Mindfulness: What it is & how to practice it

Hi all! We are a little over one week into the new year, I hope it’s treating you nicely so far. A lot of us are taking this fresh start and using this motivation and momentum to hopefully make some positive changes in our daily lives.

I feel like I’ve become sort of a self-growth junkie, I’m always looking for ways to continue growing as a person. It’s very addicting!! There is always more you can be doing… honing down on your eating habits a little more. Putting down the phone, and picking up a book. Stop hitting the snooze, and getting up for your alarm every single day. And for me, most recently, being present in the moment.

Being present.

Sounds easy, right? Not really. Chances are, unless you are doing it purposely, you are never really being fully present in the moment that is happening. Our brains wander sporadically; we have no control over it. You could be thinking about what happened last night, what’s going to happen on the next episode of this show, how you’re going to do in your workout competition next month…. basically anything else. It is very, very hard to be still, calm, and focused on the moment that’s happening, right this second.

Mindfulness is defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (credit to http://www.mindful.org)

The purpose of mindfulness practices are to help relieve stress and anxiety, and bring more focus and attention into our every day lives. It helps you stop worrying about the future and regretting about the past. It helps you build more meaningful relationships. It’s also suuuuuper relaxing, leading to better sleep and more feelings of well-being, But just like anything in life, it takes practice– and the more you practice, the more benefits you will reap in your daily life.

There is a ton of literature on mindfulness, its purposes, its benefits, and how to get started. Believe me, I am no expert. I have only just begun my journey into attempting to be more mindful. What I don’t know a ton about, I try to read and learn as much as I can.

Probably the most popular mindfulness technique, and my newest obsession, is meditation. I’ve dabbled in meditation practice before but it never really stuck with me until now. I’ve been looking forward to it every single day since I’ve started! They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. I hope this becomes a habit for life for me!

Here’s a beginners meditation practice, that only takes a few minutes:

  1. Sit on a couch, chair, or the floor, with a straight back, and legs crossed in front of you.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Breathe naturally, don’t try to force it or control it.
  4. Focus on each inhalation and exhalation and how your body feels with each. You can focus on the air coming in and out of the nostrils, how the air fills and leaves your chest, or how your abdomen rises and falls… whichever you choose.
  5. Continue to focus on each breath. If you feel your mind start to wander, just gently bring it back.
  6. Start this practice for a few minutes at a time, and eventually for longer time periods.

 

There are a ton of resources out there for you if you wish to learn more, like myself. Meditation can be done on your own, practiced through yoga, or even through a mindfulness app. I recently have been loving this app, Calm, for my meditation. It tracks your progress- how many days in a row you’ve meditated, how many total hours you’ve meditated, and can send you a daily reminder to meditate.

It has all sorts of different programs: for beginners, for focus, for anxiety, for sleep, for gratitude, etc. (pictured below)! It even has sleep stories. Yes… bedtime stories for adults. It’s AMAZING! The guided meditations break down mindfulness, meditation, how and why to do it, and then continually expand your knowledge and hone in on the skills from there. I’m loving it so much and for only $5 a month, I’d say it’s worth it.

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As always friends, if anyone has any questions (but again, I’m no expert!) or comments, I’d love to hear them. If you are on a mindfulness journey as well I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Don’t ever forget- we can all pick up a daily habit that can help us grow and develop into our highest selves! What’s your’s going to be?

Your New Years “resolution”– making it sustainable.

It’s about that time of year again… that weird time in between Christmas & New Years when we don’t really know what’s going on or even what day it is.

Maybe your eating habits went to shit in the past week.

Maybe you’re exhausted from driving all over to visit your family or your significant other’s family.

Maybe you’re stressing about all the money you spent on Christmas gifts.

Maybe you’ve been binge-watching Netflix and become more anxious as it gets closer and closer to the day you have to go back to work.

We spend this time getting out all of our bad habits. Come January 1st, it’s a new year, 2018. New year, new you, right? This magic day comes and all of the sudden we’ve become experts on how to change our lives. Because it happens in one day, right?

Not quite. If you want to make a change in your life– whatever it may be, if you want it, and I mean really want it– you’re not going to wait. You’re going to do it right now. Not tomorrow, not Monday, not January 1st.

Why do you need a new year to be a better person? To change your diet? To start working out? To make more time for your boyfriend/girlfriend? To start meditating? To disconnect from social media? To limit your spending? If you want to do it, quite frankly, just do it.

