Today’s post is all about holiday season dos and don’ts. It is so easy to get caught up in the holiday fun and completely forget about your health and fitness goals. And then you wake up on January 1st and you’re already feeling sorry for yourself and the idea of taking on 2019 seems very distant. I see myself stress the minute Halloween candy hits the stores. I even caught myself saying, “ugh, it’s so hard to stay on track through the holiday season.” That’s like 1/6 of the year that I’m talking about… and ya know when it’s also hard? The summer. The dead of winter. And also, ALL THE DAMN TIME.
Okay, so I’m not saying anything earth shattering here… we all know this. So what can we do about? I got some ideas for you, kids. Don’t you worry!
Big Time Don’ts:
- Stop saying things like “it’s so hard this time of year” and “ugh, I always gain a few pounds during the holiday season.” The more you say these things and put them out into the universe, the more you believe them. (Cough, cough, self-fulfilling prophecy, cough, cough). So if you’re constantly saying, “I’m fat”… guess what? Your brain actually thinks your fat even if you’re not. It is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get out of this type of habit. When you’re used to saying things like this it’s almost like it comes out of your mouth without you even thinking about it. So, trying not to say these things is the first step. But if you catch yourself slipping up (like I did a few weeks ago), you should follow it up very quickly with—“but it’s my CHOICE and this year is going to be different. I am in control.”
- Don’t forget about your workouts—whatever your routine is during the rest of the year (3x, 4x, or 5x per week) KEEP IT UP. This is not the time to slack. In fact, I challenge you to add on an extra 10 minutes to your workout every other day. (I’ll post up some 10-minute workouts on my Instagram page next week to give you some ideas!).
Big Time Dos:
- Track what you eat. Whether you write it down on a piece of paper (like me) or use an app on your phone (My Fitness Pal and LoseIt are two great options), keep track of what you put in your mouth. This is annoying and time consuming, there’s no doubt about it. But try it for 4/7 or 5/7 days per week. I guarantee you on those days you’ll eat better because you’re consciously noting what you’re eating. And, because you’ll feel so good you might even want to track an extra day or two.
- Don’t track what you eat on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or at your work holiday party. Life is about balance—you have to train your brain to understand that. We all have a different definition of balance. You might think my definition is too loose or too rigid. Just find YOUR balance. In my opinion, unless you’re a bodybuilder or training for a bikini competition, there’s absolutely no reason to track all the time. You should be able to go away on vacation or enjoy a holiday gathering without tracking your meals because when it’s over you just go “back to normal” (whatever YOUR normal is—i.e. clean eating 75% of the time). There’s no thinking about it, it just happens. And believe me, it doesn’t happen after a few days… this took me MONTHS to wrap my head around, but once I did, it made my life so much easier. Getting “back to normal” after a few days of indulging became part of my new normal.
- Keep it moving! If it’s warm enough outside, go for a walk. If you go shopping, park far away from the entrance. If you have stairs in your office building, take ‘em. If you have a FitBit, or Apple iWatch, use them to track your steps. Try to hit 10,000 steps per day. This is a tip for all the time, not just the holiday season. I get that it’s much more convenient to park close to the store entrance, but it’s not such a bad thing to get a few extra steps in. Sidebar: if you have children with you, always try for a closer parking spot. If you are buckling and unbuckling children from car seats and putting them in a shopping cart and keeping them alive, you’re probably getting a pretty sick workout anyway, so kudos to you, you deserve the best spot! 😉
I personally head into the holiday season on maintenance mode. Truth is, I’ve gained about 5-6 lbs over the past few months. Yes, some of it might be muscle. But some of it might be from overindulging. I’d like to lose that weight now but I decided not to get myself too stressed over it. I decided to go 100% maintenance mode from now through the end of the year. That includes:
- Keeping track of my eating more days than not,
- Increasing the intensity of my workouts,
- Enjoying holiday parties and get togethers with family and friends,
- Planning to kill in come January 1st.
The holiday season should be fun. We already stress about gifts and parties and seeing our families. Your health shouldn’t be an extra stressor. My biggest piece of advice is to find something that works for you. I don’t think anyone’s ever said, “completely letting myself go and throwing caution to the wind” was the best decision they ever made. So find a way to balance it all out. Exercise, eat well as much as you can, indulge when you want to, and get ready to kick 2019’s butt!