Its beginning to look a lot like ‘screw it, Ill start again next year’ season
Are you about to snowball into a month long bender that begins with a few weeknight drinks and ends up with you bloated, gassy, uncomfortable and promising you’ll eat nothing but green vegetables as soon as the New Year hits?
Yes? Freaking out about it a little? Starting to get anxious about undoing all the work you have put into your health and fitness?
My philosophy is borrowed and quite simple – you don’t make friends with salad. Its ok to just relax a little at special events and enjoy food and drink you might not have regularly. A few indulgent meals does not have long lasting impact on your overall health and fitness! For a lot of people this time of year can produce a lot of guilt and anxiety. If you have been focused on weight loss goals and following a structured nutrition plan, the reality of having to be around so much food, with so many well meaning (or maybe just extremely pushy and obnoxious) friends and family members encouraging you to indulge can be a mortifying thought.
Your goals are important, and you should never prioritise anyone elses needs or values above your own. But come on, its also important to remember that it is just as important to connect with friends and family at this time of year, and to allow yourself to relax and enjoy the festivities – rather than anxiously dodging food, counting calories and wondering how much damage this month of December is doing to you. Lets try to not turn what can be a fun and festive time into something that seems awful – dont wish these moments away. These are the days we create memories with our family and friends. Dont miss out.
First things first – you actually don’t have to treat THE WHOLE BLOODY MONTH of December like its one long party. You are best to choose a few special occasions that matter and decide that you might deviate from your nutrition plan on those days, but remain focused on the other 29 days of the month!! Its only when we throw ourselves off the bandwagon that we wake up in January wondering how the hell we start all over again! Don’t do it to yourself – you can enjoy silly season without it completely undoing the work you have put into your health and fitness all year!
Here are the 3 Strategies you might like to consider implementing to feel more relaxed and in control over Xmas:
Calorie Sacrificing: You can manipulate your weekly caloric intake over a week to account for a special event where you know you want to over indulge. ENJOY your favourite things – give yourself permission to abandon moderation! Yes – that’s right, be a little reckless and eat a HUGE serving of your favourite dessert, and even have a slice of the cake you don’t particularly like that much while you are at it! If you sacrifice some calories on previous or subsequent days this can help to ensure you are not creating too large of a surplus. This is no way means you starve yourself before or after a feast. It just means you are mindful that you probably shouldn’t just plow your way through every single meal you have in December. Choose wisely – and enjoy the special meals that offer up the foods you look forward to at this time of the year!
Intermittent Fasting: Lets not debate this practise and instead just acknowledge that in silly season, this approach actually makes a lot of sense. Bypass breakfast and save the calories for the bigger meals to come later in the day.
Move More: We are SO lucky to have our Christmas in Summer, longer days means more time to get out and get active. Incorporate movement into your day and account for the extra calories you are likely to consume. Not only will this help you manage your weight, it will also just make you feel better! A nice walk after lunch is actually better for you than the slumped sleep on the couch watching 90’s sitcom reruns!
*One more thing* Don’t allow anyone to lead you to believe that taking a conscious, invested interest in your own health is weird, uncool, or to the detriment of anyone else’s experience. You don’t have to eat what they are eating for them to enjoy their meal. Often, when we prioritise our health we unknowingly shine a light of the ways in which others feel they are neglecting themselves. Be aware that often people will try and pull you down to their level so that they don’t feel so badly about themselves. Hold strong to your own values, continue to put your needs first and reassure yourself that you don’t have to abandon your own goals to be present with your friends and family. Give yourself permission to respect the boundaries you have worked hard to establish and love yourself in the way you deserve.