Often times when we come up with a “goal” for our New Years resolution, it’s going to fail. I put the word goal in quotation marks because it’s actually not a goal. It’s just a person saying they’re going to do something. Unless you sit down and plan out the small, daily changes you are going to take to make this plan happen… it’s not a goal. Point, blank, period. (If you haven’t read my previous blog about goal-setting, you should).

Chances are, last year you had a resolution that didn’t go quite as planned. And the year before. And the year before. See the pattern? It all sounds well and good in our mind… maybe it works for a few weeks, or a few months. But it almost always never lasts. As soon as we lose motivation, it’s over with. Let me tell you- motivation will come, and it will go. Some days you will want to complete that task, some days you won’t. What comes, and stays, always, is discipline.

People who are disciplined don’t wait until a Monday to start a fitness program. People who are disciplined don’t let the holidays throw their diet into the garbage. People who are disciplined get the work done when they feel like it, and they also get the work done when they don’t feel like it. They make time for the things they want to make time for. They don’t do things that aren’t necessary. Every thing that they are in control of, they handle.

What I suggest you should do, instead of coming up with a New Years resolution, is to sit down and reflect on your actions and behaviors this past year.

What kind of person are you?

What kind of person do you want to be?

What bad things happened to you that you could have prevented?

How could you have reacted differently to things that were out of your control?

What do you do when you don’t feel like doing something?

How do you motivate yourself?

What drives you?

What do you wish you made more time for?

Are you willing to do something differently, every single day?

What is it that you want to change?

What bad habits do you want to get rid of?

From here, you probably have a good idea of what you would like to change about yourself. Now, it’s time to come up with a plan.  A real, sustainable plan needs to include DAILY changes (again, please refer to my goal-setting post!). Every single day you will have to do something differently, until the point where it becomes habit. That’s where the discipline kicks in– you’ve been doing it for so long you don’t even have to think about it anymore.

What we fail to understand over and over and over again, is how much power we have over our own lives. Your dream body, your dream job, your mentality, a great relationship, a bigger savings account. What it takes, is real, hard, effort, and discipline. The question is, are you willing?

Nobody can change your life, except for you. If you want something, you have to make it happen, for yourself.

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and New Years 🙂 friendssss, please contact me if you need help with goal-setting, ever!!! I would love to help.

 

❤ Rachel

 

 

Self-care is NOT selfish!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

You can’t keep giving, giving, giving… and never taking anything for yourself.

We have this idea that putting our selves, our needs, our wants, before other things in our lives is selfish. There seems to be a misconception in our world: there’s no way that we can take care of others, while simultaneously taking care of ourselves. Most of us think we have to choose between the two.

You shouldn’t have that voice in your head that stops you every time you get the idea to do something for yourself. You’re not being a hero by being self-less all the time. What you’re actually doing, is burning yourself out.

When I say “self-care”… I don’t necessarily mean taking yourself on a shopping spree, or getting your nails done, or going on a vacation, or rewarding yourself with your favorite food. I’m talking about mental self-care: things that make your soul happy, give you purpose, get you in touch with your feelings.

Have you ever found yourself getting angry or upset and lashing out on someone, and realizing later that it wasn’t them that upset you, that you were actually angry about something else? Have you ever felt so stressed out and started crying about something insignificant, then to realize it’s because you were absolutely exhausted?

When you aren’t in touch with our feelings, you tend to project them on others. This can obviously cause problems in relationships and cause you to lash out at those around you. Self-care, real self-care, begins with opening up to yourself about your feelings, your wants, and your needs. What do you want? What do you need? What calms you down? What keeps you sane?

I want to train 6x a week. I need to cook all my meals. Stretching and drinking wine calms me down. Relaxing on the couch, with my dog, catching up on some TV keeps me sane. These are the things I do to take care of myself.

Answer these questions, honestly. Now… are you making time for the answers to those questions? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But that’s what you should be doing.

Yes I get it, it’s easy for me to say. I’m a single 25-year old with no kids or anything like that. But listen to me… “I don’t have time” is not an excuse. There is someone out there, with a busier schedule than you, who is “making time.” If it is important to you, you will make time. And I hope I’m convincing to you right now, that it should be important to you.

I work 2 jobs, 50+ hours a week… nights, some early mornings, and weekends. I’m not complaining about my schedule, but every free second I get, I use. I use any free few hours to get the things done that keep me sane. I prep all my meals on Monday morning, it’s therapeutic and relaxing and makes me happy because I know it’s helping me towards my goals. When I can, I sit down and write because I enjoy getting my thoughts and ramblings on paper. If I have any downtime or a night off, I’m usually curling up on the couch and catching up on a TV show, only if it’s for an hour before I go to bed. After a long, hectic double at work, I love to come home, whip out a yoga mat, stretch and drink wine while watching a TV show.

