedicure or massage (but you can’t do that every day and it’s pretty time consuming), or a 30-minute “time-out” from the kids to research Pinterest recipes.  Don’t skip it. 

It’s critical, especially if you are an emotional eater.  Plus, you will be such a much better Mom, step-mom, wife, and daughter if you are centered, grounded and able to keep your cool with everything the day throws your way.

Lastly, remember to BREATHE!  Even just a few minutes of soft belly breathing can make all the difference in your mental clarity, stress tolerance, and heart rate.  And this can be your self-care too!  Sit in a chair with your back straight and feet on the ground, or lay down with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.  Inhale to the count of 4 and let your belly rise (not breathing just into your chest)).  Exhale the count of four and pull your belly in.  I’ll talk more later on the benefits of this type of breath.  For now, just do it…. Every single day throughout the holidays.  You might just find you do it every day for the rest of your life!

Many of you have daily exercise routines because you know the benefits of exercise in terms of weight control, mood, energy, sleep, stress-reduction, combating chronic illness, etc.  So why are our exercise routines one of the first things to go over the holidays?  IMG_9609_copy4

"Lack of time".  That’s the biggest reason I hear. 
My exercise is my self-care so I kill two birds with one stone (I hate that expression).  

So, hopefully your exercise regimen is something you like to do, something that soothes you.  If not, pick something else this holiday season, but DO NOT SKIP it.  It’s as important as the Christmas shopping and family time.   It doesn’t have to be an hour at the gym, which turns into 2 hours with travel and shower time.  A simple brisk walk around the neighborhood will do.  If you can, bring your family with you and then you get family time too!  If they are not interested, stick to your guns.  This is something you need and deserve.  Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself.

I hope you found something in here that resonated with you.  If so, post in the comments below.  And have a happy, healthy, low-stress holiday.

Leave a comment. I would LOVE to hear from you!

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