November advances. And so can your health and fitness – or not, depending on how you navigate the minefields of the holidays!
No worries, here to help. As someone who for years successfully plowed through bowls of Christmas cookie dough and carried an extra 50 lbs of padding, I know the trials, tribulations, and temptations. I’m not one of the natural ‘skinnies’ who’s never had a weight problem and is just going to tell you to only have one cookie. That’s not enough. And I don’t mean not enough cookies, it’s not enough advice. If it were, we wouldn’t be in this weight-challenged mess in the first place, right?
Here are my top ten tips for staying healthy, happy and fit through the holidays. And I’ll be giving you the what, and the why, and LOTS more on the how when you join me on the November Success Club Teleclass. Success Club is a monthly training call with open Q & A with yours truly. For November, the topic is “Healthy, Happy and Fit Through the Holidays”. I’ll not only be giving more advice about how to implement these Top 10 Tips, I’ll also be taking your questions LIVE on the call should you choose to join us. You can sign up for Success Club here (and you can cancel at any time, too.)
For now, here are some action steps you can take today as move into those oh-so-festive final months of the year.
10 Tips for staying healthy, happy and fit through the holidays
1) Be choosy. Choose your event or feast. Pick an event or two coming up through the holidays at which you would really like to celebrate and enjoy all of your favorites. It could be a specific holiday, the eve of the holiday – pick a special occasion.
Rather than starting at the beginning of the season and just hanging on, taking a “little bit of this” and a “little bit of that” all the way through – which can get you into a lot of trouble -pick that one holiday celebration and enjoy your favorites. You can’t gain 10 lbs on one meal, I promise.
‘Moderation’ is overrated and can be a health and body-shaping killer. Those nibbles through the day seem innocuous but add up fast. See How I Gained 2 lbs in 2 Weeks. Be choosy.
2) Stay well fed. Eating keeps you thin. I think back to 19mumblemumble with another of my hair-brained schemes to drop some pounds by minimizing breakfast, running 7 – 8 miles, and hoping for the best that I could hold out for a low calorie count by day’s end. Want to know how many times I fell face-first into a pan of brownies by late morning? And that was only if it made it past the batter stage. If you are hungry through the course of the day, it’s harder and harder to resist high fat, high sugar foods that are best designed to help your body manufacture and store body fat.
3) Eat before you arrive. Warning: Do not go to a celebration, event, party, buffet – whatever it is – with hunger in your belly.
Beware of buffet madness: pouring sugar and fat over sugar and fat. Remember, it’s not your fault that this tugs at your taste buds – it’s that biochemical pleasure cycle hook that gets you interested. Arriving hungry just makes it worse.
Because guess what. One – or all – of the following may happen.
- you will be sorely tempted to eat all of the foods that are presented before you
- your judgement will waver
maywill make a lot of decisions about what you put in your mouth that you regret
4) You can’t eat what you don’t have. What do you have going on in the fridge– right now? What do you have going on in the pantry – at this minute? Do you have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables? And good whole grains? And beans? And all the foods that are going to keep you well sated, without taking away from your fitness and health goals? It’s time for a food availability check.
5) Handle the food pushers. You go to a party, you go to an event. They have a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Or a LOT of this and that. And isn’t it always true that it’s the people that we love that really are…Well, let’s put it this way. You want to please them, and you want to keep them “happy”. Yet there can be a serious compromise here if you start eating all these foods in front of you. Unless it’s your selected feast day (See Part 1: “Be choosy“), it’s got the potential to destroy all that you’ve got going on with your health and fitness goals.
There’s more than one way to say ‘no’. Get creative!
- the booked solid trick: To escape the forced food, I’ll pat my belly and say “I’m so full up, I’m so booked, I couldn’t eat another bite!”
- the eat it later trick: “Oh, that looks SO good. Could I take some and have it later?”
- push-it around trick: You take some anyway, and just push it around on your plate. However, this tactic comes with a warning: It can be problematic because, well, there it is right in front of you and it’s easier to indulge.
6) Eat a high fiber, slow burn breakfast. A couple of my favorites are a big steamy bowl of steel cut or old fashioned rolled oats with some flax seed or walnut and fruit piled on top. This meal has it all:
- This morning’s breakfast: Steel-cut oats, berries, apples, and a sprinkle of flax seeds, cinnamon, and coconut sugar make an ideal ‘slow burn’ breakfast. Slow burning carbohydrate, as opposed to the ‘quick in, quick out’ type you get with pastry or a processed food
- solid plant protein
- essential, healthy fats, the best kind, coming in its whole plant-food package!
We’re looking for high nutrition and satiety with sustenance. Remember The 3 rules of satiety & why they are critical to your weight loss plan: Becoming naturally thin part.
7) Follow the 50/50 rule. The 50/50 rule makes it all so easy. No need to count, weigh, measure, or otherwise addle your brain with making healthy, slimming meals. Once I got this – well, let’s just say it took an extra 1/2 inch off of everywhere and makes keeping weight in check running like well-fed clockwork.
How the 50/50 rule works
- Imagine that at day’s end, you could pile all the food you ate during the day on a big platter.
- 1/2 of the platter should be piled with high water content vegetables and a couple of fruits. 50%
- The other half should be piled with all the rest of your whole foods: Starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, legumes. 50%
There you have it. The 50/50 rule. This also ensures that you get:
- Plenty of dietary fiber which is key in satiety and keeping you naturally thin.
- The amazing alkalanizing effect of vegetables and fruits
8) Exercise with vigor every day. Moving with vigor gets your brain-to-body connection synced up. When you really get into your body, and you really challenge your physicality, get your heart pounding hard and get your breath going and really make those muscles work, you set into motion a pathway that leads to 4 big effects:
- you create a sense of groundedness in your body
- you create a spirit of vitality throughout your system
- you release and reduce stress by metabolizing those stress hormonesthat are keeping you locked up in ‘Friday’ neck’ (you know, where you start wearing your shoulders as earings) and other nasty effects
- you generate increased confidence for making better choices through the rest of the day
9) Reach beyond the cookie tray. Each choice we make every day is either based in seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. Somehow that cookie tray and the fudge platter present themselves to us as such sources of such pleasure that we forget the pain that is right behind them.
I’m going to ask you to reach beyond the tray of goodies to the pleasure that is beyond by delaying that gratification. And turn your focus to what it feels like to wake up every morning feeling:
- well ‘digested’
- trim, fit, and great in your favorite yoga pants
Reach beyond that tray to your better, higher choice.
10) Don’t throw in the towel. Say you fall short, you trip up. Something happens: You weren’t prepared enough with good food, you ate the ‘wrong’ thing…Don’t throw in the towel. The next day, the next hour, the next minute is a chance for a new beginning. You are in charge. You are in control. You can take advantage of being the best that you can be at any moment in time. Remember, it’s just a mindset shift to get you back on track.
Hope you’ll be joining us on the November Success Club call!