I get it. Very few people want to think about fitness and weight loss around the holidays.
From Halloween to Christmas my blog’s traffic drops. Clients get lax with their check-ins. And scale cursing commences.
We just want to eat and do what we want and worry about weight loss when the New Year’s resolutions come around.
This same pattern has gone on for 7 years, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. Traffic drops in half and then in the weeks after Christmas it quadruples. The same thing can be seen with foot traffic in gyms during that time.
So how do you navigate this fitness lull so you don’t keep back-tracking on your goals? And how do you do it without constantly feeling like you’re being harassed about your body?
Focus On Relative Progress
Progress isn’t always measured in pounds lost. If you typically gain weight during the holidays, then maintaining your weight is progress.
Go into the holidays with realistic expectations on what progress is. If every year during the holidays you gain 5-10lbs, then don’t beat yourself up if you don’t lose any weight this year.
In this case, simply maintaining your weight is progress. It’s an improvement over your past behaviors. Weight loss isn’t the only measure of progress.
Motivation comes in waves . There’s a good chance you’ll get swept up in the New Year’s resolution bug, so if you can just make it through the holidays you will get that added burst of motivation to take you to new weight loss lows.
Gain Some Perspective
We get ourselves so worked up around the holidays and obsessed over what to eat that we eventually say “screw it, it’s not worth it. I’m going to enjoy myself and start over tomorrow (or Monday, or New Years)”.
But those three holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) over the course of two months aren’t going to make or break your progress. It’s what you do the other 58 days that will influence your outcome.
You’ll eat 10x more food in the last two months of the year on the days between the holidays. That’s where the difference is made.
The holidays don’t need to be a source of stress. They’re supposed to be a way for you to relax and enjoy life a little.
So you need to strategically enjoy yourself , do your best, and then move on and get back to doing more of the healthy behaviors you want in your life.
Plan For Fun Foods
You’re going to eat things that don’t mesh with your goals . There’s a lot of social pressure. Our environment changes. And there’s a lot of desire to “let go” on your part too.
The key is to plan for fun foods and eat them in moderate portions. Try to eat what you want, be mindful, and STOP EAT AT 80% FULL!
This takes mental preparation at a time when you’re thinking rationally. If you wait until the moment comes the emotions will drive impulse behaviors, and I’m willing to bet you won’t like the outcome.
You Can’t Always Control What You Eat
What you eat isn’t always in your control, and that’s OK. Unless you personally prepare and eat every single meal at home, there are going to be times when what’s being served doesn’t really align with what you’re trying to accomplish.
Here’s the thing though – while you can’t always control what you eat, you can always control how you eat. And how you eat has a much bigger influence on your outcome.
What that means is you always have the final say over how much you eat. And you have control over your mindset surrounding food and whether you’re living with an abundance mindset or one that creates scarcity.
Stressing over eating a piece of pie and then guilt eating has a much bigger negative impact on your goals than having an abundance mindset , giving yourself permission to eat a reasonable portion of dessert, eating it mindfully, and then stopping before you’re stuffed.
Same situation. Different perspective. Different outcome over time.
Stay Active Doing Something You Enjoy
Holiday schedules make it tough to get in consistent workouts. So it’s important that you don’t have an all-or-nothing attitude around physical activity during this time.
Just because you can’t strength train 3 days/week doesn’t mean that once/week is bad. Do your best. Try to stay active.
Daily walking through this time period can do wonders. Any extra workouts are an added plus.
Daily activity, however small, coupled with planning and mindful eating will keep you on track until things get back to “normal”. Then once the holiday season is over you won’t be trying to work off all that accumulated weight, and instead can focus on taking your body and mind to the next level.
Some days you
simply do not have time for your usual workout.
Perhaps you are traveling or you have meetings from dawn ‘til dusk. Or maybe something totally unexpected comes
up and your workout time disappears.
When life steals your exercise time, however, you do not have to forgo your workout. If you have just a few minutes, you can burn off 100 calories, get your heart pumping fast and redeem at least a little of your workout.
Here are 10 ways to torch 100 calories
Use them on busy days or even to supercharge your normal workout days. Most estimates are for a person weighing approximately 130-150 pounds. If you weigh more, you can probably shorten the duration, but if you are lighter, add a few minutes to ensure that you burn at least 100 calories.
