It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless you’re on a fitness journey in which case this is a time fraught with temptation! Many a promising fitness routine has been disrupted over the holiday season, don’t let yourself be another!
The first step to preventing a full blown blow out over the holidays is to set realistic expectations for yourself during this period. This is key for routine especially. You know yourself, and you know what the holiday season usually looks like for you, let’s start there.
The biggest mistake people make, is to set a plan that is dependant on everything running in a perfect world (6 gym sessions a week, meal prepping every day and no drinking) and more times than not, this never happens. Worst of all, once you set a strict plan and then break it, you’re much more likely to give up entirely and be another ‘next year’ person!
So, let’s start by accepting a few things.. you’re going to have numerous social events, you will probably be eating out more than usual, and you will have a few drinks. This is fine, it’s called the holiday season for a reason, right? So, set your minimums for this period. Minimums are exactly that, the minimum you will need to do each week to consider yourself on track. For example;
- 3 gym sessions per week
- 10,000 steps or equivalent each day (keep active)
- 2 good meals a day (if you’re eating out at night – breakfast and lunch need to be good)
This approach is effective because it’s both easy and realistic. As long as you are above your minimum, you are still on track. This is also much less stressful than trying to follow an unrealistic plan or having no plan at all!
You knew this was coming, surely! Once again let’s not set an unrealistic expectation here. If you’re catching up with friends and family and want to have a few drinks, more power to you! But let’s not go crazy either! Here a few simple strategies to help you enjoy yourself without feeling too guilty!
- If you’re planning on having a few drinks in the evening, eat less carbohydrates during the day! This is an easy way to mitigate some of the excess calories you will be consuming later on and offset some of the potential weight gain from this! This isn’t something to do long term, but a couple of times over the month won’t be the end of the world!
- Set a limit beforehand. Set your limit and stick to it. If you’re going out for drinks and plan on having 4 drinks, have 4 drinks!
- Avoid going overboard. If it happens, it happens. But don’t let it happen too often! You’re in control here.
- Enjoy the break!
This is so important, enjoy yourself. It’s a time to be spent with friends and family! A small break from a more rigid routine can do wonders for your mental health, so take advantage of it!