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Is gaining weight over the holidays inevitable?

Fall is here. The relief from the summer heat is welcome. Excitement for the holidays to come is mounting. As are the urges to indulge… in pumpkin bread, and Halloween candy. Soon we’ll be preparing the traditional Thanksgiving foods in excess, and then come the Christmas cookies. I wonder if we’ll find ourselves indulging in more comfort foods due to the fact that our celebrations may be smaller and possibly feel quite lonely. We have expectations that the holidays should be joyous and fun, but they can often be quite difficult, and this holiday season might be a particular challenge.

When we find ourselves wanting to eat out of loneliness, boredom, sadness, or anxiety, it’s important to acknowledge what is happening. The thing is, emotional hunger isn’t actually quelled by food. Instead, we need to find ways to address the feelings. Even as events and emotions swirl around and within you, possibly causing you stress, you can find a quiet place inside of yourself.

Using images from nature, you can ground yourself, release, and relax. Try this: wherever you are, seated or standing, feel your feet on the ground. Imagine a tree reaching its roots far and wide into the ground. See the trunk of the tree reaching into the blue sky. Birds come and go; a breeze causes the leaves to flutter. Rain and storms come and the wind blows the limbs but the tree (YOU) is stable and not going anywhere. Breathe, and feel the stability you get from the earth and from your strong, flexible trunk. Imagine the wind settling down, and feel the warmth of the sun as it shines again.

To take this into movement, stand and gently bend your knees allowing your body to sink its weight down a bit, and then push the floor away to straighten up. Reach your arms open and up, then lower them. Keep doing this while taking deep breaths. Feel the rhythm of your own breath, moving your body along with it.

Likely you will feel refreshed and relaxed. If nothing else, you’ve distracted yourself for a bit. You may have forgotten about the pumpkin bread. But if you still want it, have some and deeply enjoy it!

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