Welcome, welcome, welcome, new readers from Heroes In Recovery! I’m so glad you’ve come over to join our community, and I hope you find the support and encouragement you need here.
Being up here in Northern California with my family, I’m finding myself more present and mindful than I’ve been in a long time. I don’t know if it’s because of the chill in the air, or my thrill at the holiday decorations that line every house down the street (something very different from the LA neighborhood I came from).
I catch myself drinking in the moments when everyone is around the table, laughing about something only my family would think is funny.
I find myself belting out along with Nat King Cole to The Christmas Song (my favorite of the season).
I notice the brilliant smile of a toddler when they hear that Santa’s right there in the same mall as them!
It’s these little things throughout the season that make the holidays worth all the hassle. Ready for the bah humbug of this sentiment? Along these same lines, it’s the little things throughout the season that make your health and fitness goals a big ol’ hassle afterwards!
Like I told all y’all a couple weeks ago, I’m still getting back up from a few weeks of being sick and exhausted, and it feels gooooood to move again. Eating clean, however, has been a challenge.
I’m staying with my Grandparents and–because it’s their job as Grandparents–they’ve stocked the pantry and laid out all sorts of goodies across every open surface. Cookies, candy, popcorn, ice cream, you name it!
You’d all be so proud! More times than not, I’m sticking to my guns and saying (politely), “No, thank you.” It’s quite different than a few Christmases ago.
I used to be quiiiiiite a bit more lenient over the holidays, grabbing a handful of mint M&M’s here, and a couple of cookies there. I wouldn’t eat unhealthy meals, but I’d snack on whatever Grandma or Mom had lying around.
I’d exercise a bit, but wouldn’t keep to my normal program, making excuses that I didn’t have equipment, or I didn’t have time to do my regular hour and a half workouts (yeah, that’s how long I used to work out!).
When I’d get back home, my pants were tight and I felt like a sleepy, fuzzy-headed doof. Getting back into the swing of things took a little longer than it does now.
It’s the holidays, and you want to be able to enjoy it, but I also don’t want you to wreck yourself for the next month so that it takes you another 2 to pick yourself back up again.
You don’t have to avoid all the things that make the holidays delicious. It comes down to the little things that can save you from post-holiday regret.
Every year, I get a slew of questions from clients and readers about what they can do to find that balance. This year, I figured I’d finally just write about it and give you a little gift as well. Keep reading to open your stocking… ;)
So here we go, boys and girls! My trainer-iffic guidelines for keeping the little things in check so you can enjoy the holiday season without the New Year’s guilt!
Set an intention
The most powerful thing you can do to keep yourself from holiday regret is to make a commitment to yourself and put it down in writing. To help you stick to your goals, I’ve drafted up an easy cheesy Healthy Holiday Helper Worksheet to keep you on track for the next couple weeks!
Click here to print it out, then read through the next few categories before filling it out. They’ll help you through the process!
Nutrition guidelines (that won’t keep you from enjoying the season)
Ok, ok, it’s the holidays. There are all these foods around that aren’t available at any other time of the year. I want you to be able to enjoy this time of year, but I don’t want it to put you out for weeks on end after the fact!
That’s why I’m giving you a little extra room for indulging. Instead of The 90% Principle, you’re going to follow The 80% Principle, allowing for 20% opportunities… and keeping you in the same size pants. Don’t expect to lose any sizes while on this plan, but as long as you’re keeping up with your exercise schedule, it will at least keep you from doing damage while you’re getting jolly with it! *nerdy snort-laugh*
You’re going into the last few weeks of the year prepared so that you don’t get blind-sided by temptation central (i.e. Grandma’s house). Knowing how many opportunities you get throughout each week, you’ll be better equipped to handle temptations when they come your way.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. Here’s what counts as an opportunity:
- 2 Christmas cookies = 1 opportunity
- 1 slice of pie = 1 opportunity
- 1 small handful of candy from Grandma’s candy dish = 1 opportunity
- 2 clear alcoholic drinks without flavored mixers = 1 opportunity
- 2 alcoholic drinks with flavored mixers or that are opaque = 2 opportunities
- Christmas dinner with all the fixings = 3 opportunities
- Christmas dinner with all the fixings and dessert = 4 opportunities
There are so many other options, but at least this will give you a base from which to manage your own choices.
Remember, your opportunities lie in these little things. I don’t think it’s the big meals that really get us in the end every year. It’s the handful of candy here and the extra scoop of ice cream there.
The key to winning out over calorie overload this season is mindfulness. Be aware of what you snag off the snack table. Ask yourself if it’s really that delicious to count as an opportunity. Be mindful of how your mind and body are feeling from the kinds of food and drink you’re taking in.
You’re not on a diet, you’re on a plan for life, right? The holidays will be a part of that life from here til the end, and they are not your enemy. Being mindful of your choices and remembering what’s important will keep you on track through this season so you can start out the new year that much closer to your resolution!
Program your holiday
Going into these holidays with a little extra preparation will help you stay on track even if you don’t have any equipment or any extra time to work out.
On the third page of the worksheet, you’ll see a calendar that covers the next few weeks. You’re going to come up with 3 different workouts…. what am I saying? I’m the trainer here! I’ll do it! ;)
I’ve put together 3 different workouts that can be done anywhere without equipment, as well as a schedule to go with it! Say bye bye to your excuses, ’cause we’re getting rid of them right here and now!
This schedule includes 3 different workouts using the Strong Inside Out Workout Videos as your strength, and sprints as your cardio. If you don’t have the videos, you can buy them here, or you can use another bodyweight HIIT workout program like The Mindful Workout.
These workouts give you the best bang for your buck: minimal time commitment with maximal challenge, which leads you to mega metabolism motivation! They’ll help you through those days that you may need a little extra calorie burning (you’ll see that you’re working out on the big feast days :)).
Now here’s the important part: look at this schedule, take in your workouts, and STICK TO THEM. Make the commitment to get these workouts in and really challenge yourself!
Doing something new is always exciting, but these workouts in particular will spend you as well! Know that going in, and embrace the difficulty while keeping in mind your WHY.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge to stay on track this holiday season. You just have to watch your little things that sneak in here and there.
Reign those in, become mindful, and you’ll come out of this holiday season feeling present and ready for the new year to begin!
Any New Year’s resolutions already brewing out there? Let me know if I can help you put one together by commenting below! Happy to help if I can. :)
I’m off to cuddle up on the couch with the G-rents and a mug of tea. Wishing you a cozy and love-filled holiday, too!
pic by ginnerobot