ROCK YOUR RESOLUTIONS EARLY & FEEL AMAZING COME JANUARY 1ST!
January 1st: You wake up and it’s a brand new year and yet another golden opportunity for a brand new you. Make it happen. No pressure, right? Your ambitious health-o-lutions come right after months of holiday indulgences, sit-down feasts, desserts galore, hearty party foods, stressful holiday shopping and New Year’s Eve spirits-a-plenty. Every single year, you play the binge and purge game of New Year’s Resolutions and fail most miserably by January 31st.
It’s time to stop this annual tradition.
Get smart and have a strong and success-proof plan this year that starts well before the ball drops. You will not only feel great all holiday season, but you will already be rocking your resolutions come the 1st of the year and beyond.
Choose You & Start Smallish
I challenge you to put yourself first for 2 weeks (gasp!) – don’t wait until the New Year either. Start TODAY. It’s a perfect amount of time to reset your body and begin to see results. Changing a habit doesn’t happen overnight, but it truly doesn’t take much to make a difference. Make smaller attainable goals for yourself, be very clear as to what these new habits will be, and stick with them if you want to see lasting results. To feel your best, you have to work at it. Stop taking the easy route. Push yourself. You are worth it.
During your two weeks, I recommend you set no more than one main goal that you can break down into three to five realistic action steps. Each of these actions will include new habits you use to aid you in reaching your one main goal.
Main goal: Lose the five pounds that haven’t budged.
Accomplish this with three action steps:
1. Shed 500 calories/day from your diet (Potential new habits: smaller portions, fewer snacks, skip dessert)
2. Add two days/week of cardio (Potential new habits: 30 minute morning jog, jump rope/jumping jacks, a cardio class)
3. Wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning for some “quiet time” (Potential new habits: meditation, deep breathing, morning intentions, yoga stretches)
People fail when they set unrealistic goals and/or action steps – “I want to lose 25 pounds in two weeks” (but I do like the ambitious attitude :).
Make A Sweat Session Date
Workouts are not optional. Put exercise on your calendar like any other important appointment or meeting. Don’t look at these workouts as optional. Make workout class dates with friends or wake up an hour early a few days every week to get your exercise in before the rooster crows. It’s an amazing way to start the day.
Participating in a workout class is a great option for support, motivation, endurance building and no excuses. You’re less likely to slack off if surrounded by other heart pumping bodies. Also, it’s important that you get a good combination of cardio and weightlifting into your repertoire each week for the best overall fitness results.
Change up the same old, same old! Your body needs a change up to start to feel a difference in energy levels, leanness and metabolism. Mix it up regularly. Try different classes, different machines and speeds. If you run on the same treadmill, at the same speed, with the same incline, then you will have the same body. Try interval training, a dance class, Pilates and cycling. Variety in your workouts is a great way to get out of an exercise slump. The harder you work…the more calories you burn…the more likely you will reach your goals. Work it! No time for slacking. Make each workout count. If you’re going to be there, then don’t waste your body’s time.
Go To Sleep, Night Owl
Tis’ the season for sleep deprivation. You will have to put sleep at the top of your priority list if you want to get the best results from your healthy eating, exercising and weight loss plan. The holidays are filled with an endless RSVP list, but make it a must to be selective to what you say “yes” to. You don’t need to do it all. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep at least five times a week. A lack of quality sleep affects appetite, hunger cues and discipline. Set an alarm on your phone as a cue to begin to get ready for bed each night. It’s a great reminder to settle down and turn off electronics once that alarm goes off.
Be A Picky Eater
You have a whole lot of food eating ahead of you, especially from October 31st to December 31st. Make a daily plan of attack when it comes to food. If you eat with reckless abandonment, you will not only gain weight during the holidays, you will feel heavy, tired and unhappy when your favorite holiday attire fits a little snugger than you remember. January 1st will arrive with a laundry list of hefty resolutions.
Get in control of your food intake one day at a time. If you know you have a dinner social event, make a plan to eat lean and light for breakfast and lunch. Stay well hydrated. Choose clean foods when you have a choice: vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains. There will be plenty of times during the holidays when healthy options are limited you don’t have a choice (passed appetizer, buffets, pre-plated), and these are the times when you need to practice your pickiness. Pick and choose a few items that look delicious and move on. If you practice some discipline during the holidays, you will be feeling lean when January hits. You will not have missed miss out on your favorites, you will have eaten eat a whole lot less of them.
Think about using a calorie-tracking app on your phone. Most people think that they are eating much less than they in fact are. It can be quite eye opening to see just how much you are actually consuming. Eek!
Get Your Om On
You are less likely to gain weight during the holidays if you practice mindful eating. During the holidays you are more rushed than usual and less focused on exactly what is going into your body (food and alcohol). Mindful eating helps you slow down, chew more thoroughly, recognize and enjoy flavors and textures, and appreciate the food that sustains! Increase your awareness of your body’s awesome cues/nudges of hunger, thirst, and fullness. It’s even helpful to stop what you are doing every now and again during the day and take a few deep mindful breathes, especially before you begin your meal. Slow down now so you can ease into the New Year focused, calm and with an already functional plan.
Make it a habit to get on the scale first thing every morning. Weighing regularly can help prevent weight gain because it holds you accountable in maintaining a plan for the day. Remember your weight naturally fluctuates, but checking out your numbers will help keep you in check if you notice your weight inching towards the no-no zone. Being mindful of your target weight goal and your daily check will help you have success during the holidays and well into the New Year.
Remember: Don’t get into the holiday habit of saying, “I’ll start tomorrow!” If you truly want to both eat your holiday cookies and maintain your weight, you’ll need to get serious about controlling your consumption during this very festive holiday time. Set limits and stick to your health goals so that you do not end up in the vicious cycle of over-indulgence. If you don’t, you will not only gain weight but you will also have less energy, lose sleep and overtax your digestive system. Even if you have a slip-up or two (Hello, grandma’s homemade cookies!), don’t abandon your goals. Move on and make healthier choices next time. The only resolution you will have come New Years is to keep up the good work because you feel amazing.