folks, there is roughly one week left in the year, and we are coming up on some of the hardest days to stay on track: christmas eve, christmas day, new year's eve, new year's day. i get a little anxious inside just thinking about it. but alas! here i am on sunday, planning ahead to make sure i sail out of the year on a high note and without straying from the healthy habits i've worked on all year!
so here's a quick look at how i'm going to tackle the last days of 2012 - hopefully they will provide some strategies for you!
1) plan "treats" beforehand on high temptation days!
duh: people like to have a lot of wonderful meals prepared on big holidays. but you don't have to give into temptation just because tradition tells us so! make sure you don't feel deprived by trying to avoid treats. instead, plan ahead what treats you'll allow yourself to have. this will save you from a "damnit i just had a cookie and i shouldn't have any cookies so now i'll eat two more" moments. if you plan your treats and their according calories ahead of time, you can prevent additional treats from making their way onto your plate because you've already allowed yourself to enjoy some! i plan to make gluten free sugar cookies on christmas eve so i know i'll have some tummy safe goodies to nibble on during christmas festivities. the limit is two for the day (i'm making small cookie portions, which makes me feel better about having more than one. sneaky)
speaking of things making their way onto plates...
2) plan your meals ahead of time!
it's 105% okay to ask your family what the food plan is for the holidays (this is one of the first things i ask just because i can look forward to my mom's amazing home cookin'). if you know ahead of time, you can be mentally prepared for what your plate will look like at meal time. this also gives you a chance to make and bring your own side dishes, if temptation for less healthy items will be too strong. if you offer to bring a side dish, what host would turn you down?? i welcome all and any side dishes at my holiday shin digs. i'm preparing to go pretty protein heavy during all holiday meals - steering away from anything carby (yes, even potatoes) and focusing on greens and fruits. if there's no salad on the menu, i will make sure i bring one!
have i mentioned the word "plan" enough? if two times wasn't enough let's go for three...
3) plan your workouts!
planning your workouts is an effective method for staying on track 24/7/365, but it can be especially effective during crazy, busy times when the lazy part of our brain can easily convince ourselves "we don't have enough time to do something silly like sweat." this is a lie, because you can always make time. always. right now, look at the week ahead and start figuring out when you can get your workout in. is it first thing in the morning christmas eve and christmas eve morning? or is it christmas evening while everyone is napping off a hearty dinner? whenever it is, schedule it, write it down and hold yourself accountable. you will feel so much better when you fit those workouts in and it will keep you on track for the rest of the year. i'm already looking forward to my 5 mile christmas morning run. i'll get up before everyone else, run an easy 5 miles on *hopefully* crisp christmas snow, and start the christmas coffee as soon as i get back in the house. doesn't that sound awesome? yeah, i thought so.
and what happens if you don't plan your meals, you eat too many gingerbread men and you don't workout a single day before the year ends? well, my advice to you then is...
4) don't beat yourself up.
yes, staying healthy and being consistent is important. but what's also important is spending time with the people we love the most. family, friends, pets and children - the reason the holidays are so special is because of the time we get to spend with those we care about! so show yourself some compassion, don't be too hard on yourself and just enjoy the time you have while you have it. a healthy lifestyle isn't just about eating right or working out, it's also about nurturing the relationships we have and having fun. i'm going to turn off my cell phone and focus my undivided attention on those i'm with on christmas and if i goof up and have one two many glasses of wine or an accidental scoop of mashed potatoes, so what? tomorrow is a new day and my plan is to enjoy the day i have in the moment!
a few other thoughts:
- know your triggers. if you know what causes you to over indulge or skip a workout, being aware of them is the first way to preventing them from happening. knowledge is power!
- baking treats? set a couple aside for your house and give the rest away! temptation avoided.
- h20 and h20 some more. keeping hydrated is a good way to help you distinguish whether your body is just thirsty or actually hungry. water can also help your belly feel full and prevent snack attacks or over eating at meal time.
- buddy up! make exercise dates with friends or family. it's harder to break a plan to exercise when you have to meet someone at the other end!
so those are my keys to staying on track during the holidays. what are your key tactics to sticking to your plan?