Self-care also means learning how to say no. You don’t have to pick up that shift for that person. You don’t have to take on that extra project. You don’t have to keep making other people’s wishes and requests priorities over other things in your life.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your priorities. If you are not properly taking care of yourself, it means that you are not considering yourself a priority. How f*cked up is that?

So I challenge you, to prioritize. Make self-care one of your goals going into the new year. Put yourself first… FOR ONCE! Get rid of that nasty voice in your head telling you to stop being selfish. Because you’re not being selfish, you’re being smart. Your mind, your body, your soul… it’s the only one ya got. So take care of it. And you will reap benefits in all other aspects of your life. ❤

A Beginner’s Guide to Goal-setting.

Hey all! Happy Monday 🙂 the best day of the week is here again!

Call me an optimist, but I truly believe that all people want to do well and be successful for themselves. Whether it be excelling in their job field, raising a family, losing weight, etc– people usually have the best intentions and a good drive. Where the problem lies, is in the execution. Most typically have a tough time with putting their thoughts, ideas, and plans into action. While I am no expert, and I am always looking for ways to improve, I believe I can help someone reading this take a stronger approach to their goals, the way they set them, and actually making them happen.

I remember in college learning about this idea of “S.M.A.R.T.” goals. Obviously the acronym is supposed to help you remember, but the idea has always stuck with me because it just made so much sense. Goals are broken down so specifically they’re almost impossible not to follow through with (unless you get lazy- which could be the case). So here’s the foolproof way to get started on your goal-setting:

S- SPECIFIC

The first step in goal-setting is making your goals quite specific. Saying, “I want to lose weight” or ‘I want to get in shape” is too general, and not sufficient for success. For this, you should list all the “W” questions and how they apply to your goal.

WHO- Who’s involved to reach this goal?

WHAT- What specifically are you looking for? (details, details!!)

WHERE- If there’s a specific location or event, list it here (may not be applicable)

WHEN- There should be some sort of time-frame. We’ll delve a little more into this in the “timely” section.

WHY- What’s your WHY? What’s the reasoning? There has to be a good reason why behind any goal.

M- MEASURABLE

For your goal, there needs to be some way to measure your progress. If you can measure your progress along the way, it’s motivating and can push you harder to keep going. Maybe you need to set some milestones on the way to your ultimate end-goal.

For example: my goal is to achieve 10 unbroken strict pull-ups by the spring. As of right now, I can only do 2 or 3 unbroken strict pull-ups. I write out some SMART goals, come up with a strength plan, and begin the program. Fast forward two months, while I can’t do 10 pull-ups yet, I am able to do 7. I know I am closer to my goal than I was before, because I have found a way for me to measure my progress on the way.

A- ACHIEVABLE/ATTAINABLE

First, you need to assess your limitations and level of commitment. Your goal can’t be so far-fetched, or you’ll be set up for failure.

Be honest with yourself. How much time do you have to devote towards this goal? How hard are you willing to work? Are you willing to make serious, daily changes? If the goal and the commitment level don’t match up, it may be a good idea to revise the goal a little bit.

Say you want to lose 75 pounds. It’s going to be a long road, and going to take a hell of a lot of time, discipline, sweat, and tears. It’s not going to be easy. Maybe first, set a goal and tackle that first 25 pounds. Then after that, another 25 pounds, then after that, the last 25 pounds. This way, it doesn’t become overwhelming.

R- REALISTIC/RELEVANT

Here, you should take some deeper thought into the “Why” section from the Specific section. Why are you actually doing this? Is this goal worthwhile? Will it have positive effects in other aspects of my life? Will I care about this in 5 years? Will this goal be fulfilling your desires, or is there something else that’s more important?

Ultimately, the goals you set are totally personal, and can be whatever you want. Nobody else can come up with a goal for yourself, but yourself. But make sure they are important, will make you happy in the long run, will set you up for success, and are being done for you–nobody else.

T- TIMELY

All great goals have a time constraint. It is SOOO necessary. If there’s no time-cap, it’s not a goal, it’s just you saying that you want to do something.

Here’s some examples:

I want to lose 25 pounds by the summer.

I want to have 3 new clients in the next 3 months.

I want to get my website set up by January 1st.

I want a sub-6 minute mile by March.

