Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"The Big Fat Lie" December 2009 Focus - Holiday Edition


Tis the season to be jolly... and frazzled, stressed, spread too thin, over-extended financially and emotionally, with little time to spare. This month's focus is going to take all of this into consideration. Rather than burdening you with more pressure, our focus will be on shoring up support so you can get through the holidays in one piece while having a good time to boot!

This is classically a difficult time for many people. It's important as we head into the holidays to think of what we need to make this busy time flow a little smoother. How can we relieve the tension so we can truly immerse ourselves in the spirit of the season? It is my hope that December's focus will help you navigate the holidays while having a strong foundation of support under your feet. For this reason, our entire focus this month will hinge on self-care and stress-reduction.

The holidays don't have to be stressful. It can be a time to connect with our loved ones, enjoy the festive vibe and relish the season's dishes that only come around once a year. Let's intend to a have a joyous December full of all the good things this celebratory time has to offer. With a little awareness we can ensure our holidays are merry and bright.


  • Support is essential at this time of the year. In order to help the group feel connected to this foundation of support we will be hosting our first BFL community chat. This will be a way for all of us to touch base with each other, share our experiences and gain a helping hand in getting through the challenges we may face during this holiday season. The chat will be hosted here next Saturday, December 12th @ 10:00 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST. Everyone interested in participating is welcome to drop in and connect with the group. This includes those who follow the BFL blog and members of the, "Through Thick and Thin" community. Our chat room can be found at the bottom of the BFL homepage. I look forward to connecting with all of you so we can collectively set our intention of self-care this holiday season.
  • Carve out some time to think of what you can realistically commit to in terms of your self-care throughout this busy month. Put that commitment in writing by drafting a self-care pledge. Make your pledge read as an affirmative statement of how you will ensure your care remains a priority during this challenging time. Post your pledge where you will see it as a visual reminder of the commitment you are making to yourself. Read the pledge to yourself at the start of each day to set your intention. If you feel so inspired, share your pledge with the group by posting it on this site. In this way, we can all support one another in this vision.
  • Keep it simple. How can you free yourself from obligation so you are better able to meet the demands of the holidays? Are there some openings you can create in your schedule so you have more time available? Practice mindfulness when it comes to taking on more than you may be able to comfortably handle. Make friends with the word, "no". It can get very busy during the holidays. Many people feel the pressure of being pressed for time. It doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to attend every party. You don't have to cook a meal for every gathering. You don't have to take on the responsibility of running every errand. Take a look at the areas where you can lighten up on yourself and release obligation. For those big looming tasks, ask for the help you need. The more you can lighten your load by shortening your to-do list, the more you will experience a lightening of spirit and enjoy the fun the holidays have to offer.

