By Valerie Driscoll, Lead Coach and Coaching Program Developer for Apollo Health

Last night at 9:00 p.m. came this query from my friend as she gleefully dug into her potato salad: “What did you have for dinner, Valerie, cardboard?”

I am currently on day 3 of one of my favorite holidays: the “annual-ish” laugh-filled celebration of 40+ years of surviving and thriving with five of my dearest friends. Although our time together has evolved from the earliest days of Frozen Morning Margaritas from a pre-made mix in a plastic bucket, this holiday still revolves around food and drink. After so many years, just like any holiday, many traditions around this celebration have bonded us, but most of them involve ingesting and imbibing. As one meal is being eaten, the next one is being planned.

The last time we got together, I was practicing the KetoFLEX 12/3 lifestyle very seriously. Although I was quite compliant throughout the entire time, I was also cranky and sad, which is not my usual mood during these gatherings. I was clear and aligned on my B7 what, why, and how, but I was pushing it all up a steep incline while also wearing a backpack full of grudges and perhaps even a little superiority, which I recognized only after the fact. You see, I had done all the doing parts just fine — food, exercise, sleep — all the boxes had been checked, but I had been a less than agreeable companion, which was not whom I wanted to be with friends I see so rarely. I had flunked the being part.

But honestly, how could I have been fine when this bonding experience that centered for 40 years around a great Cosmo or a breakfast casserole had totally changed, but just for me — I was the odd palate out. Intellectually, I knew that these relationships and this time were more about friendship than food, but … the food!

As this year’s Bestie Bash approached, I did not want to be miserable amid all that celebration again, slogging uphill; I wanted to be happy and easy, like cruising downhill. So, I got mindful about the upcoming week: First, I applied lots of kindness to the voices that chastised me for being a cranky jerk because this was not just practicing KetoFLEX 12/3; this was Ninja Warrior level training. I allowed myself to notice and accept whatever came up in the quiet without judging it or trying to change it, for when you sit quietly, a lot will show itself, and it may not be pretty. One very not-pretty piece was that I had spent much time and energy on teaching and educating people WHO DID NOT WANT TO BE EDUCATED, and that was on me. I was trying to be the teacher when I only needed to be a friend. I applied more kindness. I then applied the super-power of mindfulness: curiosity. When one learns how to be more curious about what is happening inside, deeper layers of awareness expose themselves. I explored the crankiness and realized that I had been operating in pure survival mode, and trying to survive for that long was exhausting.

So, who did I want to be this time? I did not want to be a survivor. Mindfulness practice also helps us place our attention where we choose instead of where it wants to go. This year I decided to choose to focus on the things that felt like cruising downhill because there was so much; even though the doing of this yearly celebration has changed for me, the being is exactly the same, but with 45,000 fewer grams of sugar. So, I focused on my friends and funny stories; I focused on how well I felt, and I focused on knitting — lots of knitting because idle hands are the devil’s ice cream scoop!

Cruising through celebrations with KetoFLEX 12/3 is doable with the proper mindset and skills. So, if you feel like you need some support during the upcoming season, filled with traditions involving food, please join us for our next session of Mastering Nutrition for Cognition with KetoFLEX 12/3, a program for PreCODE and ReCODE members on Tuesday, November 15th. For more information and registration, click here.

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