Taking off my book lady hat here for a minute....
I know that I share a lot about books and homeschool in this space, but if you follow me elsewhere, you may know that I've been on a health and fitness journey for a few years now and I can tell you from experience that this time of year can be a true challenge if you don't approach it in a proactive way. I've learned a lot over the years! To give you some background, I have a long line of negative past experiences with yo-yo dieting, bingeing food, exercise addiction, and periodic flare ups with a past eating disorder. I now having a much healthier relationship with food and movement, and I give a lot of thanks to the principles that I learned on my Noom journey starting back in 2020. A lot of people have come to me saying that they have been inspired by me and what I have shared about my health and fitness journey and I'm glad to know that my vulnerable posts have inspired others to make positive changes in their own lives.
As many share similar struggles around the holidays, l wanted to share a few tips that have personally worked for me to help avoid self-sabotaging my health and fitness during the holiday season.
1. Treat Yourself, Within Reason
'Tis the season to treat yourself, right? If you’re anything like me, it would be dang near impossible to go completely without some treats this time of year. We need to be realistic and not completely deprive ourselves of a few holiday treats this season, within reason, in my opinion. Afterall, it would be nothing short of torture to watch our friends and family indulge in treats without having a little something for ourselves. Since many of us are going to treat ourselves this time of year, it may help to set limits on HOW MANY treats you will have in a day, or focus on portion control to help keep your food intake from spiraling out of control.
This year, in order to be proactive, I chose to find recipes for a few sweet treats that I could make and/or have on hand that follow my gluten-free/dairy-free eating regimen instead of indulging in treats that contained these ingredients. I chose to do this because I know that I feel MUCH better when I stick to this eating protocol. Every once in a while, I do have foods that contain gluten and dairy, but I chose to stick to my guns this year on this one. It was a rule that I set for myself and I’m pretty proud of sticking to it. I wanted to have some sweet treats on hand because I knew that my kids, husband, and extended family were going to be making and indulging in treats around me and I wanted to be able to have something that I could grab and eat when the sweet tooth cravings struck, or when everyone else was having dessert in front of me.
2. Know that it’s Okay to Say No and Set Boundaries with Friends & Loved Ones
If you set a rule for yourself like I did this year (see last tip) - maybe it’s not drinking, or not having a certain food group, or not filling your plate up with seconds, or something else that you’ve chosen, it is well within reason for you to be able tell others no thanks when you are offered foods or vices that break the rule that you set for yourself. We have to look out for ourselves and be firm, setting boundaries around what we are comfortable with for our own health and well-being. Our friends and family should understand if we set the boundaries with them about what we are comfortable with, and if they aren’t understanding, know that it’s a problem with THEM, not a YOU problem and in most cases, they will get over it, eventually.
3. Daily Movement
I go into the holiday season knowing full well that I’m not going to completely deprive myself of some of the sweet and savory treats that I love this time of year, and with that, I know that I’m going to be consuming more calories than normal. On the other hand, I know that I have worked my tail off this year to make the health and fitness progress that I have made and I do not want to throw that all away by completely succumbing to the “calories don’t count” mantra that often comes up this time of year. In order to help offset some (but obviously not all) of those extra calories, keep up with my daily movement goals, and to FEEL better mentally and physically, I chose to make it a goal to continue to move my body DAILY, even ON the holidays this season and even WHILE family was in town visiting (this also goes along with those boundaries and expectations from the last tip!).
As far as motivation goes, I personally soaked up all of the fun surrounding the holiday content on my Peloton digital and Bike+ and the seasonal challenges in my Peloton fitness communities! I have been super impressed with myself by setting some personal records this month and feeling myself getting stronger during this holiday season. While I didn’t do this myself this year, you could also consider participating in a holiday themed race or training for an upcoming event or race to keep you motivated to continue showing up daily (or as much as possible) for your workouts!
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4. Pick a Date to Throw out Those Remaining Treats & Leftovers
I don’t know about you, but one of my pet peeves is food waste. I seriously cannot stand it! But with my health and fitness in mind, I make an exception when it comes to the following tip that I’m going to share. It always helps me to pick a date to call it quits on all of the extra treats and leftovers. To make this stick, I commit to tossing whatever is left in the house, because if it’s in the house, it’s going to be “staring at me” and tempting me to eat it. Funny story - as much as I hate food waste, sometimes I have my husband do the honors and toss the leftovers and remaining treats and then I don't feel as bad.
5. Give Yourself Grace
I encourage you to give yourself grace when considering all of these tips. No one is perfect and I know that what works for me may not work for you! I religiously weigh myself (daily) as one of the habits that I learned from my Noom days in order to help stay on track on my health and fitness progress and during this season (while not abandoning weighing myself completely), I have been weighing myself less so as not to beat myself up over the inevitable pounds I’ll gain during this season. I give myself grace by reminding myself that this type of eating is just for a season and we all need to “live a little” around this time of year for our own sanity, in my honest opinion! And if you find yourself completely falling off the bandwagon one day and indulging more than you had hoped, know that it’s totally okay and you can treat every day as a new day. All is not lost, my friend.
I hope that this post has been helpful! I know that these tips would have helped me in the past so I thought that I would share! If you like this kind of content, also, be sure to check out out my previous blog post about how I set my day up for success.
Want a bit more encouragement in this area or have questions for me? You are always welcome to contact me!