Yes, it’s true, the holidays are upon us!
The family gatherings, the friends, the FOOD. Believe it or not, it’s a make or break it time of year if you’ve been on the fitness train. And you may think that there’s no way you can blow off all the progress you’ve made in a few weeks, but it’s a very slippery slope. And who wants to be at the bottom of that slope again making the same fitness resolution in January? Not I!
For a bit of transparency, I haven’t mastered the holiday maintenance game. The holidays, especially Christmastime, have been my downfall for several years in a row. I recently checked my all time tracking history on Lose It and found that I typically maintained my weight-loss all year and then steadily gained by 5-10 pounds almost each December, UNFAILINGLY.
This may not seem like a lot, but I’m at the size where it literally take months to shed pounds and body fat. So, for this year, I’m trying to approach the holidays differently to see if I can break this cycle. I’ve come up with tips that will enable me to enjoy the holidays and the delicious food that comes with them without sacrificing my hard- earned progress and current goals. I hope you can apply these tips over the the holiday season.
TIP #1: Ditch the All or Nothing Mindset
I’ve blogged on here a couple of times about having an all or nothing mindset when it comes to fitness. Case in point:
I’m one of those all or nothing type of healthy living folks. When my diet is trash, I usually don’t bother working out. That may seem odd, but I’ve never been one of those, “OMG, I just ate a burger, I have to go to the gym and burn it off” type of folks. If I’m chowing down on a burger or greasy pizza or another delicious food vice, that usually means that I’m on a cheat streak, which means I’m off the wagon. But maybe that’s just me. My diet and workouts have to be aligned. — Me, circa 2013
Over the past year, I had the epiphany that this mentality was killing my progress so I’ve been working hard to overcome it. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it because even when I haven’t lost weight or body fat, I’ve been able to maintain my size. Aha, see what I just did there? Don’t be like the old me of 2013 and go on a cheat streak with no exercise! Just because your nutrition isn’t 100% on point, doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. And conversely, just because you indulge doesn’t mean you should punish yourself in the gym (this was never me). I’ve finally found a happy medium by keeping up with steady exercise while eating healthy the majority of the time (see tip #2).
TIP #2: Make Healthy Choices Most of The Time
Let’s be honest, we’re going to indulge over the holidays and that is absolutely fine! In fact, I encourage it because life is too short to not enjoy food, which is seriously one of the greatest pleasures in life. Also,you won’t be inclined to binge on unhealthy eats if you aren’t too restrictive. Remember, it’s all about the 80/20 rule.
For example, I just finished meal prepping for the upcoming week, specifically MTW since I have Thursday and Friday off of work. I prepared zoodles with marinara sauce and ground turkey, grilled chicken breast with veggies and quinoa and I have a slew of healthy snacks for the week. I plan on indulging on Thursday which doubles as Thanksgiving & my 30th birthday and getting back on track for the most part come Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ve also already signed up for fitness classes all week.
Since I’m eating healthy eats the majority of the time coupled with regular exercise, there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to maintain my weight. I still get to enjoy food that I love while being respectful of the progress I’ve made.
TIP #3: Do a Fitness Challenge
Friends, I used to be really skeptical of fitness challenges around the holidays because I found them to be useless due to my all or nothing mentality. But honestly, I think I will do a fitness challenge toward the end of the year from now on. My #FitFor30 challenge has helped me so much! I’ve checked in each day on Instagram and I took measurements yesterday and found that I’ve actually dropped body fat, weight and inches. A fitness challenge can consist of anything (being more active, eating clean eats etc) that can help you be conscious of your overall fitness.
TIP #4: Grab an Accountability Buddy
This is helpful because you can check in with friends and family that can help you stay on track. Plus, why not get in some extra bonding time during the holidays? For instance, my sister is coming into town for Thanksgiving and I’m taking her with me to a fitness class on Friday. So I get the best of both worlds — I get to catch up with my sister and bond with her by sharing a new, healthy experience together.
TIP#5: Measure & Reel Back in When Necessary
I’m in the minority of folks that don’t mind stepping on the scale habitually. For me, the scale is my friend that keeps it real. I’ve been checking my stats weekly over the past year so there’s no reason to stop during the holidays. It will keep me in check and let me know if I’m truly maintaining or if I have to reel it back in and be more mindful of my nutrition.
If you absolutely hate the scale (totally understandable), take measurements and take note of how your clothes are fitting. If the numbers are going up or your favorite pair of jeans are feeling snug, don’t freak out or get discouraged. Take a step back and plan to eat a bit healthier, drink more water, and get in some exercise.
TIP #6: Plan, Plan, Plan
I can’t emphasize the importance of planning ahead when it comes to maintenance. Prepare healthy meals ahead of time when you get the chance. If you’re traveling and visiting relatives, stop at the local grocery store and get some healthy eats. I’m heading home to California next month and since I have Classpass, I already penciled in the days that I plan on taking classes and I’ve scheduled days that I know I’ll be indulging, hence the emojis:
My schedule will be similar to what I’ve been doing all year. I’m going to exercise, prep meals most of the month, keep the weekends relaxed and indulge when need be. I’ll be on point with my eats and workouts which is the key to maintenance.
I hope these tips help you and I’m really excited to test them out myself!
Questions: How do you handle your fitness during the holidays? Any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!