I recently listened to one of Mark Macdonald's webinars (Mark is the author of NY Bestseller "Body Confidence" and owner of Venice Nutrition where I received my Nutrition Coach certification :). In his webinar he talked about "Surviving the Holidays" and I wanted to share some of his very helpful tips along with a few of my own. Many of us want to make sure the days ahead don't catch us off guard. Let's set ourselves up to win. We will be that much more ahead when the New Year rolls around. Here we go...
- Get clear on your goal. Ask yourself what is your goal this holiday season. Is it to lose weight? Progress? Maintain?
- Is your goal realistic? Think about the hectic holiday season and ask yourself if your goal is realistic.
- Is your goal attainable? At some point you may start to think "I don't know if I can really pull this off during the holidays." If you need to, recalculate your goals.
- Make sure your actions meet your expectations. Post your goals on Facebook or share with family and friends so that you can be held accountable.
- Keep the pressure low. Unforeseen circumstances can happen between now and the day after the New Year. You may want to progress during the holidays but you may have to shift to maintaining and that's okay! If you're "maintaining" then that means you're not regressing which means you are still winning. Don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself where it takes away the joy of the journey. If it becomes a burden you will probably quit. Enjoy the process & keep the pressure low.
Maintenance - this means you're doing "just enough" to survive the holidays. Your stress, sleep, food and exercise may be a little off. Your food is your foundation! If your nutrition gets off, then you'll need to ramp up the exercise. The goal here is to maintain.
Progression - let's say you aren't having to do the cooking this year, you won't be attending many holiday parties and you won't be traveling. You may want to progress instead of maintain so that you'll be that much more ahead when the New Year comes. Go for it but switch your goal to "maintaining" if needed.
ALL IN - Maybe you'll go gluten-free or dairy free whatever "all in" means to you. (Soy is low quality, has an estrogen effect and is one of the worst GMO crops so hopefully you're already "soy free"). All in can also mean you're cranking up the exercise.
What do these three phases mean to you? Define it. If you're not clear on your goals or the phase you're in then you're setting yourself up to lose.
- Keep fueling your body & balancing blood sugar by eating every 3 to 4 hours, smaller meals of protein carbs and fat at each meal.
- Don't go without eating all day long so that you can eat the BIG meal at the party or event. If you starve yourself, your blood sugar will be low (which burns muscle, increases cravings and depletes energy) then you'll overeat and that in turn will spike your blood sugar and store fat.
- Plan your mobile readiness food kit (MRFK) when you're on the go. Extra water, protein bars, shakes, jerky/fruit/nuts, hardboiled eggs & veggies/fruit, etc.
- Be creative with exercise instead of thinking that if you don't have time to go to the gym then you just won't exercise. Walk in place, jump rope, or plank while watching your favorite show. Take the stairs. Sit up straight with core pulled in while driving or working at your desk. Park further away from the store. 5-10 minutes of exercise here and there is better than an all or nothing mentality.
- Divide your holiday meal into 2-3 smaller meals & over several hours instead of one BIG meal. This will minimize blood sugar spikes which will also minimize fat storage. Besides, as Christians we are to be self-disciplined and controlled. Be careful of giving into gluttony which can open the door to a cycle of addictions.
- Eat protein and a little healthy fat within one hr. of going to bed. (No carbs or very little carbs).
A final few tips…
- Be thankful and content with what you have.
- If you’re hurting or lonely during the holidays try to reach out to someone else who may be worse off than you are.
- Make the holidays less about the food and more about the reason we celebrate the special day. Make memories of faith, family, friends, fun and THEN the food.
- Use a small plate (or if it's a big plate load up on the veggies and salads and take less of the rest). Resist the temptation to try a little bit of EVERYTHING.
- KISS (Keep It Simple Saint). You don’t want to be so stressed that you can’t enjoy the holidays.
You're a winner!
Set yourself up to win this holiday season and beyond.
Do you have any other holiday survival tips? Would love to hear some more ideas!!