Holiday mind games

Claire is helping your work through some common holiday mind games so you can approach seasonal health choices with intentionality and care.

Holiday tablescape of cookies and dinner plates.

Show Notes
Program note: Hey, glad you’re enjoying the podcast! In this episode, you might hear Claire talking about Nutritional Freedom and Foundations. Since we launched the podcast in 2020, we've undergone a makeover to improve the membership experience. For more, listen to our "And we're back! All the updates!" episode.

Claire Siegel: You're listening to the Flourish podcast. I'm your host, Claire Siegel, founder of Flourish. We're on a mission to help women get healthy for good. Join me each week for a new episode that'll help you sustain healthy habits and nourish your body so you can Flourish in life.

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Hello y'all. Welcome back to the Flourish Podcast. I cannot believe that we are nearing the last few episodes of the year 2022. I, um, go to therapy every Tuesday and my therapist is going on vacation for the rest of the year. And so I went on Tuesday and she said, okay, so I'll see you in two weeks.

That'll be January 3rd. And I truly had this just visceral jaw drop what the actual f reaction? Because I just, I really can't comprehend that 2023 is in two weeks. And I know everyone says that, but my brain kind of like my brain is a calendar. Um, and so I tend to stay kind of on top of this stuff.  Anyway, we're here.

It's the end of the year and this week I just wanted to drop what will probably be a pretty, pretty quick episode, um, about some stuff that your brain is gonna try to do for the next two weeks. The holiday mind games that your brain is likely to try and pull, probably has successfully pulled these mind games on you in holidays past.

And I want this to be the year that you have the tools to choose to outsmart your brain this holiday season, if that's something that you choose to do. So I'm gonna run you through some kind of common thinking traps or thinking patterns that I have fallen into  in years past that I, I certainly see the, the women that I've, I've coached fall into, and my goal in, in running through these various thought patterns is, is really just to help you develop what I would call a curious awareness of them. Um, you know, just a, a sense that they exist and that they happen to give you the ability to kind of wrap them in language so that you can label them. And by labeling them, you will able be able to more easily kind of take a step back from them to decide if you want to actually buy into them or not.

And so, I just wanna make that clear again. It is, it is to develop a curious awareness so that you can, you know, notice your thinking and think to yourself, huh, I wonder why you showed up. What are you here trying to do? Thank you for coming and I will not be needing your services today. . That is, that is, um, that reaction to unhelpful thinking patterns is always available to you.

And if you're not aware of the way that your mind is working, then it can be really difficult to do. So. That is the goal. That is why we're here today. It is not to, to make you feel bad for thinking this way. And, and really the reason that I can list these off so easily is because A, I used to fall into these exact same thinking traps, and B, they're consistently coming up in the coaching calls that I'm having.

So if nothing else, if you recognize that you've fallen into some of these thinking, During the holiday season or just in general? I mean, at least I hope what you can take away from this episode is you're not alone. You're not weird, you're not lacking in willpower, you are not lacking in self-control.

You're literally just a human who has a brain that likes too pla tricks on you, . So I've got kind of like three categories of. , like I said, mind games or thinking traps or unhelpful thinking patterns, or in some cases cognitive distortions that we'll talk about. And again, I just want you to notice with a compassionate curiosity, what feels like it applies to you.

The first, and this is not unique to the holiday season, but it is very likely coming up, especially in the month of December, all or nothing thinking, all or nothing. Think. , you may be thinking to yourself, well, I can't do it all this month, right? I can't. I can't hit my 10,000 step goal. I can't meal prep every single meal every single week.

I can't do a 75 hard right now because I have this holiday and this work obligation, and it's my birthday and my niece's baptism. And so since I can't do it all, I might as well do nothing or. I didn't do it perfectly, so now I'm really gonna mess stuff up, right? Maybe it's, I overate at brunch and now the whole day is ruined.

Or I have three holiday parties over the next two weeks. Screw it. I'm going to eat into oblivion until 2023 rolls. These are all really common examples of a classic cognitive distortion, which is all or nothing thinking, and it makes so much sense that you would be engaged in this type of all or nothing thinking, right?