When there is an ultimate end-date, you realize every day that you actually have to move your ass and get the work done, if you want to be successful (which I believe we all do).

I hope this article is the kick in the ass you didn’t know you needed. There’s really no way to get what you want in life without putting in this kind of effort. Grab a notebook and sit down. Take five minutes to think about what’s important to you. I know you’re ready to make a change!! Go through the steps, in detail, don’t leave anything out. Keep your writing somewhere where you can read it every day if you have to. Be your own motivation. Realize that nobody’s going to do the work for you. Talent and luck will only get you so far in life– hard work and relentlessness is so much more fulfilling. Think of how good it will feel when you finally reach that goal you’ve been dreaming about, and how proud of yourself you’ll feel.

Get after it!

Comparison is The Thief of Joy.

Starting this one off with an ol’ Teddy Roosevelt quote because it is soooo fitting. I’ve been thinking about this topic, comparison, for awhile now, because it is an innate human trait… something that we can all relate to. Everyone, at some point in their lives, has compared themselves to someone around them. Probably every single day. Probably multiple times a day.

Comparison can be the thief of your joy because it can begin to eat away at your happiness and your own self-worth.

Comparison can manifest itself it many ways:

“Wow, that dress looks so good on her. I wish my waist was that small.”

“They’re getting married already? They haven’t been dating as long as us.”

“I didn’t know he was making so much money.”

“They’re just really lucky.”

With comparison, often comes jealousy. And we all know, jealousy is the ugliest trait. In today’s age, it’s super easy to compare and be jealous of others with our constant access to their achievements and whereabouts via social media accounts. Facebook is mainly used to post about graduating college, job promotions, buying a home, engagement announcements, travel pictures, etc. Have you ever found yourself withholding a “like’ from someone because you thought they were bragging or boasting? Come on, be honest. If you have, the problem lies within yourself. Why was it so hard for you to just be happy for them? Because you were comparing yourself to them… because you were jealous.

The problem is, suddenly everything becomes a competition. We begin to put each other down, rather than support each other. Someone is labeled as the winner, while the other is the loser.  Someone is no longer viewed as a living, breathing human, but just for their looks, their height, their success, their bank account, their relationship, their abilities.

Who’s to say that person “bragging” about their job promotion on Facebook didn’t just come out of a really rough time? Maybe they put their friends, family, and relationship on the back burner for months, put in countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears, and was finally rewarded for it?

It’s impossible to take one piece of information and run with it. You can’t be envious of one part of a person’s life without knowing the whole story. Everyone, and I mean, everyone, has a life of up’s and down’s, good and bad, gains and losses, achievements and shortcomings. Nobody’s life is without any disappointment. We can’t pick and choose the life we want– we can’t have the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect life. We all find our own way and when we work hard the right things fall into place for us. Anyone who is giving the notion that they have the perfect life by showing you only their highlight reel– is lying.

What’s really the issue here is this illusion of what our life is supposed to look like. College right after high school, getting a job right after college, finding someone, getting married and having kids by the time you’re 30, buying a house, working until you have enough money to retire, and putting your kids through college so the process can just be repeated over, and over, and over again.

You compare your life to someone else’s and become envious when something has happened to that person that hasn’t happened to you yet, or it has, but theirs is perceived as “better” in your mind. It’s this perceived notion of “better” or “worse” that affects your happiness. The path you’re on isn’t better OR worse, it’s just differentEveryone is on a different path.

Everyone’s timing is different. Some take a few years off before they go to college. Some don’t go to college at all. Some don’t find a wife or husband by the age of 25, some do. Some never get married at all. Some have kids before they get married. Some never have kids at all.

I’m 25 years old, living at home, single AF, with a college degree but not using it. A lot of my friends are in their own apartments or houses, getting married, having kids, and have already started their career. If I was caught up in the way my life was “supposed” to look like, and constantly comparing myself to those around me, I’d be pretty damn upset with my circumstances. But I’m not! Because I know my path is different, and I’ve accepted it.

It’s impossible to break the habit completely. You’ll never be able to not make comparisons to those around you. What you can do, is not let it affect your own happiness and your own self-worth. I read a quote one time that has kinda stuck with me… “Just because she’s pretty doesn’t make you any less pretty.” That’s a reminder that what’s going on with someone else, has little to no effect on you. One person’s good fortune does not mean you can’t have good fortune as well. Love, happiness, success, health, good relationships… they are infinite. There’s plenty to go around. Remember that!