  • Over the past couple of months, we have focused on introducing more whole foods into our meals. By now, many of you are beginning to find a rhythm with this. You are learning which foods you enjoy and also finding your comfort zone with approaching these changes. Some of you may be struggling. If you are finding exploring whole foods to be challenging, back off a bit. This should be something approached with curiosity and interest. It shouldn't feel like a chore. This is about discovering what works best for you in your life. In the end, it is not our goal to achieve thinness or meet society's unrealistic standards of beauty. This is not a competition, but a group effort to move toward health and well-being. In January, I will be sharing the template of 'health at every size' with this group. For now, focus on the basics of intuitive eating. For those of you who have enjoyed your exploration of whole foods, continue to do so while bringing an extra dose of consciousness into the mix with a refresher course in intuitive eating 101. Let this month's goal be one of awareness. Honor your hunger and consistently respond to this bodily need. Try turning off the TV and enjoying more meals at the table where you can truly savor the experience and derive pleasure from the food before you. Respect your fullness and stop eating when you feel pleasantly satisfied. Above all, enjoy the holiday fare. Some wonderful dishes are going to be served up and you don't need to miss out on a single bite. Have fun baking cookies with the kids. Dish yourself up a plate of that fabulous holiday dinner. Sample the appetizers that look most appealing to you at the season's parties. Do it all with awareness, staying connected to your body and its communication. In this way you can have the best of both worlds. You can partake of the festive pleasures while respecting your body.
  • Make a list of pleasurable self-care activities. Challenge yourself to list at least 20 different options. Activities can include anything from taking a soak in a hot bath with some mineral salts to going for a walk in nature. View this list as your holiday survival kit. Keep the list prominently posted. Due to the emotionally triggering aspect of the holidays many find issues with binging surfacing. If you feel the urge to fix it with food, turn to your list. Select a self-care activity to indulge in, rather than trying to eat away whatever is bothering you. When encountering stress, if we practice turning to self-care rather than relying on the coping mechanism of over-indulging in food, we begin to reprogram the way we naturally react to challenges. In time, self-care becomes the automatic response to dealing with overwhelming circumstances or difficult emotions. This is where the real healing begins.
  • Each day, treat your body to some TLC. This doesn't need to be a major event. Something as simple as pampering yourself with a luxurious body butter after you shower can make you feel cared for and valued. It's important that we give ourselves a little extra love right now. It is all about creating that foundation of support. The further we get into the holiday season, the more we will hear the food and body talk pick up in our social circles. There will be the buzz of diets to begin in the new year and mentions of being 'good' after a day of debauchery. This kind of influence can be very triggering when someone is in the process of making peace with food and their body. The more that we can stay connected to our bodies in a loving way, the better we will be able to stay centered on our healing paths.
  • Staying connected with our spirits helps us remain centered and grounded when life becomes demanding. This month, create a healing altar in your home. This will become a special place for you to connect with the intention of your healing journey. This doesn't need to be elaborate. You are free to be as extravagant or minimalist in its design as you desire. This project also doesn't require a great deal of space. A book shelf or coffee table top will do. You can even use a bulletin board if you like and tack up images that are spiritually significant to you. Adorn your altar with symbols that represent what your healing means to you. What are you creating? What new reality are you moving toward? Be sure to include some photos of yourself along with pictures of those who support you on your path to wholeness. The idea is to create a visual reminder in your personal space of the important healing work you are doing. It will be a living testament of the commitment you have made to yourself. This will become a touching point for you to tap into the sacred essence of your healing path. Over time, your altar will grow and evolve along with you. Let it symbolize the heartfelt dedication you are making to yourself. Your altar can become a place in your home environment for reflection on where you are heading and how far you have already come. It is a way to honor your self, your journey and your growth.
Feel Your Connection to Nature:
  • With the cold frost nipping at your nose you will probably find yourself spending more time indoors in the comfort of your home. In order to feel your connection to nature, bring a little of the outdoors inside. Build a bone warming fire to cozy up next to with the ones you love. Dress your home in holiday finery with decorations provided by Mother Nature herself. You can even make a day out of gathering nature's adornments. Get a group together to collect pine cones, bejeweling them later with ribbon and glitter. They make sweet ornaments for the tree. Save yourself a pretty penny by gathering greenery to make garlands, swags and wreaths of your own. It's amazing how simple it is to do these crafts. It provides a wonderful way for you to connect with the ones you care about while doing something creative. It's a real opportunity for quality time with the ones you love and this is what the season is all about.
  • If you do purchase a tree, opt for a live one that you can later plant and give back to the earth. If you choose to buy a cut tree, show your support for one of your local family farms. There are some farms that specialize solely in trees for the holiday. This is a great way to get into the spirit of the season by helping families who rely on tree sales for their livelihood throughout the year. You also get the benefit of knowing that your money is directly benefiting your community.
Have a happy holiday. Enjoy the blessings of the season. Give yourself some love and support by appreciating the gift that is you...

Merry Yule...
Merry Christmas...
Happy Hanukkah...
Happy Kwanzaa...
To each and every one.

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