The days are getting shorter, the nights longer and our temptation is to put on pounds for the long winter ahead.
However it’s not time to hibernate for the long winter, particularly if you are normally an active person. Nor is it time to pack on pounds at the holiday parties or eat excessive treats.
Here are some tips to survive the next several weeks of added temptation and help get you through to January 2, 2015.
Set a daily goal for yourself around exercise and to limit your intake of sweets. Be realistic and just focus on what you can control: yourself in each moment. When you stay mindfully focused on your daily goal, (that you set for yourself) in the moment of temptation, you will make healthier choices than if you do not have a stated goal ahead of time.
Partner with a friend. Use each other to “report in” on achieving your daily fitness goals and your success at limiting your sweets. When we know someone is waiting for our text message, we behave more responsibly. It is likely that supporting each other in this way will increase your fun and provide you both with good results.
Short bursts of exercise are better than none at all. 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a day has the same effect as a single 30-minute workout. Sneak in 10 minute extra workouts every single day.
Work out everywhere. You might have to think outside of the box, or bring a resistance band on vacation or learn to use your own bodyweight as resistance. A plank pose can be performed nearly anywhere, as can push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks. You can always park farther away from a party and walk for an extra 10 minutes before arriving and when leaving. You could try hotel floor pushups, backless chair sit ups, traffic light crunches, side walk curb calf raises and so forth.
Add intensity. You’ll gain more benefit from higher effort workouts, particularly when they are shorter than usual in duration. When you add additional effort to your workouts you will feel better, sleep better, reduce your stress, crank up your metabolism and feel better about yourself overall.
Pre-eat. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but before you go to a social function, party or event, make healthy choices and eat a solid meal at home in order to avoid overeating at the party. Satiated people rarely gorge themselves at the buffet.
Avoid or go easy on the alcohol. Not only is the alcohol extra calories by itself, but it reduces our ability to limit ourselves in other dimensions. This often leads us to a lack of self-care, which we later regret.
Put on the HALTS. Don’t allow yourself to get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, or Serious. Any one of these is a warning sign that you need to HALT, and take time out from your activities to take care of yourself! If you experience several of these in combination, you have ignored your self-care for too long and it is definitely time to put on the HALTS and nurture yourself back into balance.
Keep your sense of humor. What you decide to focus on will greatly influence your experience. Where you place your focus is a choice. Make a decision not to take things personally, keep your proper perspective, find the humor in situations and decide to laugh and be filled with joy this holiday season.