Holiday seasons are great times for celebrating with family, friends and colleagues, however, they can often be tough on our waistlines and general wellbeing. With a flurry of festive season parties, catch-ups and other celebrations, this can be one of the hardest times of the year to focus on our health and fitness.
It’s the trifecta of temptations: food, booze and busy-ness. We eat more, drink more, exercise less and sleep less. Physiologically, this triggers our body to slow our metabolism, store more body fat, and the fatigue triggers hunger hormones that see us craving high fat, high sugar foods. Even our hormones turn against us!
So, is it possible to resist temptation, stay focused and become more resilient during this time? I’m here to tell you that it is! The key is to find and then maintain your your motivation.
Unlocking your personal motivation
Why is it that in some areas of our lives we are driven, and in other areas we struggle? It’s time to direct some of that drive into our health. There are a few ways to find your motivation and remember, what works for one person may not work for another. Take some time to stop, breathe and think about what it is that will really drive YOU at this time.
One way to approach this is to find to the higher meaning of why you want to be healthy. Thinking ‘I just want to look good’ simply won’t cut it at this time of year. It’s not specific enough and it doesn’t tap into your emotions. What’s the real reason? Is it to be the best mother and role model you can be?
Secondly a trigger can get you going. This trigger can be very powerful, so if you have one, keep something that represents it close at hand as a reminder that you won’t be going back there again. I’ve heard hundreds of triggers that motivate people to get started over the years. Some of the more common triggers are doctor’s warnings and tight fitting clothes.
Mastering your motivation
Great work on finding your motivation. Now, you need to keep it! This can be tough with so many temptations around at this time of year – things like boozy parties, late nights and sugary Christmas treats often cause us to fall off the wagon. Here are my top tips for staying motivated:
Set a challenge
Find a fitness challenge that takes you out of your comfort zone and get a buddy to join you. This will help you to stay focused and add some support and encouragement along the way. A triathlon, a fun run, a 40km walk, a mountain hike, an ocean swim; whatever it is that you choose, visualise yourself completing this and think of how great it will make you will feel!
Preparation and organisation can make or break your efforts to stay on track, especially at such a busy time of the year. Treat your workouts like a meeting and mark them in your calendar. Plan out the coming week – consider the social events that you have on and pre-plan all your meals. Having frozen healthy meals on hand helps to prevent those last minute unhealthy takeaway dashes! Also, become familiar with all the healthy lunch options near your work so that you don’t fall into the fast food trap. Do you have a regular moment of weakness? Perhaps it’s 3pm when you’re at your desk and craving something sweet, or 8pm at home with a glass of wine. Take the temptation away and have healthier options readily available at those times. It does take time to prep, but trust me, it will be worth it!
Have a party plan
A jam-packed party schedule at the end of the year filled with endless eating can really wreak havoc. Think of all those canapes and drinking (did someone say free martinis?). Take some of these tactics on board:
• Pick one party per month to be your ‘go nuts’ party. Not one per week!
• Never go to the party hungry; eat a protein rich snack, such as a yoghurt, before going. Or, if you’ve overdone it on the canapes, skip dinner that night.
• Avoid the temptation of alcohol by driving. You can still enjoy refreshing non-alcoholic drinks such as soda with fresh lime in a nice glass
• You play, you pay: Had a big night? That’s no reason to blow off your gym session. Train rain, hail or hangover!
• When hosting parties, aim to create healthy canapes, fresh mocktails and lighter desserts to avoid a calorie blow out.
Be accountable – to yourself
This takes a good dose of willpower and foresight, but it is so important. If you say you’re going to do to something, stay true to your word! Don’t say you’re not going to drink if you aren’t really committed. Don’t RSVP to too many engagements only to do a ‘no show’. Every time you make the right decision, feel the shift in your self worth, in your inner strength.
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