It’s starting in only a couple of weeks. You’ve starved yourself to fit into the outrageous Halloween costume you’ve chosen this year, your Thanksgiving plans are set, the talk in your office is already about plans for the end of the year celebration, and before you know it, it’ll be time once again for you to make those New Year’s Resolutions that you never keep. Fear not, friends. Almost nobody really keeps them.
It’s been a year of gym classes, working out, trying at least six different DIEts over the past year, and no matter what you do, it seems, when “HOLIDAYREXIA” hits, it’s as if there’s a great typhoon of eating, drinking and partying that packs on the pounds, picks you up and carries you over the January 1st goal line. While the inevitable weight gain is really not as much as people fear, the real problem is many don’t lose the yearly weight they put on.
It’s not at all inevitable and there are effective tools that can help you avoid the “poundage dread” and instead leave you filled with the good cheer everyone talks about, but too rarely actually experiences.
Above all, the most important rule, the one never to forget, the one to share with your family and friends, the one to write down and keep up front on your desk and on the dashboard of your car – this top tool, is to make the holidays a lifestyle, not just a season. Everything else is secondary.
- Make an intention to pump up your health
First of all, start wearing a digital device and keep wearing through January 1st. It will help you stay focused on your health, give you a top health topic to talk about with others and stimulate you to think about the number of ways to move more through the day. It’s very important to schedule time with your trainer, workout buddies, and group exercise classes NOW. Commit to working out on any day you have a party, no matter how formal or informal. There are really no excuses, given the vast amount of ideas to work out at your desk, while watching television, 24-hour gyms, or just plain parking further away from your destination, always taking the stairs, walking, jogging, or running to where you are headed. Use the airport, shopping mall or pit stops on your holiday driving trip to do a ten-minute high intensity interval jog.
- Party heart healthy and eat body wisely
Begin by being able and willing to say “NO.” This means to events that you don’t really want to attend, to things you really don’t want to do and to food you don’t really want to eat. Of course, check the reasons and be sure you aren’t being purely just selfish. If saying “NO” serves a health purpose, that’s one thing. If it’s about still not forgiving your friend or family member, you’ve got some work to do. And while we’re on improving yourself and getting over hurts, don’t expect your old Uncle to be much different than he’s been all year long. Faggedabowdit. How it’s “supposed to be” is a myth.
When it comes to eating, OK, this is not going to be easy, but you can do it. More protein, fruit and less refined carbs are part of the answer. Remember this: you can eat everything you want on the buffet table, OR you can stay thin, fit and healthy. You just can’t do both. That means don’t linger at the buffet, take the smaller plate, don’t even go down the chips aisle at the grocery store, and continue driving past your favorite cupcake and dessert shop. Pile your plate with veggies, lean meats, and salad. Sure have a “cheat” once in awhile. Always be a “dessert splitter”—“Want to split this cupcake?…it looks delicious but I only am going to enjoy a small piece of it.” Then savor the treat as slowly and mindfully as you can.
- The link is what you think.
Life is all about how you think about it. Remember, “If you think you can, or think you cannot, you are right.” What you tell yourself about what you “just must have” or what you think you “should be able to eat” or what you imagine “doesn’t really matter” is your reality. It’s also your weight and health. Remember, you can eat everything you want on the buffet table, OR you can stay thin, fit and healthy. You just can’t do both. It’s what you believe. People carry so many sabotaging thoughts about eating, weight management, and holiday party food. Here’s a sampling: “Watching what I eat should be easy.” “It’s not okay to waste food.” “If I get hungry, the hunger will get worse and worse unless I eat something.” “There is nothing I can do to make my cravings go away.” “It’s okay to eat this food because I’m stressed, everyone else is eating it, it’s just a little piece and I’ll make up for it later.” “I’ve already blown it so it doesn’t matter what else I eat.” See how completely erroneous, illogical, irrational and unreasonable these thoughts are? Question what evidence you truly have for the veracity of your thoughts. There is none. They are just thoughts. So, create a food plan before you attend any gathering, stick to it no matter what unhelpful thoughts your create, and arm yourself ahead of time with written rational response counters to each irrational thought that you can anticipate will pop up—pull out the written card, read it to yourself and enjoy the veggies.
Why are the holidays a lifestyle and not just a season? Remember what the holidays are all about. It’s a time to reflect on boosting your gratitude, happiness, and giving to others—not just over a day, but as a reminder for over your entire life.
Keep those close to you who boost your wellbeing, and perhaps you’ll be on the road to a lifestyle of holiday satisfaction and joy, health and happiness, not just for a short time period on a given calendar day. Planning ahead, putting your intentions clearly in front of you, and finding the positive in whatever happens, that’s the way to make it a lifestyle.
That’s my plan to insure you stay trim, fit, healthy and healthy over the next two months of holiday festivities, and most importantly for your lifetime, building on all of the great fitness you created for yourself during the past year.