There are 61 days left in the year. So 1/6 of a whole year. Starting with Halloween and its candy-laden treacherous waters there are many indulgence opportunities lurking behind the upcoming holidays, parties, events, fatigue, loneliness, and stress. These temptations do not need to be your demise.
What is your strategy going to be this year so that, not only do you have no weight gain in the next two months, but that you also make progress toward your optimum weight and fitness level, if you are not already there. Which, well, most of us aren’t.
Unfortunately, duct-taping your mouth, avoiding all parties and social events, calling in sick to work the rest of the year, and doing a 61 day fast, are just not reasonable options.
So, I brainstormed 13 ideas to help mitigate this holiday habit of eating poorly and feeling like a wallowing whale on January 1.
1. Give your body the nutrients that it needs. Focus on a lot of vegetables, plenty of good fats, and some protein, but not too much. Know that any protein above the amount that your body needs will be turned into sugar. Not good. In the world of health the opinion about the amount of protein one should consume varies a bit, but aiming for around 0.5 grams of protein per 1 pound of body weight is pretty standard, although those in the keto world drop lower than that. I think our aim for the next couple of months should be doable, not necessarily Olympian-training optimal.
2. Get a Paleo book at the library, reread one on your shelves, or order one off Amazon. It will inspire and motivate you to make healthy choices. One I recommend is The New Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, although I don’t agree his references to evolution.
3. Drink adequate amounts of water. Truly, sometimes you just feel hungry when all your body is trying to tell you that it needs water. Even mild hydration can make you feel tired and out-of-sorts. Most experts advise 0.5 ounces of water per every pound you weigh. I know, vaguely sounds familiar with the protein requirements. Easier to remember. But the goal is to keep the color of your urine very pale.
4. If you drink alcohol, consider for the rest of the year something like a gin & soda water, or vodka & soda water with lime, made with 1/2 shots for a little flavor. Or treating yourself to kombucha when you want to feel festive. Or just Perrier or La Croix with lime and/or a splash of fruit juice (no corn syrup, of course), then you can be the designated driver, and everyone in the car will love you.
5. Make a vision board to remind yourself of higher goals. This is especially important when our short term goal is comfort food or eating cookies and candy into oblivion. Vision boards are also creative outlets and can be stress relievers. It could even be holiday themed.
6. Keep the stress levels down as much as possible. Stress, through a series of hormone reactions, causes sugar and carb cravings.
7. So does lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep also lowers your willpower.
8. Play a motivation game that you devise. For instance, every day that you eat according to the healthy plan that you fixed in your mind (from reading that book in #2), at the end of the day put a dollar in a jar that you get to spend on some reward-type purchase come January. Anyone who knows me knows that I love games and I love prizes.
9. Make a list of things you can do to de-stress. Like how about a Christmas jigsaw puzzle, crocheting a present, dancing, learning Tai Chi from a YouTube video, going to the library (the treasure trove), soaking in the bathtub with a cup of hot tea, going to bed early with a good book, a hike, playing an instrument, doing a crossword puzzle. The list is really endless.
10. Visualization can be really helpful too. Visualize yourself saying no to the cookie, smiling with an I-don’t-need-that-sugar smile, reminding yourself how good healthy and slimmer feels. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line on New Year’s Eve, leaning into the tape with energy and vitality, free from self-loathing and self-disappointment.
11. Don’t go anywhere hungry or thirsty. Keep celery and carrots ready to go.
12. Aim to focus on people, not food. Others, not self.
13. Think of yourself as a trendsetter by getting healthier at the end of the year instead of the beginning. Recruit fellow trendsetters. Let’s start a movement!
I believe it is totally possible to navigate the end-of-year holiday festivities not derailing and not feeling deprived. I plan on not only that, but also arriving at 2018 more fit, more trim, and healthier.