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Holiday Damage Control

Holiday Damage Control

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    Fat season.  That’s what we call it around my office.  It starts on Halloween, and it usually runs straight through January.  We are bombarded by holidays that require us to consume copious amounts of meats, pies, cookies, chocolates, and alcohol.  On top of that, for those of us living in the north, it gets dreadfully cold and painfully hard to do as much moving around as we would like to.  It is due to these conditions that it is not unlikely for an individual to gain between 5 – 10 lbs within this 3 month period.  And with that I would like to share some of my favorite tips for when it comes to coping with the inevitable “fat season”.

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    At the Office

    Avoiding temptation at the office can be tricky.  There always seems to be extra bags of candy, and extra baskets of cookies strategically placed around your work area.  If your goal is weight loss, maintaining a steady doping of sugar into your blood stream is not going to make your efforts any easier.  

    If you can avoid the sweets, then good for you, you’re stronger than most.  However I don’t feel it’s absolutely necessary to be that guy/girl in the office who wants to avoid the break room at all costs.  You could be setting yourself up for even worse disasters, especially if you’re one who tends to get more stressed around the holiday season.  If I had to pick between what’s worse for your health: a couple of cookies or being the stressed out sociopath who avoids people at all costs fearing they might shove brownies in their face, I would have to go with the latter.  Stress is going to create much stronger repercussions than a few sweets will any day.  

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    If you’re busy around this time of the year like I am, it will be hard to get normal workouts in.  The key is to make them brief, frequent and consistent.  Get good at the exercises that stress your entire body i.e. squats and deadlifts.  Doing a couple of sets will only take you 15 minutes and it’s much better than doing nothing at all right?

    Take it to the Party

    More often than not you’ll probably encounter a party or two this time of year.  Parties are another good place to find lots of fattening foods.  If you find yourself at one of these parties, my advice is to you would be to seek out the vegetable platter.  There is always one somewhere and rarely has it ever been touched.  Filling up first on fruits and vegetables is a good way to pack a little fiber into the stomach before consuming those delicious and fatty finger foods.  The fiber will not only help to fill you up, but it also soaks up some of the fat like a sponge preventing it from ever getting to those love handles.  

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    As far as alcohol is concerned, try to be mindful of what types of mixtures you’ll be having.  Sure, alcohol itself packs calories, but combine it with sugary tonic water or coke and it becomes a real diet killer.  As an alternative, try soda water for a less calorie dense beverage.  Since it’s a party, keep yourself mobile.  Move around, dance and mingle.  After all, that’s what the party is for.  You’re not going to burn a heck of a lot of calories, but it’s much better than being a calorie-consuming wall flower.

    Around this time of year being uptight about your diet and weight is only going to cause you more trouble than it’s worth.  Beating yourself up over a couple pieces of pie or a few extra drinks during the week isn’t going to help your efforts in the long run.  The best piece of advice I can give to you is to relax and try to make a few smart choices here and there.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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