Happy Hormones these Holidays
Some typical scenarios and how to navigate around it:
THE SUGAR THING: Most family members LOVE baking allll the Christmas treats loaded with fuck tonnes of sugar. This isn’t just sugar-loaded products, but also carbohydrate-rich foods like processed bread, pastries, dairy and gluten etc.
Here’s the deal with sugar. Humans are hardwired to hunt out the sweet stuff as a survival mechanism for us to gain fat quickly in the wild during famines. Knowing that you will start to crave sweets after you have “just a few” of Mum’s gingerbread cookies can act as a helpful reminder where you are able to say to yourself ‘no I don’t actually need another one, my brain is just hardwired to want another one’. Christmas is about indulgences so enjoy a few sweets here and there, but try to just SLOWLY and MINDFULLY enjoy ONE and then come back for another one later. If you know that once you are off the bandwagon there is no getting back on it…then stick to savoury things this Christmas.
Family members will also tend to get offended when you don’t accept one of their sugar-loaded treats, so remember to explain nicely to them that sugar doesn’t make you feel good, or you are trying to not go too OTT this Christmas. Coming from a place of love and explaining to them that you are trying to support your hormones is an act of self-love. Don’t think that you have to be a people pleaser because what is going to happen if you do eat the cookie out of guilt? 1) you won’t even enjoy it so that was just a waste of sugar 2) you will feel disappointed in yourself after, and 3) you’ll beat yourself up … doesn’t sound too good now does it?
Solution: if you want to be able to indulge in some cookies for Christmas then how about you make your own and bring them with you? Make a batch to share with your friends and family and they may be pleasantly surprised how good healthy treats can taste! I recommend taking my Almond Butter Cookies (in my free ebook that is emailed to you when you subscribe) or my Chocolate & Pecan Christmas Cookies.
Make the decision to either eat the sugar in moderation or to not eat it. For me, eating unhealthy food isn’t worth it because I feel so sick after gluten, dairy and sugar.
So step 1) decide what you are going to do and 2) show up for yourself and make a dessert to bring to the function
IRREGULAR MEAL TIMES: Try and keep to your regular meal times. Often big lunches or dinners are served at odd hours like 3 pm so make sure you have a protein and fat rich breakfast to keep your blood sugar stable. If your blood sugar is low before you put yourself in front of a feast, then you are no longer in control. Once your blood sugar is low, the powerful neurotransmitters like ghrelin are going to take over and say “GET GLUCOSE!!! AND AS FAST AS YOU CAN” so you make a B-line to the “white” products.
ALCOHOL: Alcohol is a major endocrine disruptor so making sure that you are in a good relationship with alcohol is a major thing. If you choose to have some alcohol over the holidays, stick to clear spirits with soda water, red/white wine and the occasional glass of champagne (champagne is slightly higher in sugar). Make sure that you have a good game plan of what to do that night / the next morning to assist your body in recovering. Be sure to check my blog post here about not getting a hangover. Other good options to get rid of toxins are to take some charcoal tablets before you go to sleep that night and to drink plenty of water with some lemon.
THE PARTY YOU ‘HAVE’ TO GO TO: Don’t give in to obligations. Sometimes you just need time to rest and have an early night and going out to all the parties can be too much on your body and backfire. So listen to yourself and make sure that you are not giving in to obligations when you really don’t want to. Just ask yourself; What do you really want to do? (Think of it from a place of LOVE)
STRESS: From family members, shopping, traffic and just the crazy time of the year! Stress causes you to produce cortisol but when you run out of your body’s supply of cortisol, your body steals it from progesterone which is molecularly similar to cortisol and drains the supply of progesterone and so you’ll have terrible PMS in January. When your micronutrient reserve becomes depleted you will also not have a well-functioning endocrine system. Keep up your yoga, meditation and deep belly breathing!
Make sure you put in place your boundaries so that you can stay in your routine (as much as possible) and don’t get too drained too quickly. Choose your boundaries and stick with them. Women have been conditioned to be people pleasers, but you don’t need to give into that! Remember that once you fill your own cup up, you are better company for those around you! If you give into everything and then become a tired wreck, you won’t be much fun to be around anyway and you will get shocking PMS and disrupt your endocrine system (your hormones). Give yourself permission to say no and to do what your body feels like doing.
Also, play to your strengths during each different phase of your cycle so that you don’t deplete yourself. So if you are in your menstruation week, say no to the parties and stay home with your loved one(s) with a movie and a nourishing meal. It will make you feel a lot better and will help to heal your feminine spirit from the cultural conditioning that doesn’t serve you.
Why do the holidays have to come at the expense of your desires and your health?
My last tip is to walk after a meal. This will help your digestive system get going after you’ve had lots of food. Don’t worry about over-indulging, it’s Christmas after all! Enjoy the feast and eating a little too much and just be sure to move your body a bit that day. So go for a walk or jump in the pool (depending on where you are in the world) to get your body moving.