It is around this time of the year where time really does grow wings, shifts firmly into gear, and quickly flies off into the past. You contemplate the year that has just gone by, only so long until you’re overcome with that nervous excitement embedded in your stomach for the holidays, a new year, and a fresh chapter in our ever changing lives.
I consider myself very fortunate. My memories of Christmas have always been filled with happiness and great times with loved ones. Once again this year is shaping up to be just the same. By all accounts, we’ll have a big stuffed turkey awaiting us, multiple brews, and an abundance of tastes and flavours to choose from.
So I take that this is now the part of this message that as a health and nutrition guy, I should be guiding you through a list of what and what not to do for the fun times ahead. Maybe you’d like to know how to lose weight over the break, or grow some visible abs. Talk of the New Years Resolution should probably come up somewhere too.
It is health we’re referring to after all.
But no. For the moment, I’ll abstain.
Unless you have lived under a rock, or worse, without Facebook, I take it that I do not have to elaborate on the details of recent current affairs. Sieges in our own beloved city, civil wars, bombings, and epidemics around the world have resulted in the premature ending of dreams, and ultimately the loss of innocent life.
Back in time Now, I find myself turning the pages in my diary and pondering the extent of my own experiences for the year. When compared to the fortune of so many others, the deepest gratitude is all I can have. Both for the people around me and for the situation I find myself in.
My family, my clients and friends, and training partners, all contribute to who I am. You love me, trust me, support me, and read my work. You are the reason why I am here right now. Thank you.
And it doesn’t stop there either. Strangers who I’ve never met -you could have run me off the road today, or dropped a coconut on my head, or whatever. But you didn’t. Thank you.
With this in mind, here’s my first tip for the Christmas feast. No, let’s go all out. Make this your new years resolution too.
Express gratitude. Understand that you are truly privileged to be in this exact situation right now. Be thankful for the good times that are available to you. Be grateful for every lesson you’ve realised throughout your life so far.
Love your neighbour. Be kind. Acknowledge that you are part of an interdependent web that is infinitely bigger than you.
Most importantly, love yourself.
Practice self-compassion. Be mindful of the tone of the voice that hangs out with you in your head every day. Don’t be your own worst critic. Instead, talk to yourself with love and respect in the same way you would talk to your friend.
We can’t be kind to others if we aren’t kind first to ourselves. Someone famous has probably already said that. It’s important enough to be heard again.
When you do this for yourself, you soon realise that the food and drink we consume on Christmas has less to do with calories, protein, and carbs, and more to do with the innate joy of being alive.
And when it does come to the eating part, think less about what you should and should not eat.
Shoulds never work anyway.
Instead, your goal is to savour the taste, aromas, and feelings of those meals, and those moments that make Christmas time what it is.
Enjoy the food that is on offer. Eat slowly. Talk with loved ones. Savour the smells. Contemplate the tastes. Chew your food. Talk some more. Chew some more.
Focus on this one thing, and everything else will fall into place nicely.
Enjoy your break.
And as always, Thank You.