End Year Resolutions

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Smallish, roundish, cutish and a little rough around the edges– these are my kiddos. Oh wait, they’re actually their pumpkins. Happy Halloween from one very excited duo.

Yes, we enjoy all that the season has to offer. Costumes, carvings and candy galore! I admit to dipping into the stash, and my kids know that they are required to acquire m&m’s for me. It’s like paying a trick-or-treating tax for which I am the collector.

In the nutrition world Halloween wreaks havoc. It’s not the one night of gluttony, but the feeling for many that from here to the end of the year it’s one temptation after the next. Just the other day one of my clients panicked about a current trend and what it means for the holiday season: having alcohol causes her to loosen her guard and stray from her goals. From one unstructured evening she can tumble downward for several days until she can refocus. And so goes the cycle.

The solution is easier said than done: don’t drink.

I posed a challenge. Go dry for the season, as an athlete might when gearing up for peak fitness. It’s two months–not a lifetime. It’s not just a strategy to balance intake, it’s also a commitment to focus on goals. It’s a resolution to end the year on top of the game and not to begin the next by scrambling from the bottom.

Hence the End Year Resolution. Don’t wait for the New Year to make plans and take action. Register for a race date in January, rather than waiting until January to identify one. And this goes well beyond nutrition and fitness, by the way. What can you do over the next two months to affect change within yourself? Within your family? Within your community?

Perhaps you have a high-flying adventure to capitalize on– oh wait, that’s me. (More on that when it happens, and I guess this commits me to following through before January 1). Or perhaps you will prepare to voluntarily pull yourself off of sabbatical to focus on the actual publication of a book– oh wait, me again. And where oh where might nutrition fit in…

New projects to come in the New Year, and with that my blogging will take a different direction– to be decided in the End Year. Stay tuned!

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Eating Feelings

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We eat for joy, for sorrow, for boredom, for comfort. Whether festive or mundane, our days and moods are defined by  the foods we choose. And of course the present holiday season is rife with treats. What happens, then, when celebratory times and tragic events converge– such as on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary? Some of us were too revolted too eat; others were too consumed with grief to bother; still others grabbed darling cookies to bring to their children in demonstrations of love because we are the fortunate ones.

I fall into all three categories. Note– my kids didn’t actually have the chance yet to enjoy the cookies because they lost dessert privileges for a few days, but that’s a different story. Let’s just say I had to shelf the elf. They also don’t know the impetus for the impulsive purchase because (thus far) I have been able to shield them from all media coverage. Tonight, guarded by innocence, they’ll share the cookies.

On Friday I planned a lighthearted, witty post on holiday eating– namely baked goods, which you might recall I do love. As you can imagine, any humor was sucked right out of me as I heard the stomach-churning news over the radio. You needn’t be a parent or teacher, school administrator or first responder to feel the horror, grief and anguish of this. You need only be human.

I’ll leave it up to you– if and when you are ready– to read my thoughts on holiday treats. It comes with a small confession: whilst on my sabbatical I have been staying lightly active in my role as nutrition consultant. I’m still with Trismarter.com,  which provides online coaching and nutrition support for multisport athletes. I do so because I genuinely enjoy the work, and also because I enjoy funding my sabbatical pursuits. I’m a firm believer that eating is the fourth discipline of triathlon, and I encourage my clients to fuel properly. Sometimes that, by necessity, involves dessert. Recently I wrote a piece on how to make sure your holiday meal has room for this crucial component.

Regardless of whether you’ll choose to read nutrition tips and regardless of which feelings you are eating today, tomorrow or in the weeks to come, you’ll likely do so while holding thoughts of the Newtown community in your heart. Cookies do wonders– maybe not for the hips– but certainly for the soul.