New Year Bandit

The fireworks pop. The confetti sparkles. The New Year is here and ready to take over. The Christmas decorations and holiday music took us by surprise when they appeared this year before Halloween. Watch out folks. Christmas has nothing on the New Year. Before the last ornament is back in the box and the final Christmas hymn is sung, the New Year comes in like a thief, grabbing us by the horns, flinging us back to the chaos and rush.

Don’t let the fact that January 1st has passed steal your calm, your chance to reflect, plan, and consider new changes, new goals for a great year to come. Turn off the technology, take a deep breath, and nuzzle in to a quiet spot. Write it, draw it, talk it out with a friend or call your counselor. Do whatever it takes but do not let the moment get swept away or placed on the to-do list for another day.

Where do I start?  Consider these five areas of your being:

  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Social

What do you value in each of these areas? Over the past year, were you able to balance and acknowledge your needs in each area or did you find yourself immersed in only one and ignoring the others? If you felt overworked, stretched thin, or that something was missing last year, you might have been putting too many eggs in one of these baskets, leaving yourself empty and unfulfilled in the others.

Consider this example as you reflect and develop goals for change in each area:

Spiritual: It is important to me that I share a Christian example with others. To do this, I would like to be a more loving person. My spiritual goal is to act in a more loving way. What will this look like? One example is that I will consciously choose to act in a more loving way by being aware of how I drive on the freeway. I will drive with more consideration for others and exemplify less rage and frustration. Another example of living out this goal to act in a loving way is by taking my family to serve at the homeless shelter and pick a person whom I can treat, anonymously, with a random act of kindness.

Dedicating the time to reflect on the important changes you would like to see in each of these areas of life, developing the action plan, and defining how you will know you are working towards that goal will help keep your feet on the ground and your base strong when the daily grind of another year tries to sabotage your goals.

How You Eat

How do you want to eat this year?

Notice that the question is not what do you want to eat but, rather, how do you want to eat?  Year after year, people approach this season of resolutions with a desire to lose weight, eat healthier, and get into an exercise routine.  This year, I’d like to challenge you to think less about what you are going to eat and more about how you are going to eat it!

Consider the difference:  If you are just changing what you eat, you may switch over to eating lots of leafy greens and heart-healthy fish.  However, if you rush through your meals, multi-task while eating in front of your computer, and choose to eat “FFCFFF” (my abbreviation for fat free, calorie free, flavor free) foods…You will NOT enjoy this new way of eating or achieve your goals.  In fact, I might argue that you’ll dread it and end up with the same frustrating end to next year.  So what can you do to change how you eat?  Start with the following practical tips:

•    Don’t multi-task while eating!  I know, I know…You are busy at work, there is laundry waiting, and the kids need help with their homework.  Pay attention to your food at a table (that’s the round thing in your dining room with all of the papers on it) and use a fork and knife (those are the silver tools that kids say look like a sword and pitchfork).  Set a timer for 10-15 minutes for your meal-time and see if you can eat….just eat…without cell-phones or distractions.  You might be surprised with the flavor and fullness that surrounds the eating experience.

•    Use your senses.  Remember those?  Sight, smell, touch, sound, and then taste.  The next time you pick up a sweet treat or salty snack, take 5 minutes to analyze the food according to your senses.  Pick up that piece of chocolate and describe what you see, smell, feel, and hear as you hold the tiny wrapper and open it.  Then, take a bite, close your eyes and let it melt in your mouth.  Maybe you won’t actually need another one once you’ve eaten this one mindfully.

•    Chew your food.  No, I’m not talking to you as if you’re five years old.  Research suggests that people who take a bite of food, put their fork down, and chew their food eat slower and, thus, take in less calories.  The extra time allows your brain time to signal to your stomach that you are full.  For the average person, this “full” signal typically takes 15 minutes.  By that time, most of us have overeaten and are on our way back to our to-do list while feeling like we ate too much.  So, if you’ll slow down and chew your food you may eat less and enjoy it more!

•    Recruit a fellow-eater.  Sure, these tips feel strange and are initially inconvenient.  They will take some practice before you feel like you are really eating differently.  Find a friend, co-worker, spouse or child who will commit to changing how they eat, too.  Then, talk about your eating experiences together.  Meet up for coffee or lunch with the goal of having a good conversation AND enjoying the eating process together…mindfully.

Mindful eating is a new start…but an old tradition!  If you find these tips intriguing but would like to learn more, contact us for a nutrition consultation where you can find out more about what AND how to eat differently this year.

Debt Busters: Getting Over the Holiday Cheer

It‘s January and we have made it through the joyous giving season!  We’ve bought the perfect cowboy boots for our college age daughter; the G. Harvey painting that is a collectors dream, gift cards for all.  Then it happens, all of our credit card bills arrive.  All of the smiles and happiness that these things brought to us last month are now dreaded bills.

Here are a few practical things to do now and in the future to enjoy Christmas year round.

  1.  Take small steps towards getting out of debt.  Get rid of your credit cards and get  a debit card.  This will force you to spend only what you have.
  2.  Start saving now for Christmas.  Budget the amount that you want to spend on each individual and don’t go over it.
  3.  Once you have your list, start buying the items as you see them throughout the year. Watch for sales on must-have items.  Buying throughout the year also reduces last minute shopping stress.
  4. When December comes, relax and enjoy the month, knowing that you’ve already paid for Christmas and the gifts are already under the tree!

For more practical advice on getting out of debt go to