 

Challenge Yourself: Breaking Up With Your Cellphone

Happy Monday my peopleeee!! Yes you read that title correctly! As per usual, I’m here to share my random ramblings, in hopes of making you think about some things in your life a little more and to make some positive changes about them.

Last week I read this article about “social sabotage” and how it’s ruining your training (in regards to Crossfit). Social media was a big issue in this article. The writer talked about how your training time should be a complete break from your cellphone, you should put it on airplane mode or even turn it off and stow it away to avoid distraction. I thought about how often I check my phone during my training (A LOT!). Checking a group message, checking notifications, scrolling through Instagram in between sets… it all sounded so ridiculous as I was thinking about it.

So, since then, I’ve been noticing how much I use my phone, inside and outside of the gym. I’ve been reading a lot about cellphone addiction and how to kick it. And I’m really willing to try, even though I knooooow how hard it’s going to be. While writing this, I had to get up and go to the bathroom, and it legit took everything in me not to grab my phone and take it with me. WTF!? Why was that so hard??

We have become so conditioned to checking our phone every 5 seconds. There’s so much psychology behind it, there’s legitimately a dopamine release in your brain when you hear your phone go off with a notification. We let our worth be determined by how many “likes” we get. We scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…. check our email, then by that time, it’s time to go back to Instagram again. It’s a vicious cycle until we realize we’ve spent 40 minutes just sitting there, in a daze. But at the same time, the most-used excuse in the book for not doing things is “I don’t have time.” Really? There’s plenty of damn time, we’re just not being very attentive at what we’re allotting our time for.

So… There’s all kinds of tips and tricks out there to help you curb your data usage, for personal and monetary purposes. These ones are the best (in my opinion) that I’ve found, some harder than others!!! But if you’re willing to make a change, as always, know that it will be worth it!

Keep your phone out of the bathroom and bedroom.

Yikes. This one is going to suck. Everyone I know takes their phone into the bathroom with them. God forbid, you be alone with your thoughts for 5 minutes. I say the best way to kick this habit is keep a book or a magazine in the bathroom. Bedroom… now that’s going to be the really hard part. First step is going to be to stop using your phone as an alarm clock. Most of us spend 20 minutes on our phones first thing in the morning, before our feet even touch the ground. Your phone alarm goes off, and you immediately begin scrolling. Don’t deny it. Sometimes I have to pee so bad but I still sit there on my phone for a good amount of time.

You could have already gotten up, washed your face, brushed your teeth, used the bathroom, gotten dressed, been downstairs making your coffee and breakfast. Most of us feel super rushed in the morning… wouldn’t it be nice to use our time wisely and not have to run around like a crazy person?!

So, my solution for this is to keep your phone entirely out of the bedroom- at night, and in the morning. Both my parents charge their phones downstairs, while the bedrooms are upstairs. It’s definitely doable. I plan to buy an alarm clock, put my phone on the charger downstairs ONE HOUR before I go upstairs/go to bed, and not look at it again until I come downstairs in the morning.

Turn off your notifications, or better yet, delete apps.

Most of us grab our phones immediately once it goes off, whether it’s an email, text, Facebook notification, or Instagram like. The easiest way to avoid this is to turn off the notifications altogether. You’re less likely to open an app when you don’t have a notification for it. Put your group messages on “Do Not Disturb.” You will still receive the texts but they won’t pop up on your lock screen.

If you’re feeling really brave, delete apps altogether. If you are refreshing Instagram every 5 minutes, you should delete the app, because at this point, you’re checking it incessantly regardless of whether you have a notification or not. You can delete the Facebook or Twitter or Instagram apps and still keep your account.

Monitor your usage & set realistic limits.

It sounds counterproductive, but there are apps out they you can acquire to track your phone use. They can tell you how many times you checked your phone, and how many minutes in total you’ve been on your phone. You can set them up for time limits while you’re on the phone, and send you reminders when you’re getting close or going over your time limit.

For people who need numbers and time constraints for structure, this is perfect. You can allot yourself x amount of time on your phone each day, and hold yourself accountable to that. You can say “ok, I’ll give myself 90 minutes of phone time a day, and no more than 15 minutes in one sitting.” Perfect. Vow to yourself not to go over the limit.

Keep it in your car/bag/purse/jacket.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s much harder said than done. Using your phone as a distraction can become a problem in your life in regards to the relationships around you. You can see it anywhere. A couple out to dinner together, both pairs of eyes glued to the phones in their hands. We’re literally missing out on life in front of us. Leave your phone in your bag, or better yet, your car. It’s much less accessible this way rather than having it on the table right in front of you. If you make this a habit, you begin to not even think about it! And you will crave your phone less and less each time.

