Tis the Season to Stop Stressin'
Stop being a perfectionist, it’s exhausting
Tomorrow is December 01, what the what?! Don't you long for the days when all you had to worry about was whether or not you would get all the presents you wished for and whether or not there would be enough snow to build a snowman (I actually still worry about that, because who doesn’t love a white Christmas)? My point is, adulting is hard.
This season, I want you to take a different approach to the holidays. Maybe last year you got down on yourself because you felt like you indulged in one too many holiday cookies (in my opinion, there is no such thing as too many sugar cookies)! Did you stress out over all the planning involved with traveling, visiting family, hosting the festivities at your place, picking out the perfect gifts for everyone, not being able to exercise 5 days in a row, etc.? Looking back, did you even get a moment to relax and enjoy what the holidays are supposed to be about?
Shift your way of thinking
Begin shifting your mindset today. You have roughly 25 days to get pumped up for the magic of the holiday season. I give you full permission to do all of the following: start listening to Christmas/holiday music. Buy all the pumpkin spice and pine-scented candles. Tell everyone you aren’t doing gifts this year or that you will be doing “Secret Santa” instead! Whatever it takes to put you in the holiday spirit and reduce unnecessary stress, go do it!
On top of all the planning, our inner critic and negative voice likes to make an appearance, “What if I eat too many calories with all the tasty food around?” “I just know I won’t get my usual workouts in this week.” “I’ve got it! I won’t eat any of the sweet treats this year (even though Mom’s apple pie is my favorite). I know I will feel like I’m missing out, but at least I will be in a calorie deficit!”
There is no such thing as cheating
Honestly, that way of thinking will set you farther back than if had let yourself relax and enjoy the moment…and the pie! Let’s make one thing very clear, living in the moment and eating the pie is not “cheating!” I repeat, there is no such thing as cheating! I used to be a “cheat meal” advocate, but I will be the first to admit I was wrong! Why? Because when you tell yourself you are “cheating,” it automatically sends a signal to your brain that you are doing something wrong. And trust me, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a slice of pie or bacon and pancakes on Christmas morning!
Remove the word “cheating” from your vocabulary! Instead, tell yourself I am enjoying the moment. It’s called loving yourself and living the one life you’ve got! Now, that does not mean you should go out and eat the entire pie and sheet of cookies (the goal is not to stuff ourselves into oblivion); rather, you should pick your favorite treat, eat it slowly, and enjoy the heck out of it! By the way, eating a couple hundred extra calories over the course of a few days is NOT going to sabotage your results. Consistency and maintaining a balanced outlook will take you much farther than tormenting yourself over an extra 200 calories!
To get to my point, stop stressing out about whether or not you will be in a calorie deficit (please don't aim to do this over the holidays unless you are actually training for some big performance event!), think about how you will make/eat both treats and dishes you love as well as how you might put a healthy twist on one of the sides this year. Mhmmm...more veggie sides means you’re less likely to totally over-do it on the pumpkin and apple pies and frosted cookies.
Go ahead, kick up your feet
Rather than thinking about how you won't be able to stay fully on track with your nutrition and fitness habits, relish in relaxing and instead partake in some "outside of the box" activities. Go for a hike or walk in the snow, hit up the ice skating rink, go bowling, hit the slopes, get your family to do a fun, family bootcamp together (it can be super simple - push-ups, planks, squats, lunges, and burpees are accessible anywhere)!
When I started this business, I had one mission in mind: help as many people as possible understand that life is about balance. I know, I know. That word is so 2008, but it's true! What fun is it restricting and depriving yourself of the delicious mashed potatoes, chocolate covered pretzels, frosted sugar cookies, stuffing, and morning french toast? Take a deep breath, and fully enjoy the holidays this year. Coach's orders!
This is not a “hacks for conquering the holiday season” guide
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a true, holiday blog post if I didn’t share my “tips and tricks” for how I stay on track. The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules for having a “successful holiday season.” That’s just silly. However, I will share some actions I have implemented over the years that don’t involve restriction and that keep me feeling energized, relaxed and happy over the holidays! These work for me, but we are all unique. You do you!
Stay hydrated! Drink water before and after each meal, especially if you are enjoying a glass of wine or 2! P.S. You should be implementing this habit as much as possible all the time, not just over the holidays!
Move your body in a way that feels good. You don't have to stick to a strict workout plan, but moving your body feels much better than doing nothing! Go on a morning walk. Take the kids’ sledding (do you know how exhausting it is walking back up the hill? It felt so easy as a kid)! Ask your family to try out a new fitness class. Do some light yoga mid-day or in the evening if you are totally burnt out from watching “A Christmas Story” for the 15th time. Be creative and pick an activity you actually enjoy! In fact, I encourage my clients to not worry about being 100 percent consistent with their scheduled workouts over the holidays as long as they are moving and grooving daily.
Eat yummy food, but aim to do so slowly and choose appropriate portions! This keeps you from getting to that dreaded, "I feel so full I could pop" stage! True story: I got to this point over Thanksgiving, and hey, maybe sometimes it's worth it...for me, it wasn't. I forgot as I was getting a second helping of mac and cheese that dairy and I go together like oil and vinegar…they don’t mix! Lesson learned.
Try new veggie side dish recipes! Veggies don't have to be boring. Try roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, a broccoli and cabbage salad, add some peppers, tomatoes and spinach to your morning omelettes. Veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep you satisfied longer. Therefore, consuming more vegetables reduces mindless cravings throughout the day!
"I know it can be intimidating to make changes to your life, but what if you took the first step today? What if I told you I have been right where you are and have the ability to change your life forever? Accountability is one of the most important keys in succeeding and achieving your goals, and that is why I started Sally Mae Fitness. I know what it takes to make real, lasting changes and I will be with you every step of the way. Schedule your FREE consult to discuss your goals and concerns. I will share my personalized recommendations to help you achieve your healthiest, strongest and most confident self! Finally create the life YOU DESERVE!"