So it’s that time of the year again. Most of us have a million and one things going on, and our brains forgot to mentally prepare us for the holidays. It seems like we ring in the New Year one second, and the next thing you know another one has flown by! Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pies are right before us. For some of you, it’s just another season passing by. But for most of us, it is another season full of social gatherings, sweet temptations, last minute cocktail parties, and shopping deals that can leave you waiting in line all day long! Not only is it hard to fit everything in, but the stress of getting it all done in a timely manner can take a toll on your mental state of mind. So how do we stay balanced both mentally and physically this holiday season? These few tips will help to keep you motivated and
prepared to fend off those endless holiday cravings.
HAVE A GAME PLAN
Yes, I’ll admit it. I don’t wake up everyday with a brilliant plan of everything I want to accomplish in 24 hours. However, during the holiday season…this preparation is a MUST! There is so much to do in so little time. You will come to realize that if you take a few minutes to think about everything you need to do…these tasks will be done in no time. When you wake up in the morning, I challenge you to lie in bed for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing physical. I know what your thinking…..it’s too good to be true! All you have to do is set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier. Now here is what I want you to do in the 10 minutes you have. ENGAGE YOUR BRAIN! Think about your daily plan. What is it that you want to accomplish today? Maybe you need to shop for presents, hit the gym, pick up kids, go to work, and attend a holiday party. In these 10 minutes, I want you to imagine doing each and every one of these things in your head. Take the time to ensure each task has a positive outcome during your visualization. Imagine that you go to the mall and it takes you 5 minutes to find the store, 1 minute to find the present, and 3 minutes to check out! So on and so forth until you’ve completed each task. Now you can wake up with a positive mind frame, ready to tackle the day! You will truly surprise yourself if you can take this short amount of time to mentally prepare. If you start your day out on a sour note thinking, “Oh my gosh I have to do this and this and this and this….how am I going to get it all done.” YOU WILL BE DEFEATED! Instead change your thought process to: “I can’t wait to go buy Suzie and Billy a present, pick up Sally at school, run 5 miles with ease and go to yoga.” You have the power to control your thoughts….so don’t let them control you!
WORKING OUT ON THE GO
‘Tis the season that keeps you going and going and going. If you are having a hard time fitting in a workout 5-6 days a week with the busy holiday schedule….IT IS OK! There are a few things that can keep that fat off, and calories burning all day long. The best part about it is you don’t even have to go to the gym. Now I wouldn’t recommend doing this everyday, but for your busiest day of the upcoming week…test it out. At grocery stores, shopping malls, and waiting in frightful lines, you can easily burn up to 140 calories (and maybe even more). Pick up the pace. If you are used to strolling around casually during your shopping trips, speed it up a notch. Try walking quickly from store to store. Flex your calf and thigh muscles while walking to get the heart rate up even more. If you have a long wait in line, there are a few things that will have you “feeling the burn.” With your feet together and standing straight up, flex your ab muscles, (pull your bellybutton to your spine) hold it for 5 seconds and release. Do 3 sets of 15 if time allows. With your feet apart and standing straight up, flex your quads and glutes, hold it for 5 seconds and release (3 sets of 15). If you can carry the bags to the car, try holding a couple bags in each hand and carrying them like a platter, as opposed to hanging at the side of your body. If you carry the bags the same way you would carry a plate, you are engaging your biceps, and triceps. You are sure to feel a burn by the time you get to the car.
KEEP EATING…..DON’T STARVE YOURSELF
The worst way to prepare for holiday meals, social gathering, or night on the town is to deprive yourself of the nutrients your body needs all day long. If you asked me a year ago, I would have been all for it, but here is what I’ve learned. Not only will you feel sick and bloated by the time you’re done, but skipping meals is the worst cure to fighting those holiday cravings. If you go to a social event starving, you’re in for some real trouble! It is going to be hard to resist the dessert table, small appetizers that sneak up on your calorie count, and full course meals. Instead, it is important that you stay full throughout the day so you don’t feel the need to binge once you get there. The point is…you need to treat any day during the holiday season just like a normal day in your life. Don’t think “well it’s just one day of not working out, and eating 12 frosted sugar cookies.” Trust me! If you let go of yourself for one day….it will turn into 30 and last the whole month of December.
BE PREPARED FOR SOME ALTERNATE FOOD ROUTES
If you must splurge on dessert, it is a smarter decision to think about bringing your own to the party. Opt out of the double fudge homemade brownies and vanilla ice cream. Instead, take a sugar cookie with no frosting (about 60 calories). Opt out of a holiday favorite like peanut brittle. Instead, reach for some roasted cinnamon nuts (very easy to make at home). That way, you are still getting your favorite holiday seasonings, with a lot less calories. If you are unsure about what’s in a dessert, think twice about eating it. If you didn’t know what it tasted like in the first place, you are not missing out (and neither is your tummy).
COMMIT YOURSELF TO EXCELLENCE
You are your own worst enemy. Don’t let those cravings, stressful times, rushing around, financial burdens, or extravagant parties get the best of you. You are above all that and your body is most important. Stay focused on keeping your body in tip-top shape no matter what time of the year it is. Don’t let your mind trick you into thinking this time of the year is that much different. Yes, of course there is more food in this month alone, than any other. But you have the power to control what you eat and how much you workout. USE YOUR BRAIN! It is a powerful thing and can talk you in and out of anything. Use that mental imagery to your advantage. Stay positive, remain passionate, and discipline your life. You have the opportunity to make being “fit” a lifestyle. Commit yourself to excellence, and you will be successful.