After months of working hard on my fitness, I’m not about to give it all up for a few days at the end of the year and gorge myself on anything in sight. I’ve become much better at creating a balance in my lifestyle with regards to working hard and treating myself. I know if I let it all go and stopped exercising for a couple of weeks, I’d just end up feeling awful. I decided a while ago that I wanted to have a good balance of being active, having a little of what I like and feeling guilt free. I will be working out 5 days a week as usual but I’ve chosen which days I will be more relaxed with my diet. Those days will be Christmas Eve (evening), Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve (evening) and New Years Day. I chose those days because ultimately that’s when your most likely to want to enjoy yourself at social occasion and with your family and friends. If you’re struggling to stay motivated over the festive period, check out some of my tips below.
It’s that time of year when we all tend to have a tipple or two more than usual. I’d love to be the kind of person who can go teetotal but the honest truth is that I do enjoy a social drink. I never drink during the week with meals or anything but if I go out with my friends, I like to enjoy cocktails, so for me it’s all about balance. Because of this, it’s really important to keep on top of your water intake and I therefore aim to have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink that I consume. Your head will thank you for it in the morning. I also try to drink a large glass of water before a meal – this gives the feeing of being fuller and stop you having the urge to overeat. Often thirst can be mistaken for hunger. We all stick the heating up high in winter too which is very dehydrating to the skin. When I’m out and about, I always make sure I carry a water bottle around with me so I don’t forget to hydrate. I like to add slices of lemon to mine to make it a bit more interesting and that also has a great cleansing effect on your body.
Schedule your workouts
This is a really important one for me because I thrive on sticking to a structured plan. Where possible I exercise at a certain time of day (4pm before dinner) and I plan out what I’m going to do to make the most of the time I have. It’s tempting to give up on the exercise all together at this time of year but the truth is I really don’t want to now. It’s become so much part of my daily routine that I can’t imagine not doing it. It makes me feel great and it also takes away any guilt about treating myself. This time of year is busier than usual so write down a plan of which days you are going to work out and plan which exercises you’ll do. Because my days will be full of social occasions, I’ve decided to move my workouts to early in the morning. Not only will this kick start my metabolism but it will get it all out of the way without the temptation to skip it later on when social commitments kick in. It can be difficult to steal away and do a workout when your family and friends are over so get it done early and make the most of that fasted cardio!
I’m aware that a lot of people favour the gym over working out at home but because of altered opening hours and the extra hassle of getting to the gym, I would recommend working out at home. Even if you have minimal equipment, there are loads of bodyweight exercises you can do, not to mention HIIT. Set a timer for 20 minutes and see how many times you can go through the following circuit:
20 Mountain climbers
30 Jumping Jacks
40 Reps jumping rope
30 Jump squats
10 Reverse lunges
Being realistic, you’re not going to be snacking healthy 100% of the time what with all the treats lying around but even if you could switch 50% of them to healthier versions then you’ll do yourself a big favour. Always keep a healthy snack in your bag if you’re out and about so you always have that option. My favourite options are a protein bar, a handful of nuts or some fruit. It means that regardless of the environment I’m in, I always have that as a back up.
Everything in Moderation
I’d love to just gorge on everything in sight this year but I know I wouldn’t feel good after doing it. I will be having a few treats but I’m just not going to allow myself to be a human dustbin. I will indulge in the things that I really love instead of eating stuff just because it’s there. I want it to be worth it. So I’ll stick to my ultimate weaknesses and fully enjoy them guilt free. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t about avoiding all treats and I’m all about maintaining a good relationship with food. On the days I don’t do a workout, I’ll still be going for a couple of walks a day simply because I enjoy being active. It’s getting that balance that keeps your mind in a positive place instead of beating yourself up about those two slices of cake you devoured!
Dont Starve Yourself
It’s really not a good idea to completely deprive yourself before an event or a big meal. This will only encourage you to binge more on heavier foods. Instead, concentrate on eating nutritious protein packed meals throughout the day beforehand. It doesn’t do your body any good to go long periods of time without eating. It also encourages a negative relationship with food which is something you really want to avoid. Starving yourself will only make you feel exhausted and very unhappy.
Focus On The Fun
This time of year is all about enjoying time with your family and friends, so try not to stress about food or missing a workout here and there. These things happen. Be present in the moment, be positive, relax and have fun. You can relax things without going off track completely. Go easy on yourself – indulging for a couple of days won’t undo all your hard work you’ve been slogging away at for months. If anything, having a small break can do you the world of good and allow you to come back even stronger.
Set Goals And Write Them Down
Whether your goal is to maintain your current weight, boost your energy, stick to your macros on certain days or sleep better, write down those goals. Revisit them every morning and think about how to achieve them every day. Physically recording your efforts and tracking your progress can help you work toward your goals, and remind you that you’re making progress. It also makes you accountable so you’re much less likely to go off track. If you really want to keep an eye on what you’re eating then try the food diary in MyFitnessPal – that way you’ll get a much better idea of which foods to stick to.
Remember Your Supplements
We all tend to feel more run down with all the alcohol and treats at this time of year so it’s important to remember to take your vitamins every morning to stave off any colds. Your immune system may not be at it’s best so I’d advise taking some echinacea tablets and extra Vitamin C, as well as ensuring you get plenty of rest. That way, when you do choose to exercise, you’ll be at full power. Drinking a nutritious smoothie every day with a scoop of protein powder, a handful of mixed berries, lots of green leafy vegetables, a little bit of ginger, squeeze of lime and water will keep your body at it’s best. No one wants to start the New Year with a cold!
What are your best tips for staying motivated over the festive period? Let me know in the comments below!