Take a look at your calendar.
When’s the next big event?
You probably don’t have to scroll through too many pages to find a holiday, family event, work function, or even vacation.
Now of those upcoming events, which ones do you care about your appearance or the way you look?
Which one(s) are you hoping to shed a few extra pounds for or tighten up a couple of areas?
OR which one are you worried about blowing all of your current progress to date?
It’s probably quite a few of them.
It’s holiday AND wintertime, which means it’s #foodseason and #vacationtime.
Those two hashtags don’t really go together…
Yet, each year when this time of year rolls around, I see two things:
- Crash dieting
- Some serious physical beatdowns in the gym
Both done in an effort to either get that #beachbod for your tropical vacay or make up for how you destroyed the holiday meal.
STOP THE MADNESS!
Because in the long-term, that weight is not going anywhere and you’ll be doing this again the next time a vacation or holiday rolls around.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY.
There are better, gentler ways to get yourself ready to confidently show off your body on vacation and not have to worry about that holiday weight gain hangover.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a plan set in place?
A means to get results to prepare for this?
One less stressor on your plate?
Let’s start planning for a big event, vacation, or holiday by making sure you’re set with a great workout routine.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
Holidays and events make for some of the busiest times of year. From running errands to picking up supplies to shopping and to getting ready it can quickly fill up your time.
Do you know what one of the first things to go is?
I get it. You can’t really skip work or family time for these things, so you start to cut back on some of those additional tasks.
But here’s my piece of advice – DO NOT stop exercising all together.
You’re breaking routines and habits that you have worked so hard to set into place.
You know starting is the hardest part, so DON’T STOP and it’s no longer a worry.
“But I really don’t have time!”
You’re right, you may not have time for your standard workouts, but you have 15 to 30 minutes to do SOMETHING because during these busy times of year, SOMETHING IS
BETTER THAN NOTHING.
Workout in the time you have. It may not be your typical hour, and you won’t be able to fit in your entire workout but sweat it out for the 30 minutes you do have.
Go for a walk!
Do a few core exercises during commercial breaks.
Take 3 to 5 minutes every hour to stretch, walk, or do some light activity.
You’d be surprised to find how much time you can rack up doing bits and pieces here and there.
It’s not perfect and it’s not your ideal; however, it keeps you in a routine and maintains the habits you’ve worked hard to set in place.
What does everyone do after a Thanksgiving meal?
Find the closest comfy spot, and lay back and take a nap.
It’s #foodseason, and we’re all likely to eat a bit more than we should, but that doesn’t mean we can’t combat that feeling of being stuffed and tired with some activity.
One of the simplest ways to get something in during your day is to incorporate post-meal walks.
If you take a 10-minute walk after each meal in your day, you’re garnering AT LEAST 30 minutes of activity.
Not only is it great for your activity level, here are some of the other benefits:
- Aids in digestion
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Lowers blood sugar
- Improves blood circulation
- Minimizes feelings of lethargy
- Can contribute to improved sleep
Walk around the house, move around in place, or head out for a walk with the family, but taking part in these walks can lead to some serious payoffs in both the short- and long-term.
Do you want to know the secret to guaranteeing you stick with your workout routine leading up to a big holiday or event?
We have no problem adding these get-togethers to our calendar, making time to run errands, and spending time in the kitchen so why is it so hard to plan 45 minutes to an hour working out?
It’s because we get so wrapped up in the upcoming events that we quit planning ahead and try to manage things as they approach us because we’re too busy to sit down and plan things out.
I can almost guarantee you’ll save more time planning ahead than trying to fly by the
seat of your pants.
Sit down and plan out your week.
Get specific with how you will be spending your time.
Be realistic in how much time tasks will take and do your best to avoid giving yourself too much or too little time.
Include the number of days and times you would like to commit to workouts.
Then, stick to the schedule!
Don’t let the busyness of life and the other tasks that come up stop you from what’s on your schedule.
You can adjust and modify your schedule to fit those things in, but the reality is nothing given to you needs to be done RIGHT NOW.
Now specifically in relation to workouts, you’re saving yourself the excuse of that the day just got away from you. It’s planned into your calendar, you’ve set reminders (hopefully!), and it’s much harder to neglect or miss.
Stay in the Routine
Now, one of the most important pieces to planning ahead is developing a routine.
We like routine.
We like things to stay the same.
We operate best under those circumstances.
The chaos of holidays and events likes to throw off our routines.
Do your best to keep as much the same as possible when you’re planning your days.
Flex your work hours or move your workouts only when necessary because you are more likely to find an excuse to get out of it when or deviate from the schedule when you’re not used to doing it at that time.
Think of it this way.