All or nothing thinking is so enticing because it's just so the, the, the binary nature of it is so simple and sooth. It takes a lot more cognitive energy for you to explore nuance and to try and create a plan using your prefrontal cortex and to kind of coach yourself through. Okay, so yeah, I have three holiday parties over the next two weeks, but that's three meals out of however many, 14 times three, whatever that is out of that many meals for the rest of the year.

So why would I allow three meals.  pre decide how I'm going to eat for all the others. That whole dialogue within yourself takes so much more energy than, well, I can't do it all, so I might as well do nothing. And again, the whole premise of this episode is that if you're not even aware of this all or nothing thinking pattern, you're gonna fall for it every single.

So let's label it, let's call it what it is. It is not a moral failing. It's not a failing of your, your willpower, your self-control. It is a very common cognitive distortion, one that makes sense based on how our brains are designed to work as human beings. And that doesn't mean it's serving you. So guess what?

With this awareness, you get to choose to take a step back from it.  and then decide, do you want to follow that line of thinking or do you want to move in a different direction? Okay, so that is holiday mind game number one. All or nothing thinking holiday mind. Game number two is letting your past become your present.

I have heard so many instances of people just deciding ahead of time that you're gonna over. Throughout the entire holiday season because it's what you've done every other year and you don't realize that it's a, a decision that you're making, but it is, right. Like you don't, just because you've done it every other year, it doesn't mean you have to do it this year.

You can actually choose to do something differently. And oh, by the way, just to be clear, I'm not saying you should undereat, I'm saying you should meet your physical and emotional needs through food during this time of year if you so choose. Again, that is very much available to you, but if you are falling for the holiday mind game of allowing your past to become your present, then you're deciding by default that because you tend to overeat November and December.

Because you've tended to do that in the past, that means that you're gonna do it again this year. And hey, you'll probably do it next year and the year after that too. But once again, through awareness, you can introduce a new, a new thought, a new feeling, and a new decision. And I invite you to do that this year, or to be open to doing that this year if you want to have a different experience than you did in December, 2020.

Okay. The third holiday mind game is this scarcity mindset towards food. Now, this can also take kind of two forms. So one is this idea that like, I'll never get to have these foods again. I'll never get to have gingerbread cookies or, um, you know, hot chocolate or pumpkin pie. I, I can only have these things during the holidays, so I better get 'em in.

and that often becomes a leading indicator. Um, or it often precedes overeating conscious or, or subconscious overeating, right? So that's one version of the scarcity mindset that I see often kind of, um, taking hold of people in this season. The other one is this diet starts in January. Mindset, right? Well, the diet is coming, so I better get all this food in, right?

I know I'm gonna be restrictive come January, so I better get this food in right now. I wanna paint a picture for you of what is possible. It is possible to make food choices in terms of what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, why you're eating that is not dependent on any circumstance external to. . I talk with so many people who feel like outside circumstances, in this case, the time of year, basically dictate what they eat, how much they eat, why they eat when they eat, and that doesn't have to be the case anymore.

Maybe it has been in the past. It does not have to be the case anymore. It is possible.  that regardless of the outside circumstance, and in this case, you know, for example, I mean the time of year, the holiday season, or who you're with, right? I, I speak with so many people who eat completely differently when they're by themselves versus when they're with other people.

People who only binge when they're by themselves, or people who tend to eat way more with friends. It is possible for you to. Like you, regardless of what the external circumstance is, and first you have to figure out what it means to eat. Like you. And, and this is what, you know, we, we support our members through so often at like just a, a kind of a foundational baseline is helping them relearn what it means to eat like them because they've been eating like weight Watchers or eating like Whole 30 or eating like.

I'm counting my macros, right, and it's, it's this outsourcing of how you eat. And so we have to go through this process to bring it all internal again, and oftentimes one of the side effects of outsourcing your eating decisions. Is again, this scarcity mindset. We'll never get to have these foods again because it's December and that's so special.

Or I'll never get to have these foods again because come January I'm doing a hard reset. So I better get it all in right now. And you wanna know what's so fascinating is that the end result of all of these mind games, as we're calling it today, the end result of all of these mind games is the same. The all or nothing thinking the past becoming your present.

