Hello!!! I just returned from a four day family trip to LA. We had a terrific time, albeit your typical family disagreements that always happen around holiday time regarding trip itineraries/restaurant choices/rooming situations/etc. We returned this afternoon after a 6 hour drive. Now personally, I have never been one for long car rides. I get nauseous pretty easily, not to mention bored, and sitting in a hot stuffy car for half the day is obviously no one’s idea of a good time. That said, we were able to watch some great movies, so it wasn’t so bad. Upon arriving at our house, I was feeling quite sluggish to say the least. Not only had I been spending the entire day in a seated position, but I also had not a real workout in several days (besides a family hike one day), my eating habits were also not necessarily on point. This blog is all about accountability, so I am going to be completely real with you here. I overindulged quite a bit these past couple of days, and this is not something that I am proud of. The thing with me is that I when I overindulge, it’s not necessarily in unhealthy foods. I’m talkin’ almonds. Raw, roasted, salted, any way they can be made. In normal doses, they are tiny bursts of delicious protein packed nuttiness, but like anything, they should be eaten in moderation. I ate probably several cups of these delicious roasted almonds one night after dinner. Why? Boredom, most likely. I’m a creature of habit, and as much as I know that midnight snacking is the worst thing that you can do for your body/metabolism/wasitline/etc, I still do it regularly. It is something that I am most definitely working on. Eating past our hunger cues is never a necessary or good thing to do, and I know this. Still, I went ahead and devoured those almonds. There was also the ice cream, chocolate chips, and just general sugar that comes with being on vacation.
I knew, however, that the only thing one can do is get back on track. I yearned for the fresh and free feeling that I would have after finishing a nice workout, I knew how invigorated my body would be. I wanted to give myself that new burst of energy, that new life! So after we got home, I unpacked as quickly as I could, and hopped on the elliptical for an hour, followed by a quick weights and core workout. And now I feel so energized! Though it may seem to be a drag at first, sometimes you just need to suck it up and start your workout. I promise, that euphoric post-shower feeling that you know is awaiting is practically calling to you!
The reason that I am writing all of this is to address something that I certainly face and that I’m sure many other people struggle with: how can one stay active and fit around the holidays?????
What with all the decadent sweets and biting winter weather that beckon us ruthlessly to stay sedentary on the couch by the fireplace in front of the television all day munching on sugary goodies: there are a plethora of excuses that people give to let up on our routines as the holidays come around.
I am by no means able to transcend the calls of baked goods or delicious apple pie from time to time, but I have created a plan of attack for all of us to not give up on our goals or forget our mantras this season!
1. Don’t halt the workouts.
Just because family is in town and seems to be hanging over your shoulder every minute of every day, doesn’t mean that you have to put a pause on your routine! Make it a family event: take everyone out for a beautiful hike at your favorite spot, or maybe encourage a cousin or aunt to try out a spin class with you!
2. Take it outside!
In the winter months, I understand that it is often seems too cold to do anything. Believe me, I am the kind of person who strongly dislikes braving the outdoors whenever the temperature drops to the point where I am unable to go outside with just one layer on. I absolutely despise the frigid weather; this is mostly because I absolutely love being active outside, and I feel that horrid weather always takes the fun pastime of being out in the sunshine away from me! This being said, there are still tons of super fun ways to be active in snowy/colder weather! Build a snowman, go sledding, go cross country skiing, go snowshoeing – all of these activities will give you a MAJOR workout, and you won’t even realize it! Playing and frolicking = the new treadmill.
3. Eat normally (aka don’t skip meals!)
A lot of times, if people know that they will be attending a holiday party in the evening, they will starve themselves throughout the day as a way of “saving up” calories for indulgence later on that evening. This is a completely backwards mindset! Eat regular meals like you normally would: a breakfast and lunch rich in protein and healthy fats, and have an apple or banana before attending the party. This way, you will not feel the need to ravage the cheese and crackers platter out of crazed hunger. Eating regularly during the day will abate your hunger and thus lead to you NOT overeating in the nighttime.
4. Remind yourself what the holidays are really about
Family! Friends! Conversation! Giving! Love! These are the cornerstone values of the holiday season – not the food! Make the people that you are with the main event, rather than the refreshments that come along with the experience. Not only will this cause you to eat smart, but it will also inspire more interactions between you and your family members. Appreciate one another and remember what you are grateful for.
5. Forgive yourself!
It’s ok to let go from time to time, but never forget why you started this healthy lifestyle in the first place! There are so many reasons that you embarked on this journey – don’t give up now.
6. And finally, DO allow yourself to indulge a little bit!
It wouldn’t be the holidays if you completely restricted yourself from delighting in anything! Have fun! Have the cup of hot cocoa; have the extra whipped cream. Just remember that you don’t have to overindulge each and every night – it’s all about balance. Keep up the workouts, and keep up the mindful eating habits, and all the temptations of the holidays will have nothin’ on your willpower.
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of December and New Year!