This is not the time of year to think about losing weight. More like the time to fight temptation around every corner, not kill a family member, survive the gauntlet of holiday parties, and double your stress over the next five weeks.

But that doesn’t mean you want to go gain 12 pounds over the next five weeks and then add that to your list of problems to tackle on New Year’s! So what about a sane, happy middle?

That’s what I’m going to teach you how to achieve in this Holiday Survival Guide-

· Simple tools to keep your weight exactly where it is today

· Ways to survive the litany of holiday parties

· Tools to keep your stress at a manageable level so you cannot only survive, but have a meaningful, memorable and healthy holiday season!

So let’s roll up our sleeves and get started.

First, let’s tackle mindset. If you know my teaching, that’s where I always want you to start. Go into any season with a goal that doesn’t make sense and you’re destined to end up in a pile of self-judgment…but somehow I know more people than I can imagine who have unrealistic expectations for the holidays and no real plan.

Your mindset should be on a zero-sum gain. Not 5 lbs lost. Not 12 lbs lost. ZERO. Your goal from now until January 2nd (2015 that is for those procrastinators out there), is to not gain a pound or an inch. Think you can do it?

Next, let’s talk about parties. You’ve got two options here. You can either keep party days as your cheat days, or if you have more than one a week, you can go in with a fool-proof plan for success. It’s your call.

Here are a few best practices that are actually realistic and work. No more, just eat veggies and skip out on dessert. That’s what really skinny people who’ve never struggled with weight their entire life offer as “support.” Thanks, but I actually like food and it’s not that easy.

Tools that actually work:

· Eat half a meal or a solid snack BEFORE you go- you’ll give your body time to feel a bit full so your natural shut-off valve can actually be triggered. Your body secretes a hormone, leptin, that tells you when you’re full. Most over eaters and party goers put a fire hose of food down their throat before leptin can tap you on the shoulder and say, “dude, 3 passes over the buffet is quite enough.”

· Fill a plate with smart, low-glycemic dishes like protein, fruit and veggies. Eat all you like. Have a nice conversation with someone not wearing a Christmas sweater, then consider going back for more. Remember, give ms. leptin a chance to respond

· Canvas the dessert table strategically. DON’T look for the one with the lowest calories! Bah humbug. Again, that’s advice from people who don’t love food. I want you to canvas for the ONE thing you’d absolutely love to eat. Grab a normal humans (or European if there’s one there) sized portion of said desert, and have at it.

You can use 1, 2, or all three of these helpful tools for holiday party success. They all work, and they’re actually reasonable.

Lastly, since we’d like to keep you out of jail, let’s discuss how to stay peaceful with your family during these amazingly jam-packed holiday weeks.

First, come to our meditation class TONIGHT (November 20th) @730pm. I’ll be teaching the perfect holiday de-stress meditation complete with real life tools for chilling out. We offer meditation every other Thursday night at 730pm if you miss this one.

Second, refuse to go at the speed of society. American culture is flat out too fast. I don’t care how much you enjoy the buzz, the stress level we endure, especially around holidays, is just too much for healthy living if you keep it up.

If you don’t want to get sick, gain weight, and live with crazy high stress then fight the urge to keep up with the speed of society.

In Chinese medicine, the concept of yin and yang is paramount. America is obsessed with yang. Emotional health, and really all health, depends on a balance of action and rest, yin and yang. And if the holidays are one thing, they are YANG!

To make matters worse, they are yang right at the time that the earth is moving towards yin- winter. It really is a tough time of year to ask so much of ourselves.

It’s obvious that we need to cultivate/promote some yin time for you. That can come in many forms- think rest, naps, meditation, calm walks (not inside a mall), pleasant conversation in front of the fire, and staying in at night when you feel tired.

Now I can hear you saying, “ha ha ha ha. Slow down? I haven’t got any time to slow down.”

Well, you can choose to slow down or you will be slowed by your health at some point. But beyond that, you’ve got to ask yourself the question we ask in coaching- “What are you willing to do?” If you’re not willing to take naps or sleep in, what are you willing to do?

Here are some good Yin activities that will up your success:

· Take 5 minutes a day to visualize the stressful events you’re about to experience…and see them going the best possible way. Script in your mind how you want them to go. Really see yourself in those events staying calm, enjoying yourself, feeling grateful for them, etc.

· Get some acupuncture. I treat many clients this time of year to help them restore yin. You are not alone if you struggle feeling your best this time of year. Treatment can help you align with the season and slow that frenetic energy that wears you out.

· Pick two nights a week you will shut down by dinner time and create a quite routine. It doesn’t need to be every night, but if you actually plan it out and recruit your family you’ll be that much more successful.

I wish you all the best during the holiday season. I hope these tools are useful and that you’ll do everything in your power to incorporate them. You are completely capable of living your absolute best and making this your best year ever!

Dedicated to your health,
David Beares