Awaken your soul and fire up your senses. Turn up the volume on your inner wisdom. Increase your capacity for truth, love, openness, passion, fire and freedom.

5 Counterintuitive Tricks for Enjoying the Holidays and Get Toned

And I mean really enjoying the holidays…

I'm not talking "survival" here. I cringe every time I see a post about holiday survival.  The whole mentality that the holidays are a time of year that need surviving drives me crazy (btw, I've been in that camp before, I've just shifted my thinking around this and it's made a huge difference).

Here's a pic from Christmas 2008.  I "survived" that year…by consuming an excessive amount of red wine and throwing up on the side of my parents house.  Yikes.

Here are 5 Counterintuitive Tricks for you to start using today and start enjoying the holiday season:

1.  Don't expect the holidays to suck.

Fact: when you expect things to go badly, they will rise to that expectation.

I notice a lot of people expecting the holidays to suck.  Even this morning I was training a client and one of those morning shows with Kathy Lee and Hoda was on.  They were talking about all the ways to avoid and/or handle annoying conversations with family members you don't like.  I thought this was such a sh*tty topic.  Not everyone hates their family.

When we're little we grow up expecting miracles around the holidays.  As we grow up we find a million things to complain about instead. That sucks.

So adjust your expectations and intentions to making this the best holiday season you've had in years.  Once you make that decision, consider it done.

2.  The solution for people who get on your nerves.

Remember these 2 things:

It's not about you.

The only assumption you should ever make about people's behavior that annoys you is that it has nothing to do with you, it's all about them.  If you want to spend any time wondering about their behavior, be compassionate about it and consider the reasons why they must feel compelled to do irritating things.  You could also look inward and ask yourself "Why does this hit my hot buttons?  What's going on with me that I'm allowing this to get to me?"  The answers here can be outrageously helpful.

Send them love.  

You can do this literally, physically or just mentally.  Let me give you examples.

A lovely note, card or email to let them know the things you appreciate about them.

An unexpected and thoughtful gift-don't worry about whether or not they're getting you something either.  The holidays are not about reciprocation, they're about generosity and giving with no expectation of what you'll get in return.

A hug.

A thought, prayer or note in your journal that just says, "I'm sending (name) love today…"

Try it, I swear it will make you feel better.

At the very least, send them this (I've been watching this like once a day for the last 2 weeks, hilarious! The guy is the best part.):




3. Go ahead, take some shortcuts

Normally, I'm not one for shortcuts.  During the holidays though, there are some key shortcuts you can take when preparing your meals that will cut down on tons of calories.  The best part? Don't tell anyone what you're doing-you can actually fill them in later and enjoy the satisfaction that they didn't even notice while teaching a little lesson that being healthy doesn't have to be boring or taste bad.

  • skim or almond milk in any recipe that calls for milk
  • applesauce instead of oils when you're baking
  • egg whites instead of whole eggs (1/4 cup if using a substitute or 2 egg whites for each real egg)
  • almond flour instead of white flour (there are also tons of other alternative flours, almond is just my favorite)
  • recipes that call for butter? just use 3/4 of the amount "required"-it's usually way too much anyway
  • brown rice, quinoa pasta, spaghetti squash or zucchini make great subs for pasta in a variety of dishes
  • plain greek yogurt works well in lieu of sour cream or heavy cream

4.  Make your own soup

Ok, you're probably thinking, "Really Liz? Who has time for that?!" You do, lovely.

And soup? That's kind of random isn't it? No.  Soup is like liquid lovin'…it warms you up, fills you up, nourishes your body.  Soup is freaking amazing and I want you to make some. Here's how:

My friend Heather Pierce teaches this one simple formula you can apply to make any kind of soup you want.  In the last 3 weeks I've made butternut squash soup, sweet potato carrot soup and butternut squash soup with pumpkin and sage.  Sound delicious right?  They were-and not only was I so freaking proud of myself, but you can make what Heather calls a BAP or "Big Ass Pot" and it'll continue to feed you and your family (if you have one) for days (weeks even!).  What's not to enjoy about all of that?



5. Slow down.

No matter what kind of year you had in 2011, there's no need to sprint across the finish line.  One of the reasons I don't like setting New Year's resolutions is because as humans, we have the power and ability to set resolutions and change whenever we want.  The key is the "want to" part.

It's kind of like on your birthday when people ask "do you feel any different?" No.  Just because another day has passed, doesn't mean I'm not the same person.  You're still going to be you when January 1 hits. If you want to make some improvements-that's awesome, but you don't need a New Year to start to do that.

So slow down.  Everything.

You're wrapping gifts? Take your time, put some love into it.

You're working out?  Slow down, did you know time under tension [for your muscles] can be a great catalyst for muscle tone?  And if you're normally into quick and efficient workouts (which I definitely am), it's a nice change of pace-and your body loves change.

You're wolfing down breakfast? Slow down.  Taste your food.  Take a minute to enjoy the meal-you'll actually feel more satisfied and full for longer because of it.

You're at lunch with a friend and you're rushing in your head to the next event on your calendar? Are you even listening to what they're saying?  You could be missing something important.

There are a ton of reasons and ways to slow down.  The biggest benefit is not just living your life, but experiencing more of your life.  It's just like enjoying the holidays rather than just surviving.  One is way more fun and special than the other.

So, the comments on the blog are still down. Fixing that falls under "tech issues" and that's not my department (plus it's the holidays so I'm not pressuring people to get things done!) They'll be back up after the New Year, fo sho'! In the mean time, if you enjoyed this post-and have something to say, like maybe your own counterintuitive trick? or an idea for a delicious soup, maybe? Drop your comment on the Facebook page instead.  Click here to do that now.

5 Counterintuitive Tricks for Enjoying the Holidays and Get Toned