As someone that's built a future around healing and wellness for others, I put a lot of pressure on myself to practice what I preach with everything I do – food, advice, business relationships, my marriage, everything.
In terms of health, I try to eat well most of the time. Eating green juices, macronutrients, and high-quality plant-based meals, and cutting out bad carbs, simple sugars, and restricting alcohol to a minimum – those are all things that I have worked on throughout the years and am still practicing.
But the food around during the holidays is often full of fats and sugars; we celebrate with meat, wine, alcohol, simple carbs, and a whole lot of bread. So how do those of us on healthy eating plans take part in the festivities?
With the holidays that just passed, I felt the desire to indulge in a change. By no means am I perfect. I gave into it and I owned it! So, like everything I do in my life, I dove in. I joined in the eating and some drinking that everyone else participated in. After all, being healthy is about being healthy in your mind, which includes being with others and being in the moment.
Still, I ate. I fell. I crashed – well, in a manner of speaking. But this was all okay since I had a plan.
Indulge with an Exit Plan
It’s okay for me to indulge, as long as I think things through with a full “get back on track” plan – and I must bet back on track quickly. Indulging has a major effect on people – if you don’t get back on track, it'll be tougher later, and may never happen. For me, my “get back on track” plan post-holiday was three days:
Day 1: The holiday ended on Saturday, so Sunday I was back on my green juice regimen. To really get myself back on track, I had a green juice of cucumbers, sprouts, and wheatgrass, no sugars whatsoever. I used Sunday to fast and cleanse.
Day 2: Monday was my day to go back to the gym and eat the highest quality, cleanest food that I could get my hands on. I ate enough to feel full, support my exercise regimen, and deflate. I hit the elliptical, treadmill, balance-based exercises, weights, and while I still wasn’t completely back to feeling myself, it felt great to be back.
Day 3: Tuesday I went back to my regime of liquid/green juice during the day, several high-quality meal replacements, and a hearty meal for dinner.
All three days I drank a huge amount of water – more than usual! I cut off my eating at 7:00 pm sharp and avoided sugars, carbs, and wheat. This isn’t as hard as you would think. Instead of having any high carb, high-fat food, I had delicious pesto on top of fresh veggies, fresh soups, and sprouted wraps (no wheat).
What We Eat Affects Our Lives
It’s important to realize the effects over-indulging may have on some people. I could feel that on Monday, even after I started my recalibration, I was feeling withdrawal-type symptoms. My body was off, and so was my mind.
Shortly after my cleanse I was feeling great. My mood was up, I was productive, my mind was clear.
The holidays and any meals with friends often put us in positions where we feel pressured to eat stuff we know we shouldn’t. We don’t want to be difficult and make things hard for our loved ones, so we smile and eat what’s available. This is an okay short-term plan, but it’s important to be aware of how food makes us feel, and how our moods change based on our diets. After all, life is about feeling the best we can and being our best selves.
Talking with our loved ones about our diet limitations can help us to avoid sticky situations where we end up feeling out of sorts. If you feel like you have to indulge and “crash and burn,” always remember to have the intention to get back on track fast – there is no other option. The goal is to feel good, so always do what’s best for you, your body, your mind, and your soul.
Norman Balassiano has 25 years of social services experience. Certified in Yoga-Meditation-Breathing technics and Hypnosis.