1. Take the stairs . Stair climbing for 15 minutes will burn 137 calories. Have a 15 minute break at work? Find a stair case and set your phone alarm to alert you when 15 minutes have passed.
2. Run a 5-minute mile . By the time you are 4 and ½ minutes in, you will have already burned 100 calories. If you can’t get outside, just run in place.
3. Ride a stationary bike at 20 mph for 4 minutes 54 seconds.
4. Work on the lawn. Pull weeds for 17 minutes, rake leaves for 20 minutes, or dig dirt for 16 minutes.
5. Calisthenics. Spending 15 minutes doing some light body weight squats, lunges, jumping jacks, get-ups and knee-ins will burn about 137 calories.
6. Go for a walk. A 150 pound person will burn approximately 117 calories by walking at a 4 mph speed for 20 minutes. Walk in place if you do not have a good area to walk in outdoors. Try walking in place while you watch your favorite television show!
7. Grab the vacuum. Vacuuming your home or office for 28 minutes will burn 100 calories. This is a great way to sneak in some exercise at work and get on the good list of your coworkers!
8. Chop fire wood. It is hot now, but winter is coming! Spend 5 minutes chopping fire wood and you will burn 100 calories.
9. Swim laps. It only takes 12 minutes to burn off 100 calories while swimming.
10. Mow the lawn with a push mower. 14 minutes is all it takes to zap 100 calories.
Zig Ziglar once
said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” And each of us knows
from our own experience that he is right.
The general flow of human life tends to be toward ease and comfort. One day flows into the next, and many of us
never quite get around to turning our good intentions into reality.
Those ‘good intentions,’ while no doubt admirable, tend to remain unrealized mainly because they are too vague. Vague ideas are impossible to focus on and aim for; they are moving targets.
Do you have moving targets in your life? Perhaps you want to eat a more healthy diet or lose the winter weight that has crept upon you. Maybe you just want to establish a regular workout routine and stick with it this time .
The keys to your success are two-fold: steady the target and create momentum.
How to stop a moving target
Imagine a target shooter trying to hit a small bull’s eye on a distant target. He begins to aim, but then the target suddenly moves to the right, and before he can position himself to aim again, the target darts to the left. Will he ever hit that target? Not likely.
Without setting specific goals , your good intentions are exactly like that moving target. You would like to lose some weight, feel a little better, make a change in your diet--but without clearly defined goals and methods, you can’t focus and make it happen.
The way to steady the target so you can finally hit the bull’s eye is to define your goals and write them down:
· How much weight do you want to lose?
· What kind of changes do you want to make in your diet?
· How many days per week do you want to exercise?
· Which article of clothing do you wish would fit your body again?
· How much weight would you like to lift while strength training?
Once you know where you want to end up, you are much more likely to get there.
But you have to start moving toward your goals . That is where momentum comes in.
Create momentum to reach your goals
In his book, Eat that Frog , Brian Tracy discusses the Momentum Principle of Success. In Tracy’s words:
“ This principle says that although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get started initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going .”1
There is much wisdom in his words. Sometimes, the hardest part of reaching a goal is just getting started . That first day of doing things differently or the first experience of bypassing an unhealthy treat in favor of a food that will give you more energy can be daunting. It isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t fun.
So how do you get that momentum? How do you start moving? Accountability is the answer. Having someone else involved in your efforts can be the most important factor in your success.
It is hard to change lifelong habits on your own. You need radical motivation that comes from involving others in your efforts. Setting deadlines , making commitments and entering contests all provide an external motivation that will carry you through even the toughest temptations.
And once you get started, you will find that the momentum principle kicks in and it becomes easier and easier to keep going.
You can make that moving target come to a screeching halt and blast the bull’s eye right out of it by taking a few minutes to write down what you want. Don’t make it your goals too broad; be specific . And then begin brainstorming ways to get others involved with you; that will provide your momentum . Success is within your reach . You can do this!
Oh, and remember, we’re here to help you the entire way!
1Tracy, Brian (2007-01-01). Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (p. 107). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Challenges, deadlines, testing......We do it for one reason and one reason only, to make ourselves better. So....for the month of October we ALL have only one objective, COMMIT TO FIT!