The scarcity mindset, the result of all these things is the same. Is that A, you eat more than feels physically comfortable in your body. A and B, you feel badly about it. You, you make a decision that you ultimately don't agree with, and that is what I want to, you know, give you the invitation to overcome.

Right. If you're going to eat more than feels physically comfortable in your body, let that be an intentional choice and one that you feel neutral about, right? If that's, if that's what's happening with you and you feel cool with it, cool. You probably don't need this podcast episode, but I'm willing to bet that if you're listening to this episode, if you're engaged with Flourish, that you're eating more than feels physically comfortable in your body and.

Adding the, the kind of like added suffering on top of that, of feeling bad about it, of maybe feeling ashamed or feeling guilty, feeling regretful. And so if you want to feel differently, if you want to take different actions, if you want to engage in different behaviors, then we have to start with some of the, the thoughts that are creating that cascade effect of the thought becomes the feeling, becomes the behavior.

and this episode, and when I'm, um, again, encouraging you to do is to develop this skill of separating your conscious awareness from your thoughts and feelings. Those are actually different things, right? You are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. It will often feel like you are your thoughts and your feelings, but actually you are the awareness of your thoughts and feelings.

I, I use this analogy a lot and I'm fairly certain I heard. I guess it's a metaphor. Um, this metaphor, I'm fairly certain I heard it in like a calm meditation, but it just really struck me. It talked about how when you are attached to your thoughts and feelings, it feels as if you are standing underneath a waterfall, right?

You're standing underneath this waterfall just getting pummeled by the thoughts and feelings and, and perhaps even getting, you know, Taken downstream of your thoughts and feelings, and what I'm encouraging you to do is to notice your thoughts and feelings and create some space, which would look like taking a few steps back from the waterfall.

So you notice all or nothing thinking you're under the waterfall of all or nothing thinking, and you re. . That's where I am right now. So I am going to choose to take a step back. In fact, by labeling it, by noticing, by becoming aware of it, you are already taking the step. , and then at least you have a choice.

At least you have the choice to go in a different direction or to step back under the waterfall. There is this amazing Victor Frankl quote and my executive coach shared it with me, and it has truly, I mean, again, it's just one of those things that's like really stuck with me and whenever something sticks with me, I, I like to share it with y'all.

And I think this just applies to so many different things. So it's a Victor Frankel quote, and he says, between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response, and in our response lies our growth and our freedom. So right now the stimulus is the holiday season and your response.

Your responses all are all the choices that you make right now. How you eat, how you move your body, how you think about yourself, how you treat yourself. So we're increasing the space between the stimulus and your response. So your homework from this episode is to sit down. Maybe you set a five minute timer.

and I just want you to write down all the thoughts that are swirling in your head about the next two weeks of the year. How you're going to eat, how you're gonna move, what's going on with your body, what's going on with, you know, seeing family, like what is going on in your head. I, I will often call this a brain dump.

Do a brain dump of all the thoughts in your head, all the sentences. And actually you can just, you can just stop there. You can just write them down. . That is how you start to develop some awareness. Okay. All right, y'all let me know how the holidays are going for you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening to the Flourish podcast.

If you've loved this episode, send me a DM on Instagram. Let me know what you think. Send it to a friend. Do all the things. I just, I, I love hearing from you and I love when y'all share these episodes. It is so awesome to know that they're helpful. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and we are gonna begin talking about the new year.

I believe in the next episode, . All right. I can't wait to, uh, see you next week. Have a good one y'all. Bye.

Claire Siegel:

Thank you so much for joining me for today's episode of the Flourish podcast. If you enjoyed it, please take a second to leave us a five-star review or better yet, share it with a friend. And if you're ready to start your own journey to get healthy for good with accountability from expert coaches and the support of an incredible community, head to the show notes to get started on your Flourish journey.

I'll see you in the next episode.

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Claire Siegel
Co-founder, CEO
Claire Siegel is the founder and CEO of Flourish. Claire has made it her life’s mission to help women create a sustainable approach to their physical and mental well-being.

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