With two weeks until Christmas, the season is in full force. With Christmas/Holiday parties, special events, school functions, and just tons and tons of sweets and generally unhealthy foods available, many of us simply give in to the temptations.
“It’s the holidays! I’ll start in January,” seems to be the mantra of most people, which at it’s core, doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. It might be bigger if those same people made the connection that 6 weeks (Thanksgiving to New Years) is 12% of the year! Add in a few more holidays, and it becomes very easy to continue to put on lots of weight, and get farther and farther from our “ideal.”
So, what do you do? Here are some quick tips that can help survive the holidays.
- Start where you are – as they say, “you can’t unscramble eggs.” If the last 3 weeks have already been filled with overindulgence, don’t let it derail the next 3 weeks, just pick up and start a new day and a new plan.
- Don’t wait for New Years. New Year’s resolutions are a joke, and probably the biggest self-lie that people tell themselves. Why wait? What’s special about the first day of the year? Why can’t today be special? Start today.
- Set goals – how do you want to finish the holiday season? Are you wanting to make progress towards your fitness goals, just maintain, or what? Whatever those goals are, write them down on note cards. Put them in the bathroom, in your car, and carry one in your pocket, so when you walk by the Christmas cookies someone left in the break room, you can remind yourself what you’re working towards.
- Plan your indulgences – Look at your calendar and decide what events might create additional temptations for you, and have a plan to deal with them. That might mean giving yourself permission to have a couple of cookies at the party on Friday. That doesn’t mean you give yourself permission to have some on Friday, take some home, and eat the rest all weekend! Stick to a plan that has minimal impact on your goals.
- Eat before you go – this is an old recommendation, but if you’re going to a party, or an event where lots of food will be served, with little chance of healthy choices, make sure you eat a high protein, high fibrous veggie snack before you go. That way it’s much easier to control your portions and intake, and more importantly, to avoid the sugary temptations. I not only eat before I go, but also pack food with me so that if dinner is a little late, I’m not getting super hungry.
- Prepare for an emotional battle – the road to fitness is filled with emotional potholes, and often, they come in the form of the good intentioned (and often not so good) people in our lives. “Oh, just have one, it’s not a big deal,” “man, you’re really obsessed with this fitness thing, aren’t you?” “I can’t believe you won’t even try that pie that I made.” It’s easy to be embarrassed or guilted into derailing your plan. If you were a recovering alcoholic, would it embarrass you to turn down a drink, or would you take one just because someone made it for you? I hope not! Treat food the same way. You’re choosing to be healthy, and don’t let other people derail or make you feel badly for your choices.
- Get your butt in the gym – the holidays are exceedingly busy, so you have to really plan out those workouts. Keep weight lifting as part of the plan, and put it on the calendar. You won’t miss your kid’s recital, right? So, make your workout just as important. Protect that time, adjust your schedule to make it happen.
- Give away the treats – in my house, baking is part of the culture, and it’s a fun part of the season. That doesn’t mean we just stop doing it, we just need to have a plan. If you’re anything like me, the longer you walk by a plate of cookies, the higher the likelihood that you’ll grab a couple on the next trip. So, If you make treats, decide how many to keep (a small amount for each person,) and give the rest of them away…there are a multitude of options for giving away treats.
- Get accountability – this is true for any fitness journey, but especially this time of year. Having a workout/nutrition buddy that you can be accountable to will help with your success.
So, there you have some ideas on how you can get through the holidays in better shape than you started them. I’m working towards keeping my metabolic furnace stoked with plenty of protein and good carbs and fats, and I’m killing it in the gym. I hope you will do the same!
All I want for Christmas? Bigger shoulders and an awesome v-taper.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!