Monday OCTOBER 2ND we will be using ALL scheduled classes at HIT FITNESS WAREHOUSE to do your first round of testing, and then re-test OCTOBER 30TH for you to see how COMMITTED you truly are! All Coaches will be present for each of the Testing classes for guidance and motivation.*
Fitness starts in your mind. Ask any athlete or fit person what the number one secret is to his success at fitness, and he will tell you it is commitment.
Commitment means that you are in it for the long haul. Commitment rises above bad days, hectic schedules and volatile emotions. Commitment hangs in there when you don’t want to do it, when you don’t feel like doing it and when you don’t have time to do it.
True commitment doesn’t depend on how you feel. It depends on your integrity and on living for the purpose you have set for yourself.
Are you committed to get fit?
NO WEEKEND WARRIORS
Committing to be fit eliminates the weekend warrior syndrome. You may know a weekend warrior. He is the person who does little physical exercise during the week, but when the weekend arrives, he blasts out of the gate like a stallion on Derby Day. In a desperate attempt to make up for his sedentary behavior all week, he goes to the gym or hits the pavement, pushing himself to the limit.
The result, however, is not what he expects.
He will likely end up with an injury , because his muscles, tendons and joints are not conditioned for the intensity of his exercise.
But he is also not getting in shape, because he is not committed . Physical fitness depends on consistency. And consistency requires commitment. It takes consistent, near-daily exercise to cause your body to make the changes that bring about fitness. For example, your joints and tendons will strengthen, your aerobic base will improve as your body becomes more efficient at utilizing oxygen and ridding itself of carbon dioxide, and your endurance will increase.
In fact, that you do something consistently is as important, or maybe even more important, than what you actually do. Even if you are just doing low intensity walking, doing it every day is infinitely better than doing something more strenuous only occasionally.
But the real rewards come when you not only commit to intense workouts, but you also commit to being consistent with those workouts.
In order to get fit, you do not need expensive clothes, fancy home-gym equipment or a complicated workout plan.
What you need is commitment. If you are committed, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
You can start today. DO NOT OVERTHINK THIS. Just start, and commit to doing something every single day.
If you have
ever tried to ignore a box of doughnuts at work ( good luck with that
), you know how hard it is to
keep your hands to yourself and walk on by, and once you walk on by, the battle isn’t over. Even if you are in a different room and down
the hall, you can’t stop thinking about those doughnuts, and trust me I know because I love me some deliscious doughnuts ! Lol
Why is it so hard to resist something as small and seemingly innocent as a doughnut? It has to do with habit—and mind set.
The draw you feel from that doughnut goes way beyond just a mild interest: you are wired to want it, and resistance is hard . In his book, The End of Overeating , Dr. David Kessler MD explains the breakdown:
When you taste foods that are highly palatable (such as foods containing excess sugar, fat and salt), your brain releases opioids into your blood stream. Opioids are brain chemicals that cause you to have intense feelings of reward and pleasure, as well as relieving pain and stress. The pleasurable effect is similar to the feelings that morphine and heroin users experience. The desire may be so intense that you keep taking one bite after another: it can be hard to stop.
That explains why you keep eating. But why do you give in and approach that doughnut box in the first place? Why not just refuse to take that first bite?
The answer is another brain chemical called dopamine . Dopamine is responsible for motivating you to seek out the doughnut so you can get the opioid release. You remember how good it tasted and how great it made you feel. Dopamine energizes you to work for that doughnut. It causes you to concentrate on it and drives you to seek it out.
Once this process happens a few times, the whole cycle becomes a habit that is very reward focused, very ingrained and very hard to break. Your brain’s circuitry has become mapped and wired to want the doughnut. And you don’t even have to be near the doughnut for this process to start--the dopamine can kick in even when there are no doughnuts in site: ever made a run to the store for a treat that you just had to have right then?
Over one-third of all adults in our country are obese. We live in a society in which we are surrounded by highly-palatable foods (think restaurant foods and processed foods). The deeply ingrained habit of eating unhealthy food and too much of it is widespread. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded not only with unhealthy food, but also with a neural circuitry that drives us to pursue that unhealthy food.
