Straying too far from your normal healthy routine will land you in a major rut. It will make you feel terrible. During the holidays no one wants to feel terrible. The holidays are meant for being happy, being with family and friends, and honoring traditions. From Thanksgiving through the New Year we are subjected to parties, open houses, and gifts of food and treats from holiday bakers and candle-stick makers. Who’s the other person in that list? Oh, the butcher, that’s right! Too bad all of us Paleo people can’t receive gifts from the butcher instead of the baker! So since that’s not reality what the heck should we do to make it through the holidays?
- Remember Your Goals. You started your healthy lifestyle journey for a reason. Maybe it was to lose some inches and pounds, maybe it was to become a better athlete, or to be more physically active in general. Getting too far away from your normal routine is tough, especially when it comes to food, sleep, and working out. Deviations from a routine will cause a reaction and when you are used to a very healthy, structured routine the reaction tends to be negative. I try to remember why I live the way that I do and that usually helps me to stay the course. My goal is performance; I want to be the best CrossFitter I can be. I know that if I miss a few hours of sleep one night, my training for the next day (or couple of days) will be affected, and the recovering that my body would have done during that missed sleep is lost forever. I know that eating too much sugar or drinking booze also disagrees with me and disrupts my sleep so I choose my poison carefully. One drink or glass of wine is usually good for me and then I switch to water or seltzer. Stick with Paleo-friendly treats and limit your intake. Think one or two cookies, not 10. Always remember that you have the control, not the food. You are a strong person inside the gym, be strong and hold your ground outside of it.
- Make a Plan and Stick to It. When you know that there is a party or event coming up it’s a good idea to plan ahead and stick to that plan once you’re at the party. For example, make a plan to have one glass of wine or allow yourself two Paleo-treats but then be done with it. When you are indulging really try to enjoy what you are eating. Eat it slowly and enjoy each bite. If your issue is that you’re finding it difficult to make it to the gym with all the holiday obligations, make a pact with yourself or a gym-friend. Agree that you WILL make it to the gym three days each week come hell or high water. Have that person hold you accountable. It simply must be a priority or you will let other things get in the way. You’ve got to be prepared and plan ahead. Tell yourself that you must fill up on meat and veggies before you can have dessert; or only have a glass of wine with dinner; maybe you could avoid the appetizers all together. Try some different things and figure out what works for you.
- Enjoy the People You’re With. It’s easy to become caught up in all the yummy food. The next thing you know you’re like a horse with a feed back on it’s mouth and you don’t know what happened. Instead of ending up in this unfortunate situation, think about socializing more instead of eating. Make a goal to visit with each person at the gathering and really listen to what they have to say; engage in the conversation, ask questions, and remember what your family and friends say. We can’t (or shouldn’t) be stuffing our faces when we’re in conversation. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction and will allow you to leave the party feeling closer to people instead of sick or guilty because you ate too much.
- If you slip, don’t fall! If you end up getting off track, don’t let yourself plummet deep down the ravine. Have you ever had the thought process of, “Oh well, I already messed it up, so I might as well just eat whatever the heck I want from the rest of the day”? Please try to rid yourself of this mindset. In the big picture, a few treats isn’t going to make much impact. If you throw the whole day away because of those few treats, you run the risk of the slippery-slope effect. So maybe you had a perfect plan, but you strayed from that plan. It’s OKAY! Forgive yourself and move on. Don’t let it influence your decision-making longer than it should. If you miss a few sessions at the gym get back in AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You will feel better once you walk through the door, but you have to walk through the door.
- If you can, avoid having treats at your home. Whatever your weakness is; whatever tempts you, avoid having it in your home where it will, without a doubt, stare you down and haunt your brain as long as it’s there. Learn how to politely turn down the plate of goodies from “food-pushers”. If you’re the host, be a food-pusher and send bags home with guests. If you end up with extra goodies, bring things to your workplace and share. Why do co-workers love junk so much? Mmmmm cake? Don’t mind if I do! You know you’ll receive a bag of Lindt truffles at some point. Don’t open the bag. Re-gift them immediately!