It’s the most… caloric time… of the year… Raise your hand if you’ve let things slide a bit in years past come the last month of the year.
If you’ve sheepishly raised that gingerbread-dusted hand of yours, it’s ok – you’re not alone.
I’m here to help remove the obstacles to keeping on track with your fitness and fat loss goals. Here are 7 mindset/habit/nutrition/fitness-y strategies to ring in the new year one step ahead.
But first… a preamble
Before we delve into the strategies I need you to repeat the following… loudly, affirmatively, confidently (and in your own head, please)
The rest of the year will NOT be a write-off
The rest of the year WILL require some extra vigilance, self-discipline and planning.
The rest of the year you ARE capable of further progress (think about that… you will be that much closer to your goal at the START of the new year).
The rest of the year you will be very selective in what you choose to indulge in.
The rest of the year you will look for opportunities to move, eat well and MAKE TIME for meal prep and physical activity.
At NO TIME from now until the rest of the year will you utter the words “I’ll jump back on the plan in the new year”… like don’t even think about thinking about this. You may be going away, having family in, a lot of social gatherings etc… this makes things more challenging, NOT out of the question. Start prepping your mind for success now. Think about how you are going to shape your environment to make this a reality.
Who’s with me?
1. Keep mostly good habits January 1-December 20th.
I know, I know… too late perhaps. BUT… this is something I want you to take into consideration moving forward. Even if you’re only starting good habits, now is as good a time as any. In fact, frame it this way; if you can hammer down a few healthy habits now, you can do it ANY time. The fact of the matter is, if you’ve been mostly consistent throughout the year, a week or 2 of moderate indulging won’t matter – especially if you’re grounded by habits you’ve already put into place.
2. Keep 3+ servings of veggies and hit minimum protein targets daily
Again this is the 50 weeks a year kind of stuff, however this is the one habit I would encourage you to maintain as it will naturally push other foods out of the mix. Build a salad or stirfy daily, eat sliced veggies and have generous portions of protein at each meal – even the ones where you eat out.
3. Keep to a minimum of 3 intentional workouts per week (strength/cardio):
Keep your workout schedule.. PRIORITIZE your current work schedule. It’s easy for this one to slip away with the hustle and bustle of Holidays. Remember: You are committed, not interested in your health. Even if it’s a shorter workouts or scheduled for a different time – make sure you fit it in. Plug it into your calendar so it doesn’t fall victim to festive “busy-ness”.
4. Make Implementation Intentions:
Implementation intentions is essentially pre-planning. Know when, how and how much you will indulge in and what you will avoid. You will know (usually) ahead of time what events and parties you will be attending. The problem with the “today is a special day” loophole is that Christmas “season” tends to span 6 weeks. This opens the door for all kinds of “well ‘tis the season” justifications for indulging at every possible moment. By all means indulge in your grandmother’s special shortbread recipe, have your favorite festive beverage on a few nights and absolutely enjoy all of the deliciousness of your Christmas dinners/brunches. That said, pick and choose your desserts strategically.
A client and friend of mine has this policy; eat only 9/10 or 10/10 desserts. Choose to sidestep desserts you are only lukewarm about and eat the ones you love slowly. Know which parties you will have a few extras at and which ones you will be saying “no thank you” to more.
5. Get enough sleep and do your best to keep stress at bay
Holiday season tends to bring with it some stress and anxiety. Keep in mind the following; 1. Most of your anxiety will be first world stress/anxiety. Let’s put this into perspective and try and do what the holidays are meant for; joy, giving, family and laughter. Be sure to prioritize sleep as when you are well rested it sets you up for success in all other areas including; eating, training and having the mental clarity to perform job/household tasks.
Remember the Big Picture
The Holidays can be a wonderful time of letting go of the daily routines in favor of letting loose a bit. I ENDORSE this concept 100% but will add this; We needn’t think of Christmas season in such a dichotomous way. We CAN in fact keep our healthy habits whilst enjoying ourselves and indulging moderately. From my family to yours, I wish you a Merry Christmas (or whatever Holiday you celebrate).
Enjoy the season for all its wonderful aspects.