5 Tips For A Healthier And More Productive Holiday Season
Holiday Edition, Part 2
My first newsletter, The Longevity Framework, was sent exactly one year ago today.
I am deeply grateful for each and every one of you that takes time from your Thursday morning to read Longevity Minded.
If there’s anything you want more or less of or if you have any suggestions, please let me know by hitting reply to this email.
Thanks for being here with me and for your commitment to improving your mind and body.
This week we’re covering 5 tips for a healthier and more productive holiday season.
Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Counter counter-regulatory eating
Counter-regulatory eating asserts that one is more likely to overeat after consuming a large meal than after eating nothing at all. This phenomenon is strongest among those who normally adhere to strict diets.
I can attest to this.
I’ve been guilty of transforming into the crazed Abominable Snowman during Christmas and downing any food in sight like my hibernation for the next 6 months depended on it.
This can be explained by the “what-the-hell” effect that many of us know too well.
Once our healthy way of eating is broken, even if by one bite of chocolate, we’re often quick to throw our white-flag-waving hands in the air (and “diets” out the window) and overindulge until the next day.
So, this holiday I’m using three defence tactics to battle counter-regulatory eating:
Tactic #1: Split your day into quarters
From a previous newsletter:
Slipping up once isn't an excuse to throw the day away and "start again tomorrow."
To contain mistakes and eliminate the spiral effect while developing or dropping habits, split your day into quarters (morning, afternoon, dinner, night). If you veer off course simply get back on track next quarter.
This idea has been extremely helpful to me and many of my lovely readers who have given it a twirl. Let me know if it works for you by hitting reply to this email.
Tactic #2: Forbidding forbidden foods
The strength of counter-regulatory eating that follows the initial “bad” food appears to depend on the degree to which you find the food “forbidden” and not the nutritional content of the food itself.
The more “forbidden” you perceive the food to be, the bigger the following downward spiral.
Using this knowledge, we can trick ourselves into not associating any food as being “bad” or “forbidden.” So when you do have that piece of cake, cookie, or chocolate, you can stop at one instead of eating until none is left (a signature of mine I’m working to rewire).
Tactic #3: Time Restricted Feeding (TRF)
Consuming all of your calories within a pre-specified period of time, say 6 or 8 consecutive hours, is a superb method of caloric restriction (not over-eating) for men.
Ladies, fasting may affect you differently than it does men. Research, experiment, and see what works best for you.
I practice TRF year-round. The holiday season is no exception (besides brunch on Christmas Day).
Tip #2: Willpower is a lousy strategy
If you don’t want to eat something, don’t leave it in your fridge and convince yourself that you won’t eat it.
So would I, along with 99% of the rest of the general population.
Instead, prepare less food or send any leftovers you don’t want to be tempted by home with your guests. Tell them to bring Tupperware in advance.
Tip #3: Enjoy food without worry
Your health is the result of what you do 80% of the time.
I believe that you should enjoy treats and indulgent foods during the holidays. But people who see themselves as healthy, myself included, have a tendency to eat something deemed unhealthy and then feel guilty or bad about it, skewing their self-identity and resulting in worry, angst, and stress.
Becoming worried or stressed because you ate something you normally avoid is ridiculous. It will only worsen your state of health by spiking cortisol and making you feel bad about yourself.
Enjoy treats but don’t feel bad or worry about it. You can indulge once in a while as long as you stick to healthy habits 80% (or more) of the time.
Tip #4: Maintain your well-being baseline during the holidays
Try to maintain your normal health protocols during the holidays.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep, exercise, practice fasting (if you normally do), stick to your regular diet on non-celebratory days, meditate, and view morning sunlight.
Then when you do enjoy the occasional treat or overeat, you’re not compounding the negative impacts of poor well-being with suboptimal nutrition.
Tip #5: Perform a year-in-review and year ahead
December can be viewed as a time to cruise into the New Year or seized as an opportunity to build momentum and propel yourself into the future you desire.
Reflecting on the past year provides you with an opportunity to…
Smile upon fond memories, milestones, and accomplishments.
Pick out what made your year great (or bad) so you can do more (or less) of those things next year.
Set goals for the year ahead so you move closer to the person you want to become and the lifestyle you want to live.
Take an inventory of each area of your life (health, career, finances, relationships, hobbies, emotional/spiritual, etc.).
I’ve used the same package as my reflection and planning guide (and sent it to countless family, friends, and colleagues) that I originally received from a successful businessman for the last two years.
You can download it for free here:
I recommend printing off the PDF and working on this with pen, paper, and your favourite (non-alcoholic) drink of choice in hand. But if you prefer to work online, you can find the Google Docs version here. Download it in Word to avoid formatting issues.
I hope this practice helps you better understand yourself and enables you to optimistically face the New Year with goals you’re excited to achieve and fun-filled days that give you a sense of meaning and pleasure.
If you have your own year-end reflection process, I’d love to hear about it. Just hit reply to this email and let me know!
That’s all folks.
From my people to yours…
Happy Holidays and Much Love,
And, as always, please give me feedback. Which section is your favourite? What do you want more or less of? Other suggestions? Just hit reply to this email and let me know.