I celebrated Christmas with my family a little early this year, with a trip to Sydney this past week. Coming home has always been a test of my commitment to my health, especially during Chistmas time, and this time was no different. In true Portuguese fashion, the bread and booze was overflowing, the desserts oozed cream, sugar and custard, and it was near impossible to leave the table without unbuttoning your pants! A bit of a challenging situation for a paleo, lactose-intolerant, health coach that doesn't really drink!
I believe Christmas is a time to immerse ourselves in deep love and connection, and celebrate everything that truly means something to us. Our family, our friends, our home and our way of life. But what often gets left behind is our health and the thing that should really mean the most to us - our own truth and the love we have for ourselves.
Whilst I was in Sydney, I caught up with some of my blogger babes at the Radical End of Year Party event, hosted by the beautiful Julie Parker, alongside Melissa Ambrosini, Gala Darling and Rachel MacDonald. A question was put to Melissa around staying healthy over the holiday period and she summed it up perfectly - When you're reaching for those canapés or that glass of wine at a celebration or amongst friends, ask yourself :
Is this my truth? Is this what I really want right now?
If it is, then awesome! But if it's not... Never steer away from your truth.
So what's my truth?
If I was jot it down, a summary of my truth would have a big, fat, yellow highlight over the words "Eating nourishing food that makes me feel alive". It's something I just can't deny or unlearn. Nourishing Food is the crutch that I lean on every single day to enable me to move with ease, give others my best, and shine in all I do. It makes me feel completely alive and full of vitality. And to deny myself of that would be hiding away from my truth, doing both myself and others a disservice.
As I look back at many past holiday celebrations, birthdays and festivities, I have often allowed myself to "cheat" here and there at big family functions. Often with a hefty side of guilt, or at least with some physical pain in the hours following. I would enjoy that sugar-laden treat simply to keep the peace, or reward myself in some way. I felt deserving of the freedom to 'relax' and not think about my food allergies for one night, and truly believed at the time that any consequences would be 'worth it'. I believed I was living my truth at that point in time, and wouldn't go back and change a second of that.
Though what I found most interesting at the dinner table this year, was that over the last twelve months, my truth has grown just as I have. It has shed a few layers and revealed itself to me. It has evolved just as I have. What I hold dear to me has evolved, what I believe has evolved, and how I make choices now has also evolved. In the last twelve months I have worked hard at repairing the damage that my recent travels caused my gut. And I have spent months of trial and error, uncovering the way of eating that ultimately helps my body thrive. And I've witnessed how bloody fucking amazing I feel when I nourish myself in that way. What's more.. I love eating the way that I do! I actually get a huge kick out of feeding myself in this way, and it brings me so much joy!
Twelve months ago I may still have enjoyed one of those chocolate-filled cannoli for dessert alongside at least 3 other family members who are also lactose-intolerant, but choose to suffer the consequences on a daily basis; And now I sit at the table with my green tea and block of Pana chocolate, finding comfort in the fact that not only have my taste buds evolved so much I probably wouldn't enjoy that cannoli as much as I used to, but that I sit there on the biggest high, feeling completely alive, as the most happiest and complete version of myself that I have ever been. And that's something I know that no cannoli can ever make me feel.
Moral of the story: Live your truth. If those drinks with friends, or that slice of cake with family is totally living up to your truth, go for it! Don't let anyone tell you any different. Our primary goal in life is to feel good! If doing what you want makes you feel deeply, completely, honest-to-real good, just as eating my way does to me; then own that and be grateful that such joy lives in your life.
But if it's not your truth, then know that you're are empowered to make other choices. It's as simple as that. Because our truth sets the foundation for all things great in our life. It is the core of our being, and without it we are completely lost. Especially over the silly season, your ego will no doubt get out it's megaphone and try it's best to convince you that your truth can be tucked away for another day. The ego pulls out the guilt card, crowds you with shame, infuses you with FOMO and every other trick in the book, so the key to quietening it down is to crowd out these fears with everything that serves you. And if your truth looks anything like mine, here's a few tips that might help you conquer the silly season with your head held high and self-love skyrocketing:
- Stock up on your favourite healthy treats so you also have something to enjoy when the desserts come rolling out (hands down you can bet that their curiosity will have them all wanting a taste of yours instead!).
- Mix up your favourite kombucha mocktail creation, ready to pour over ice on a warm Christmas afternoon. My favourite right now is papaya kombucha teamed with lime juice and load of ice!
- Put yourself in charge of making the salad or sides, so you can infuse them with as much nourishment as possible. Recently I whipped up Lola Berry's rocket, avocado and strawberry salad which has been a hit time and time again!
- Be the one who instigates the walk to the park or surf at the beach over the family weekend away. Bring your yoga mat or throw some tennis rackets in the car to keep everyone moving.
- Keep your big 'why' - the reason you desire to live well in the first place - front and centre in your mind (I like to keep an image of my vision board or Core Desired Feelings on my phone for this reason).
- Shop locally and mindfully when selecting presents for family, in an attempt to not to get sucked into the consumerism black hole. DIY christmas gifts are also a good option - any opportunity to express some creativity at this busy time of year is a win, win!
- Put your hand up to wash the dishes when the family feuds start swimming into the conversations, to remove yourself from the negative, ego driven banter.
So consider this post your permission slip to live your truth this month. Summer is here, Christmas is approaching, and celebrations will soon be in full swing. Live it like you mean it, let your intuition guide you, and be the best version of yourself at every opportunity, whatever that might include.
Your turn: How do you plan on sticking to your truth this Christmas? Your tips might just be the advice that helps someone else get through the holidays without feeling starvation, guilt or shame, so let's hear it below!
Image gratefully borrowed from here.