Remap YOUR Brain With Mindset
And now the good news: you can start right now to change the trajectory that you are on . You can rewire your brain and begin reducing the power that those opioid-producing foods have over you. You can draw a new map in your mind that will have you passing by the doughnuts on your way to better pleasures.
The secret is mindset. You must want something else more than you want those fleeting moments of pleasure that the doughnuts bring you. What is it? What do want? Maybe you want to drop a couple of jeans sizes. Maybe you want to be off your blood pressure medication. Maybe you want to be known as an ‘athletic’ type person. Maybe you want to keep disease at bay. Or maybe you just want the immense satisfaction of being in control of yourself! People who can’t resist a doughnut have given away power over their own lives!
Once you know what you want, go after it with the following strategies:
1. Stop. There is no other way to say this: you must stop eating foods that are not in your plan. In the beginning, this will be difficult. When everyone around you is tossing back pizza and soft drinks, you will struggle. You will smell the pizza, you will be in the emotionally charged atmosphere and dopamine will be flowing in your bloodstream. Think about what you want more than that doughnut; think about what you can only have by resisting the doughnut. Sheer will-power is what you have to use at this point.
2. Savor the victory. Once you come out on the other side having successfully won the battle within your own mind, you will have accomplished much more than just saying no to a piece of pizza. You will have begun ‘cooling’ the stimulus , as Dr. Kessler puts it. You have taken the first step toward weakening the circuitry in your brain that drives you to habitual patterns of behavior. The next time, it will be easier. And after that, even easier.
3. Focus on new rewards. As you remap your brain, you are creating new neural pathways that in time will be stronger than the weakening, “doughnut-centered” pathways. Make sure these new rewards are life-giving and energy-producing, such as the thrill you get when you can run a 5K or set a PR in your weight-lifting.
You can have power over habits: it’s all about mindset . You can do this!
More and more
we are hearing about food allergies and food sensitivities. Because they are such common conditions, it
is important to understand the difference between the two and what the health
issues are which surround them.
The difference between food sensitivities and food allergies
Though on the surface food sensitivities and food allergies may seem like the same thing (they can even cause some of the same symptoms), they are, in fact, two different conditions.
The least common of the two is a food allergy . A food allergy will bring about a response from the immune system that can impact several different parts of your body. Food allergies can be life-threatening. Food sensitivity or food intolerance symptoms are less serious but are more common, being typically confined to the digestive tract.
The Gut Connection
When you have a food allergy, your body essentially treats the food as something that is threatening to your body and therefore mounts an attack against it. The reason for the attack is that particles of that food and other molecules have traveled from the intestines into the bloodstream; but they are not supposed to be there.
How did they get there? Through what is known as a leaky gut. A normal, healthy intestine has walls that are tight, allowing only small molecules such as vitamins, simple sugars and amino acids to pass through it. But when the gut becomes overly permeable, larger molecules, toxins, bacteria and bits of undigested waste pass through into the blood stream. These molecules are not supposed to be in the bloodstream at all.
The result is that this triggers a response in the body, and the large molecules are treated as foreigners, triggering an immune reaction leading to digestion problems, autoimmune diseases and additional food allergies. If your body begins producing antibodies to certain foods and food groups, then those foods will be treated as pathogenic by your body.
What are the causes and symptoms of leaky gut?
There are many causes of leaky gut. These include:
· Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin
· Alcohol and caffeine
· Antacid medications
· Food additives
· Allergies to food
· Infections within the bowel itself
· Diets high in refined flours, sugars and other processed foods
If you have leaky gut, you may experience a range of symptoms such as fatigue, joint and muscle pain, pain and bloating in the abdomen, skin rashes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and depressio n.
The good news is that if you think you have leaky gut, there are several action steps you can take to begin healing. The key is to remove anything that may be contributing to your condition, while at the same time feed your body what it needs to begin repairing the damage.
Try the following suggestions to start on the road to healing and health:
1. Eliminate alcohol and caffeine from your diet.
2. Stop using all anti-inflammatory drugs.
3. Chew your food thoroughly and take a digestive enzyme to aid digestion.
4. Take probiotics to increase the number of friendly microbes in your intestines.
5. Eat at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
6. Stop eating refined, white flour, sugar and processed foods.
7. Drink plenty of filtered water .