Your body has great premonition of what’s next when you’re in a solid routine.
If you work out first thing in the morning every day, it knows that once you get out of bed, it needs to start getting mentally and physically prepared for activity.
That same response doesn’t happen when you one day move your workout to the afternoon. If you’ve done it before, you’ve probably noticed that you feel more sluggish and less motivated to get the work in.
A steady routine helps you be physically and mentally prepared, so you can get the most out of your day.
Add a Little
Big eater during the holidays?
Do you know what the biggest mistake people make when they know they’re a big eater over the holidays?
They try to destroy themselves in workouts to prepare or make up for what was eaten!
I watch people endure LONG and PAINFUL bouts on the treadmill in hope of burning off every last calorie of pumpkin pie. Then throw themselves through absolute beatdown HIIT styles of workouts to burn as many calories as possible before the next holiday
You know why?
Because you’re only making matters worse.
You’re adding A LOT more stress to the body without allowing it to properly adapt to increased stress and workloads. When that happens, our body is more tired, wanting more food, and sending more craving signals than ever before.
Then, not only are you overdoing it in the gym, but you’re overdoing it at EVERY meal.
You only need to add a little.
Add walks, bike rides, or a few more cardio-dense exercises to your typical routine.
But be mindful of the stress!
If you’re already putting yourself through some high-intensity workouts, you probably don’t need to add much more. You may benefit from more mental focus and pushing yourself a bit harder during your current routine.
More, more, more is not the way to fill your dinner plate or your workout time.
Hire a Coach
You’re thinking about year-end work projects, the food you need to cook, and where you’re spending your time this holiday season.
The last thing you need spend more of your time and focus trying to plan your workout routines.
Why not take something off of your plate and hire a coach?
A great coach will be willing to help get you through the holidays with some great workouts that coincide with your goals. You’ll never have to question what or how much to do in order to continue progressing toward your goals during the holidays.
It’s also a great jumpstart for the year to come!
Okay, so the workouts are set, but I will always tell you that you cannot outrun a poor diet. Let’s talk about the nutritional Do’s and Don’t’s for planning for a big event.
Starve or Deprive Yourself Leading Into
It’s a classic mistake.
And you know what? So long as you don’t live under a rock, you probably know it’s a bad idea too!
But has anyone ever told you why it’s a bad idea?
When you go about holidays and events like this, you’re trying to punish yourself enough in order to earn your reward.
But here’s the thing with the restrictive mindset – IT DOESN’T TAKE AWAY THE FACT THAT YOU WANT OR ALREADY ATE IT!
You tell yourself you can’t have any ice cream, so what’s the only thing you think about?
What happens when you finally allow yourself to have the ice cream?
The reward center in your brain is SO happy that it just cannot get enough, and before you know it, one bowl turned into the entire container.
You’re not teaching yourself balance or portion control in the restrictive mindset. You’re actually only strengthening the desire of the reward center. You’re making it and your body hungrier for whatever it is you’re saying “no” to.
I always advise clients to keep up with their normal intake leading up to an event because ONE DAY won’t kill you.
If a client is really concerned, we diet a little bit harder (100-200 calories less per day) and focus on consuming as many clean and nutrient-dense foods as possible leading up to the event to make the day of as minimally stress- and worry-free as possible.
Order or Fill Your Plate in One Breath
Speaking of the day of, let’s talk about how to handle ordering once the has come.
What happens when you sit down at a restaurant?
You chat and catch up with your fellow dinner mates, the waitress shows up and asks if you’re ready and you haven’t even opened the menu. You feel pressured, so you open it, do a once over, and pick the first thing to catch your eye.
Now how about the holiday buffet line?
You walk by a family member talking about what’s new in your life as you mindlessly stack food onto your plate.
In both scenarios, you’re making a hurried decision and those are sometimes THE WORST.
If you’re working to break bad habits and set new ones in to place, a hurried decision will most definitely coincide with your bad habits.
By no means am I telling you to be a social snob, but what I am telling you is to be mindful of what you order and put on your plate.
Ask the waitress for another minute or direct the conversation to the food while moving through the buffet line but plan your plate with intention.
Here are my recommendations for ordering out or going through the buffet line:
- Protein first – find the best protein sources on the menu and pick out your protein source before you hop in the buffet line.
- Veggies next – look for salads, leafy, or cruciferous greens to compliment your protein, fill you up, aid in digestion, and leave less room for the less-nutrient dense foods.
- Pick Out Your Must Have – more on this later, but find the one thing that will satisfy that reward center and keep your meal enjoyable!
Feel Ashamed for Ordering to Your Liking and Needs
We went out to eat recently, and when I placed my order I saw the woman literally roll her eyes at me.
