Yup, it’s that time of year again! The holidays are upon us and there is a paaartay at almost every turn! We had our office party, a staff departmental party, volunteer party, neighborhood party, friend party, and spouse’s work parties to boot. You get the idea!
And while it’s hard enough to navigate all the parties, there’s also the “goodies” that are being thrown at us as gifts and celebrations. I walked into the break room at work and there was a box FULL of sweet treats. Peanut butter and chocolate no less. GASP! And these evil temptations were in the break room for days!
So here are six strategies to put into effect to counteract any sabotage to your will power and fitness goals.
We tend to hate being accountable to someone as it creates a responsibility. Dare we say, transparency?! But this is probably your strongest strategy during the holiday season! Contact your “safe” friend or family member (the one who won’t say, “It’s ok, it’s that time of year, just have fun!”) and enlist their support. Prior to going to an event, tell them what’s up, and ask if they’re available for you to text during the event if you get weak. Tell them to encourage you to stay strong and be your cheerleader. And trust me, they’ll take it seriously when you entreat them for help! USE THEM when needed. You just may end up reciprocating the support as well.
- If headed to the office and you know people are bringing desserts, snacks, and other delectable, tempting goodies?
- Bring an insulated lunch bag that doesn’t need the break room’s refrigerator and don’t venture near the break room. Choose to eat in the lobby, or anywhere else with your box lunch, away from the desserts and tasty snacks that well-meaning colleagues brought in to work!
- Drink water or tea. When the temptation first knocks, start there. And use the distraction of a challenging project or work to give time for the temptation to wane.
- If headed to a party?
- Fill up on your allowed foods prior to the event.
- Bring a dish to pass to the party. Something that YOU can eat, without cheating. Veggie tray. Fruit bowl. Lean slices of cut meat.
- My husband works in the alcohol industry and learned early on to have flavored seltzer water and a lemon in a glass instead of alcoholic drinks all night at events. It looks festive, but you don’t load up on sugar, calories, nor risk the embarrassment of looking like an idiot in front of your boss from a wee too much rum! Win-win
You know this already… The busyness of the holidays can make it very difficult to fit time for exercise. If that’s the case for you, try to avoid the all-or-nothing mentality. Instead of, “I can’t make it to the gym today so I’m going to blow off the week”, try getting in something – it’s better than nothing. Not only does your body need it, but your emotional and mental well-being needs this stability during the holidays, too!
IDENTIFY YOUR WEAKNESS
For me, I’m a sugar addict. Actually, I think this must be similar to what an alcoholic feels! If I eat sugar, then I must have more. I don’t want to stop and it feels like it’s controlling me instead of me controlling it. It’s the one place in my life where I struggle with moderation … I have to have it all! Most of us striving for improved fitness have to identify and deal with a weakness of some sort. Is it breads? Salty foods? Volume of food? Sugar? Soda? You wouldn’t tell an alcoholic that it’s the holidays, so drink up and be merry! Maybe that’s the same for us in our individual weaknesses. Identify what it is that sends you into cravings to the point of insanity. And GET RID OF IT. Don’t have it in your house, and don’t go near it at work or at parties. Be that serious about it.
WE’RE NOT PERFECT
Being a human means being imperfect. So don’t let an imperfect food choice spiral you out of control for a day, a week, a month. Or to use it as an excuse to allow yourself a free-for-all 24-hour binge because “well, I already blew it so I might as well continue!” (Yes, I’ve done that.) Dust yourself off. Have some self-compassion and hit reset. Okay, so you blew it. Past tense. Get over it. The past NEVER has to dictate the future. So call your accountability friend, fess up, and ask for encouragement going forward. And do something positive to counteract the negative feeling about falling off … go for a walk, help someone in need, get out of your environment, just get moving.
It is the season for kindness and gratefulness after all! In the days before Christmas, keep a notebook by your bed and write down just one thing you are grateful for each day (and if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop at just one thing!). For me, I’m a woman of faith and this anchors me. You may just find yourself carrying this habit into the new year! It’s the best antidote when feeling overwhelmed, under-equipped, and out of your comfort zone. Being grateful re-centers you about what’s important and turns off the negative chatter in your mind. Be kind to yourself, too.
So put your on your armor this holiday season and gird yourself with these strategies. Be proactive instead of reactive so you’re not caught off guard.
May you find much grace and peace this season.