Ah, the holiday season is upon us. It can be a wonderful time of year, and an equally challenging time of year. Some thrive and some just survive, though I believe that the holiday season can bring about unique challenges that you can’t plan for. No matter how much you enjoy the holidays, it’s best to prepare for bumps in the road that may interfere with some of the habits that keep you feeling well-rested, properly nourished, and energized.
We are here to help you build your toolbox for facing challenges head-on, particularly if you may be facing a difficult season of life or a challenging holiday season. Today’s blog is designed to provide you with education on the topic of maintaining metabolic keystones during difficult seasons.
According to the American Journal of Psychology, a habit is defined as a “more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.” In simpler terms, a habit is a behavior, or routine, that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. When you hear the word “habit” what images, daily actions, or repetitive patterns come to mind? Which of the things that come to mind are helpful to you, and which of the things that come to mind are less than supportive of your wellness goals?
When seasons change and new routines emerge as a result of the seasonal shift, it is easy to let go of the habits that are most supportive of your wellness goals without any awareness. By introducing you to what may be a new concept for you, I hope to help you change with the seasons in a way that brings about more ease. As a result, you may find your consistency percentage rises as you focus on daily actions that help you to feel your best while keeping your SHMEC in check. (For more on SHMEC, just use our handy search feature and you can find lots of posts on the topic!)
Today we are talking about keystone habits, the routines, and practices, by which someone operates. But we are putting a slight twist on the term and teaching you how to develop metabolic keystones that keep your metabolism humming along through challenges and changes.
Keystone habits allow you to do what you need to do without any need for willpower or persuasion. Metabolic keystones are default behaviors that are done daily, and without much effort, but have a huge impact on how you feel daily.
Think of metabolic keystones as lifestyle changes that are simple, doable, and even enjoyable. Metabolic keystones don’t need to be done “perfectly” to be impactful, but they do need to be done to the best of your ability as a regular commitment to yourself and your health.
“Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time”~ Harry S. Truman
If your goal involves some sort of weight focus, or physique attainment, at the end of the day, your metabolic keystones help you control your hunger, allowing you to keep calories in check. Additionally, they should allow you to maximize your nutrient density at the same time. By nourishing your body with things like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you allow things at the cellular level to function as they should, supporting your energy and mental clarity.
Think of at least 3, and at most 5, habits that you can commit to on a daily basis, even during difficult seasons of life. These difficult seasons may include the holiday season for sure, but also seasons of higher stress, less time to get in structured workouts, or weeks that involve things like travel or social gatherings. Committing to these metabolic keystones is so important because of the trickle-down effect.
If you don’t have an idea of where to start with developing your own metabolic keystones, here are a few that Dr. Jade has shared that could be helpful to at least get you thinking of what is best for you:
- Aim for more protein with meals and snacks, up to your body weight in pounds. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, aim for up to 150 grams of protein daily. Trying to eat a higher protein diet can be challenging for sure. In fact, most people will be so full from trying to eat upwards of 150 grams of protein daily that you may fall short of this goal, but that’s ok! If you think “protein first” at meals and snacks, your calories will be in check and your fullness factor will go up!
- Sneak in colorful veggies with salads, at least twice a day. I know some people aren’t fans of salads, but they don’t have to involve lettuce as a base. No matter what you choose to use as your base (try shredded cabbage or carrots, chopped cucumber, cauliflower rice, or zucchini noodles as examples), the bulk alone should raise your level of satisfaction after meals. You are elevating your nutrition, along with plenty of volume, so the visual satisfaction should also lead to reduced mental hunger. This means cravings should be in check too.
- Drink 3-4 liters of water daily. If grazing or snacking is an issue for you, this helps to cut down on snacking. If you’ve ever guzzled a bunch of water and had a gurgling feeling after, you know that you have such fullness that food doesn’t seem nearly as appealing. Plus you’ll get in more movement by taking some extra trips to the restroom.
For more on this topic from Dr. Jade, check out this blog post where he also talks about how your metabolic keystones can help to boost your immunity as most of us head into the winter. Or check out this link where I write about commitments in a more general sense, but also share the commitments that I’ve chosen to set for myself through some busier seasons of life.
Keep your metabolic keystones simple to start. As Danny Coleman, Head of Coaching at Metabolic Living says, “Keeping things simple and sticking to the basics really has no downside. It may not sound exciting to practice new habits this way, but it will be effortless and effective and can be exactly what you need to get started.”
Once you are on autopilot with your 3-5 metabolic keystones, you can change things up, but remember, simplicity may be the key to success. I have no doubt that by focusing on your own metabolic keystones, you’ll be sailing through difficult seasons with more ease. Have a very merry, metabolic holiday season!