When driving, keep the phone in the center console, or in your bag. We text and drive far too often, even when we know how dangerous it is! Keeping it out of arm’s reach can be helpful, and safe. If you’re on a long drive, have someone in the car check the phone or respond to texts for you, or check it only at a red light (when you are at a complete stop!!!)

Focus on REAL THINGS you have to get done.

Every day, make a to-do list of things you have to get done. Whether it’s at work, on a day off running errands, or during your training session– write everything down. Promise to yourself you won’t check your phone until it’s finished. Then, you can reward yourself with some phone time. I tried to do this while writing this blog, I said “I’m not gonna check my phone until I’m finished writing.” I failed. Haha, just being honest. This is a true test of your mental willpower. Willpower, like a muscle, gets stronger when you train it. So do it! Challenge yourself!!!

 

 

 

It truly is an amazing thing that we have access to such a wide array of technology today. We basically have the world at our fingertips. I’m not going to try to act like our smart phones are a bad piece of technology. If it wasn’t for smart phones and social media I couldn’t get my writing and this blog out there to the public how I would like. If it wasn’t for smart phones and social media I couldn’t be inspired and motivated on a daily basis by the people I follow on Instagram. But, the way we’ve been conditioned to become so attached to our phones, specifically in this generation, is in no way good for us. So take this challenge with me. Test your willpower. Make positive changes. Prioritize your time. Put what’s truly important first and foremost.

Have a good week everyone!!

The Holidays & Developing a Healthy Relationship With Food

First and foremost– HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Today is one of the best days of the year (in my opinion). You get to see your family, old friends that are back in the area, drink some wine, eat some good food, and have a few days off of work. With that being said, this is the time when people tend to lose their shit a little bit… I’m talking health/eating wise. This is the day when all your eating habits go to shit, and slowly go downhill until Christmas time and New Years. Typically most say to themselves “I’ll start a diet once the holidays are over.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Newsflash: what if I told you the holidays doesn’t mean you have to throw it all away?!?

If this is hitting home right now while you’re reading this, I’m just gonna break it to you, you don’t have a healthy relationship with food. If you have no self-control, if you starve yourself all day in preps for a holiday meal, if you binge and then immediately after feel guilty… you do not have a healthy relationship with food.

But good news! You can begin to develop a better relationship with food. But you have to start right now… today. And I’m here to tell you how!

Fill up on the good stuff.

Try to make the majority of your plate the stuff you know is good for you (or not totally terrible for you). Today, for example… load up on turkey and veggies and sweet potatoes. I’m not saying don’t go for the other stuff, but try to pick and choose your carbs here. Take a small portion of mashed potatoes or rolls or something like that. Or, if you’re like me, save the majority of the carbs for dessert!! You DO NOT need a serving of every single carb at the table. If you want to have all of it, take a small portion of each one. This is where people usually go overboard.

Practice mindful eating.

S L O W  I T  D O W N !!! Savor the food as you eat it. Don’t eat it just to eat it. Food for today and most holidays are are prepared all day long and they taste damn good, so appreciate it! Don’t rush it and don’t get distracted. We usually overeat when we’re just mindlessly chomping away, not even tasting it or enjoying it. If you grab a slice of pie, really notice how f*cking good it is and how your body feels when you eat it. The more mindful you are, the less likely you are to overeat.

Kickstart your metabolism starting that morning.

If you know you have a big meal coming up– Thanksgiving, Christmas, a New Years Party, a work holiday party… most people have the tendency to starve themselves or eat super light that day in preps for it. Do not do that. It’s the same concept when you hear people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.– eating a good breakfast is better for you than not eating anything at all. The day of, you should eat a good breakfast, and get a good workout in, so your metabolism will be ready for that big meal come nighttime. If you eat multiple meals a day (like me), stay on track for the entire day. Obviously, you will be getting some extra calories in during that last big meal, but think about it… it’s one meal. It won’t kill you, or deter all your progress.

Don’t stress about it!

There’s enough in life to stress about. Don’t add food to the list. If you want some dessert, go for it. If you want some more wine, go for it. I will never be the one to tell you not to. Remember always, food is fuel. We need it. But there’s a different between wanting and needing. And there’s a huge difference between wanting something, letting yourself have some, and going completely overboard. Use your brain and learn how to set boundaries and practice self-control, it will take you a long way in life. Enjoy the food, let go of the guilt, and remember tomorrow is a new day!