Hard to believe it was only a month ago I was writing November’s Small Step: Outsmart the Onslaught offering tips on how to get through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years without completely abandoning fitness goals. Now that December’s upon us and we’re only half-way through the onslaught, it’s time to either double down on your strategy or, if you strayed from the plan somewhere between the turkey and pumpkin pie, pick yourself up and get back on the horse. This is no time to be throwing new habits your way. So, December’s Small Step is really just a recap of November’s.
This time of year throws us off our usual habits, be it eating in moderation or exercising regularly. Foods that we would normally need to seek out are suddenly everywhere and in abundance. Simultaneously, holiday chores and responsibilities fill up our days and nights, squeezing out workout time.
For many, the strategy is to white-knuckle it through from October 31st to January 2nd. They resolve to avoid all temptations. But those two months can be mighty long. How many times will you actually substitute carrot sticks for pie and egg nog? Once? Twice? If you manage to do it three times, you’re a more disciplined person than I.
Eventually, we all give in. And, if our strategy is all or nothing – or, in this case, nothing or everything – when we do give in, we give up all sense of control, setting us up for guilt and self-loathing after we ring in the new year.
My strategy isn’t avoidance. It’s indulge, but only under certain conditions:
- Play hard to get. View your options as having to earn your indulgence. You love apple crumble but aren’t a fan of pumpkin pie? Have a sensible serving of crumble and skip the pie. The pie isn’t worth the calories for you. Love both but can’t choose? Take a sliver of each. If you eat only what you really love, you can take a small amount to satisfy your craving and it’ll be easier for you to turn down other things that don’t get your digestive juices flowing.
- Be consumption smart. At each event, choose a couple of things as your treats and keep everything else nutritious and in portion control.
- Plan ahead. Got a big holiday party on Saturday night? Consume things like fruits, vegetables and small amounts of whole grains and proteins throughout the day Saturday. Consuming portion sensible, high-nutrient, low-calorie foods ahead of time allows you to indulge a little at the party without post-party guilt. But, don’t try to avoid eating. You’ll arrive famished, raising the risk of binging.
- Make time for exercise and schedule it. Everything about this time of year that makes finding time for exercise difficult are exactly the things that make exercise necessary. Even when we approach this season with joyfulness, it’s still stressful which will make us feel run-down, sluggish and lower our immunities. Exercise counters all of that. And it burns off some of those extra calories we’re likely consuming. It’s a win-win.
My holiday wish for you – be prudent and mindful while you’re eating and drinking and be merry!
Previous Small Steps posts: January’s Portion Control, February’s Plan Ahead, March’s Accentuate the Positives, Eliminate the Negatives, April’s Substitutions, May’s Go Old School, June’s +1, July’s Reflect, Revamp & Renew, August’s Sleep Your Way to Fit, September’s Tech It Up, October’s Be Flexible.
TRAIN WITH ME
There’s no need to live where I live or join a gym to take advantage of my expertise and hire me as your very own personal trainer. Thanks to GymGo, you can train with me through live, two-way video conferencing in the privacy of your own home and at a fraction of the cost of in-person training. Set up an account at GymGo.com or download the GymGo app on your iOS or Android device, view my profile and sign up for one of my classes to begin your journey to a fit and happier you today!