Tuesday, 13 December 2016 12:27

How to Make Sure Your Pants Still Fit for New Years

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The Christmas season is right around the corner – this means quality time with friends and loved ones, cold nights wrapped up on the couch watching classic movies, awesome work and holiday parties, and an extra ten pounds of unwanted weight as a result of:


No exercise – it’s too cold!


Stuffing yourself on unhealthy delicious food and alcoholic beverages – why not!

Vegging on the couch due to the colder weather and shorter days – I can start January 1st!

Well, I say NOT THIS YEAR!

I’m not going to tell you to skip the drinking, or anything the slightest bit unhealthy, or miss out on your parties; I still want you to have fun and do the things that make you happy with the people you love. I want you to do all of that, but without losing any momentum, flat out dominating these next two weeks.

Here are the common and biggest struggle stated by my clients on getting healthy.

OVERWHELMINGLY, I received two types of responses above all others:

“I know what I need to do, I just can’t get myself to do it.  I lack the motivation!”

“Once I get started, I fall apart after a week or two. I lack the dedication.”

Building new healthy habits is hard enough when the sun is shining and the weather is beautiful.  During this time of year, however, you have to factor in crappy weather, shorter days, and a busy holiday schedule.  It’s very easy to get sidetracked and overwhelmed, saying things like:

“Meh, I’ll wait till January 1st.”

“Why bother starting now?  Christmas is next week!”

“Who cares! It’s a party!”

These types of thoughts are bad news bears. They allow you to rationalize bad behavior, “you know, because of the holidays.” Soon the problem with making bad decisions are intensified, you get down on yourself, freak out about all of the weight you’ve gained, yell at yourself for being lazy, and then eat comfort food to make yourself, for the time being, feel better about the situation.

According to a recent survey, almost 60% of people admitted to gaining weight during last year’s holiday season.

Office ‘goody days’ are killers. Food is brought to the office and placed on tables right outside my cubicle. It is November 2nd and I’ve had to walk past piles of candy since Halloween. As soon as that’s gone it will be time for Christmas gorging.”

“One of the biggest issues I have during this time is when family comes to visit, there’s always tons of snacks just laying around the house. When things get boring, which they always do, there is a greater temptation to snack unhealthily.”

“Being home for the holidays and all of the associated outings and activities means a combination of two things: more eating out (very easy to eat too much with dessert every night, and less healthy options) and less consistent working out.”

“When staying with friends & family, it’s so hard to step away even for 20 minutes — since i only see those people a couple of times a year, there’s a lot of *guilt* associated with doing this selfish exercise thing.”

“Um…chocolate. And cookies. And candy. And pie. And ice cream. Anything and everything that has to do with sugar.”

“Familial pressure. I have a hell of a time saying no when everyone is all, ‘But! I made this just for you!’ Also, socializing in the extended family ALWAYS revolves around food.”

How to not suck at the Holidays

Here are some surefire ways to make sure you don’t suck at life during the holiday season:

A short workout is a million times better than no workout – No more of this “meh, I only have 30 minutes, why bother?” Do you realize what you can accomplish in 30 minutes?  A quick power walk or a Tabata workout can be completed in less than twenty minutes.  

EVERY MEAL COUNTS!  Just because you ate a crappy breakfast this morning does NOT mean the day is ruined.  Just because you’re going to gorge on mom's sugar pie this afternoon does NOT mean you get to say “**** it” and eat whatever the rest of the day.

If you’re going to eat ONE bad meal, that still gives you the opportunity to eat two really good meals. 

If you are going to eat poorly, don’t also add in tons of liquid calories.

If you are going to eat a bad lunch and dinner, stick to a reasonably sized breakfast with plenty of protein, which will keep you fuller longer and temper the urge to stuff your face later.

As soon as you eat ONE bad meal, the next meal becomes the most important meal of the week.  One bad meal does not make you gain weight. It’s when that one bad meal is followed up by a week of bad meals that things get ugly really quickly.  Eat a bad meal and move on!

Have a support team to keep you accountable.  If you happen to be the only person in your family interested in being healthy, or the only one at a party that’s taking your own well-being into consideration, this is going to be a tough few weeks. So don’t do it alone!  Have somebody that you can text or call each day. You’d be amazed what a simple text message each morning can do for you.  

Choose awesome – “Oh it’s the inevitable holiday weight gain” is the rationalizing attitude most people take as they funnel eggnog down their throats and eat enough mashed potatoes to make Mr. Potato Head spin.  Even worse, the, “It’s hopeless to try, I’m just going to go on my diet after the holidays,” is even worse!  Start by adjusting your expectations for the next few weeks.

There’s no reason you can’t kick ass instead, right? Yes, you can stay healthy AND have fun.  You don’t have to ride the holiday weight gain train.  That train blows.

Choose to be awesome instead.

Hopefully, at this point in your life, you’re in agreement that you don’t want to turn into Billy Bob in Bad Santa. However, we all know holiday parties can get the best of us if we’re not careful…

Learn to love the 80/20 rule.  If you are going to attend your office and family parties and plan on eating and drinking whatever the hell you want, that means you need to be incredibly diligent in your normal days. No more, “okay just one” which leads to four or five.  Instead, aim for great week days – eat great breakfasts before work, bring your lunch in, and cook a great dinner.  Then, on holiday parties and family gatherings, eat what’s available.

Eliminate the term “cheat day” or “cheat meal” from your vocabulary. “Cheat” implies that you’re doing something wrong or immoral and should thus feel guilty afterward, which I don’t think is true.  Eating great 80% of the time and eating what you're in the mood for during the other 20% will allow you to feel good, look good, and have fun.

Be innovative.   Here’s a brief rundown on how to get through the parties as well:

Bring something healthy.  If you know you’re headed to a party with a bunch of unhealthy foods, BRING something healthy.  And healthy doesn’t mean it needs to suck.  You know people would be ALL over these bacon-wrapped sweet potato bites or bacon-wrapped jalapeno chicken bites.  Too much work? Steak tips!

Be okay with being the “weird healthy” one.  Though your relatives may encourage overeating by shoving seconds onto your plate, it’s OK to respectfully decline. “I’m full” or “I’m taking a break” should be enough for friends and family members to back off (and give you time to decide if you’d really like more).

Choose your alcoholic beverages carefully.  It can be the difference between a handful of calories and a few hundred calories, which adds up significantly when multiplied by half a dozen cocktails (or a dozen? Yikes) throughout the evening.  Alternate a glass of water and a drink.  Sure, the drinking is unhealthy, but more often we lose our inhibitions around food and start gorging ourselves which leads to weight gain.

Stay positive. Many of us demonize certain foods and even punish ourselves for indulgences. Instead, positive messages like “I can control my eating” or “I’m proud that I didn't stuff my face today” can reframe your relationship with food. Even if it feels a little silly, try telling yourself at least one positive affirmation per day.

Be awesome the next day.  Don’t let one night ruin your holiday season.  After all, eating at the party was all part of the plan, right? Check in with your support team.  Eat great. Be awesome.

Go forth and dominate!

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 December 2016 16:12
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