We just spent the last 2 plus months eating very well. We have been surrounded by beautiful dishes, decadent treats and lots of wine! All those holiday get-togethers had food and drinks that we happily partook in and enjoyed. It was fun. It was what everyone was doing. We told ourselves we would worry about the calories, fat content, sugar, carbs, and our waistlines after the new year. No one diets during the holidays anyway so we shouldn’t either.
As a result of switching from light summery foods to more hearty dishes in the Fall followed by an overflow of holiday foods our digestive systems are a wreck! We have gone from one way of eating to the next building up in richness and all the things that don’t exactly line up to a healthy regular way of eating. Isn’t it interesting how we can manage to pack on weight year after year from this? We never really do seem to lose those holiday pounds before we are once again faced with the holidays. All through this time our digestive systems are flooded with things it cannot process and we feel miserable. Our clothes are not fitting and we can’t seem to break our love affair with sugar or lose weight! It truly is a vicious cycle many of us find ourselves on.
If there was ever a worse time to start a diet it would be January! This bitter cold winter month is the hardest of all for several really big reasons. It’s like the ultimate challenge where everything that could be stacked against you actually is. I believe it truly is why most well meaning health related resolutions and intentions are probably long forgotten and broken and it’s not even the end of the month! Let’s look at why this month is so hard to diet in:
It is generally understood that one of the basic needs of improving your health is to increase your water intake. When we are dehydrated we tend to have more cravings for salt and sugar. We eat more and move less. We leave toxins and waste in our body that can’t be flushed out. When we don’t get enough water we don’t truly recognize when we are hungry instead of just thirsty.
So when people first start out dieting or improving their health they find a nice big cup or jug and start carrying it everywhere with them to drink more water. This is great and truly a powerful first step that can help us make bigger changes. The problem is we naturally don’t drink as much water as we should when it is cold and dark outside. We don’t feel thirsty. We instead want hot drinks that warm us. I know I naturally increase my coffee intake when it starts to get cold out. I could go all day drinking warm drinks and am not at all attracted to a cold glass of water.
January being the coldest and hardest winter month for most of us naturally works against us drinking water. It doesn’t taste good. It isn’t appealing and it isn’t something we think about as often. Don’t you find it interesting that when the weather is warmer and rivers and streams start thawing and flowing that we too are more drawn to water? Certainly you can force it and you may overcome that challenge but that doesn’t feel good to most of us and can only introduce harder challenges when we add in other dieting habits. For me, I have found I am much more successful when I don’t force as many things in my life.
While we still need a lot of water year-round despite winter coldness there are some tricks to overcome this challenge in January. Here’s what I’ve found works for me:
Definitely use a cute cup that you look forward to using and that feels good in your hands. We are drawn to things that appeal to us
Lower the ice level. I love crushed slushy ice in my drinks but I know if it’s super cold outside I don’t want a super cold drink. So in January I don’t add as much ice to my cute cup so it’s not as cold
Make it flavorful. Look we did just spend the last 2 months eating, drinking and being merry and our bodies are not robots that can just turn that experience off and be good now. Allow your body time to adjust by making your water taste good! I love adding in a couple drops of doTERRA Grapefruit oil, Lemon oil, Wild Orange and even Tangerine to my water. This makes it taste so much better than plain water and you will drink more of it.
Get bubbly. Not like champagne bubbly but the bubbly waters. Experiment with different kinds to find one you like. If you get a plain one you can then also add in the doTERRA essential oils I mention to personalize the flavor. This is also a tummy soother when you add a drop of doTERRA Ginger or DigestZen oils.
To get the oils I put in my water click here: dragonspitapothecary.com/water-oils
Almost every single diet will include increasing your intake of vegetables. That’s great but January isn’t exactly the time when fresh lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes grow. Most of us find hot house grown veggies in our stores right now that are as tasteless as tap water. Who wants to eat a plain tasteless salad that is also cold when we want hot soups and hearty meals?
The other problem is when you go from over indulging to scarcity in an attempt to cut back in calories your body goes into starvation mode – even when you are not hungry! It quickly realizes you have cut the food calories and it goes into ninja level defense mode. Your mind responds with frustration and disdain for salads and your stomach is trying to switch to healthier foods while overcoming all the toxins it is buried in from holiday foods. It’s not that eating a salad is bad for you because it is not at all but when you haven’t prepared your mind and digestive system for this change you’re going to have some problems like these:Hunger
First our bodies are going to think they are hungry ALL THE TIME! It is not use to lighter calorie healthier meals and oh yeah it’s still winter out and our bodies want that warm food. It wants to be warm and comforted and cozy like it was in December when we were eating pot roasts and gravy.
This is where most of us trip hard in our January health goals because we can’t find that balance and control over our hunger and what our body is telling us it wants. This is why I have found it incredibly helpful to start with a cleanse. Again not one of those harsh spend all your time in the bathroom and in pain cleanses but one that gives your body a good way to clean out and adjust to changes. If you don’t get your digestion prepared then everything else in your body will not work to help you progress on your health goals. Your digestive system is the core of your body’s messaging systems. When it doesn’t feel good or another area of your body doesn’t feel well it is felt in the stomach area. This is why dieting can be a great first step to health changes but we have get our digestive system working well first.
In January right after the holidays I like to do a 2 week cleanse that helps me reset my systems. I use this formula (1 time in morning and 1 at night):
1 doTERRA GX Assist (cleanse)
2 each doTERRA Life Long Vitality Supplements
2 doTERRA Terrazyme1 Veggie capsule containing 1 drop Cinnamon (cravings), 2 drops Ginger (digestion) 2 drops OnGuard (immunity), 2 drops Tumeric (blood/cholesterol), 2 drops Grapefruit (hormones)
To get what I use simply click here: dragonspitapothecary.com/cleanse
It seems the minute I decide I’m going to go on a diet my mind turns into an evil science doctor and pushes all my buttons in resistance. It takes over my sweet tooth and I’m in overdrive with cravings I didn’t even realize I had. Not long afterwards I am feeling like I’m in a constant battle of thinking about food and wanting the “wrong” foods. Hence the salt and sugar cravings most of us struggle with every day.
For some moderating these cravings gives us a balance of accepting what we cannot control. For others moderation is extremely hard and it has to be an “all or nothing” mentality. My own experience has shown that I need to at least start out in the “all or nothing” side and as I can control I can choose to let some things back in and try moderation. It seems until we ultimately feel in control of our cravings no amount of moderation is going to stop us in times of a severe craving. I can personally attest that I will rebel against telling myself no and find a lot of chocolate eaten just to show myself “Oh yes I can too!”
I am not always successful at managing cravings. Sometimes it does take more than willpower to be successful too. Upfront I try to get the entire family to avoid salts and sugars for a couple weeks to give me a head start and then try to ease it back in where you can. It is not easy every day telling yourself no and staying away from it. I have found the capsule I describe above with the ginger and grapefruit does help me not want the salt and sugar as much too.
Successful January Dieting
While it is one of the hardest months to start a diet you can use January to start the process. For me that includes preparing my body to take on the challenges that come with dieting and being the in the position place to deal with hunger and cravings. I think by modifying our approach to dieting we can improve our chances for success and become of those unicorns that do really keep their New Year’s Resolutions.
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