For years of Holidays I said I will start my diet after the Holiday or I will run an extra mile in the morning on the treadmill. Well my passion to change finally became bigger than my passion to find excuses. So I am determined to make this Holiday season more about the sounds, smells, decorations, and the company than the FOOD! Here are some tips I plan to follow for the upcoming Holiday and I hope you will also find helpful to keep the unhealthy calories and resulting body fat on Santa where it belongs...
1. Workout in the mornings before the day is filled with holiday shopping, parties, planning, and cooking. By putting your workouts off, you will easily get busy with the chores of everyday life and additional excitement of the Holiday. By getting it done first thing, you will not need to say “No” to unexpected chores, errands, etc that always have a way of finding their way into the season.
2. Journal your Food. And keep it accurate... by cheating on the journal, it only hurts your “bottom line” ... pun intended. The journal can help keep you accountable and serve as a visual reminder to what you ate the day before. It is too easy to conveniently forget that piece of fudge you mindlessly popped in your mouth after dinner yesterday too!
3. Eat BEFORE you go to a holiday party. This will help prevent loading your plate with the unhealthy stuff containing butter, sodium, oil and added sugars at your gathering. Additionally, grab the dessert plate to use as your dinner plate to keep your portions in check.
4. ALLOW for your favorite Holiday treats. If you enter the Holiday season saying you are not going to enjoy any of the foods of the season... you might just be setting yourself up for failure. Life is all about balance. If you SCHEDULE your “cheat treats” into your week, it will help prevent from a possible mental failure. Too many times in my unhealthy living days, I would wake up saying I am going to do better today with out any real plan on how that was going to happen... and then when I would over indulge, it would feel like a failure and all too easy to just quit and say I will “start another day”. By allowing yourself a scheduled treat it allows you to have a bigger game plan and the ability to realize that it is simply a treat and no longer your lifestyle.
5. Enlist the support of a Holiday Buddy. Find someone who has similar goals and hold each other accountable. Share your food journals and party schedules so you can check in on each other!
6. Have a “Spotter” when baking. Ok, this one is really all about me. My weakness is all of the Holiday baking I do for neighbors, family and friends who do not share my goals. I like to “taste” the cookies, the fudge, the bread, the candy....oh my! My children have some Holiday favorites and they will be with me every time I pull out my blender!
7. Spend one day a week doing Food Preparation. Plan a weekly meal of healthy items to keep you on track through each week. Take a day to grill some lean chicken, boil eggs, make some healthy snacks all to keep you on track. If you do not have the healthy choices readily available as you are rushing in or out the door you will be more inclined to grab the unhealthy, boxed, processed foods or even skipping a meal... neither of which is going to help with your goals and create insulin fluctuations and cravings. Food prepping is a recipe for success! This is something I do all year long but is especially important during this time so you have healthy food available to grab when a craving hits.
8. Do not set unrealistic goals. For many, the Holiday season is not a time to set aggressive exercise and weight loss goals. If you are one of these people, be realistic about your goals to avoid frustration and possibly losing your motivation. Instead set small goals and celebrate them... the importance here is to not let the Holiday season be a reason for you to lose your motivation and forward momentum. If you have longer-term goals, longer than “make it through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds” keep them! Make an accommodation for the holidays and the treats and indulgences that come along with it, so you can truly enjoy them. Make adjustments to your training, your timelines of your goals and above all, be creative. Your long-term goals do not have to be abandoned. Many people fail because they start their journey strong, being too strict, which is NOT sustainable. Consistency is key when it comes to success in your nutrition and training.