I ordered a Chipotle BBQ salad without beans, corn, or dressing.
I wasn’t asking her to catch the chicken, make a marinade, and cook it!
I just don’t like corn or beans, and I can’t stand having my salad drenched in dressing.
But I took no offense to it because I was ordering what I LIKE.
Too many people are afraid to ask for what they want at restaurants.
Here’s my thought process – it’s always a no if you don’t ask.
The other side of it, it’s a service industry! If they are looking to provide good service, they’re going to help accommodate you!
If there’s something you don’t want or can’t have because of dietary restrictions or preferences, just ask! Worst case scenario they say no, and you then must find an alternative.
Beat Yourself Up for ONE Day
So you’re forced to find an alternative that’s less than optimal or you overdid if for a day, guess what – IT’S OKAY!
There are 365 days in a year, and if you’re eating 3 meals per day, that’s 1,095 meals in one year.
One will not kill you.
Neither will two!
And you know what, one or two meals like that per week won’t even kill you!
There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to enjoying yourself, yet so many of us beat ourselves up for doing that!
Unfortunately, beating ourselves up only makes matters worse because the more you beat yourself up, the more stress you’re creating internally, and the more you stress yourself like that, the harder it is to say no to future temptations.
It limits your ability to get back on track, and it puts you at risk for making more mistakes and falling further off track.
One meal does not tarnish your success, it’s beating yourself up afterwards.
Aggressively Restrict Food Afterward
Do you know the biggest way we beat ourselves up?
You indulged at dinner last night and ate one too many pieces of pie, so what do you do?
You skip breakfast, snacks, and swear you won’t have anything sweet for weeks to come.
Please, don’t do that.
Your body NEEDS nutrients in its system, and when you consume a meal or days worth of low-quality, low-nutrient foods, your body is craving nutrients!
Fill it with what it needs, and you’re setting yourself up to better flush out toxins, remove waste, and reduce the desire for more low-quality foods.
Think About Your “Must Have’s”
Do you ever catch yourself eating something you don’t really even like?
You eat it and instantly regret ever putting it onto your plate.
Here’s the thing with holiday eating….
You DO NOT need to eat EVERYTHING.
“But I feel bad and don’t want to insult the host.”
A little background on me – I really do not like Thanksgiving food. Not because it’s unhealthy or has extra carbs, but because I just really don’t like the food. But trust me, the pressure is there! How do you explain that you don’t like Thanksgiving food?? You can’t. I’m crazy, I know.
Whenever this time of year rolls around, I take some time to think about the things I MUST HAVE. These are the things you cannot live without (or in my Thanksgiving case, the things I can tolerate most and make a meal out of).
Think about your favorite dessert or your favorite side dish.
The things you don’t normally have, but what you absolutely love!
Stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar, or pie.
Pick out the top one or two items, and those things get put on your plate.
Anything else, try to minimize or eliminate all together to keep yourself on point and hopefully prevent you from going overboard with your eating.
Holidays mean you’re likely to get out of your daily routine, and almost guarantee you’re going to be consuming some beverages you don’t typically consume on a Thursday.
That doesn’t mean you stop drinking water.
In fact, you probably want to drink more water.
It will help to keep the muscles and organs hydrated, keep your belly full so you’re not feeling so hungry, and flush out toxins.
- Here’s what I recommend:
- Drink 1 glass of water (minimum) 30 minutes before your meal
- Have water AND your beverage of choice in front of you at the dinner table
- Once you have finished your meal, drink 1 glass of water
- Keep a bottle of water with you or near you wherever you go
Enjoy Yourself and the Event
When it comes time for the event, you need to enjoy it.
Be present in the moment and grateful for the opportunity to eat good food with the people you care about.
Calories and macros are much less important at this point because like I said earlier – one day will not kill you!
Do Your Best
Once the event rolls around, just do your best.
You’re not going to know every ingredient or measurement with your meals, so do your best to think about what’s going on your plate and what you’re consuming.
It’s not a day where you’re meant to be nutritionally perfect, so commit to making the best possible choice given the scenario.
Get Right Back on Track
So you did your best, but you still overdid it just a little bit – now what?
Well, many people beat themselves up and either restrict themselves in the days leading up to or drag out getting back on track because “one more day doesn’t hurt.”
One more day off track is moving one more day further from your goal.
Yes, your weight might be up, so naturally you’re going to think restricting yourself of more calories will help get you back on track but it won’t.
Your body needs the nutrients to get back on track!
You might also feel all sorts of cravings and be faced with all the leftovers, but the more you feed yourself these foods and the longer you wait to get back on track, the harder it is to get started again!
About The Author
Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.