It’s hard to believe that festive time of year is quickly falling upon us. Thanksgiving is about a week away leading up to Christmas which will be here sooner than we all realize.
While for many, this is the worst time of year for our waistlines, surprisingly, I tend to stay in the best shape of my life from now well into the upcoming new year. Generally speaking, I’m in decent (hey, there is always room for improvement!) shape year-round due to my dedication to a healthy lifestyle, which includes clean eating and religious workouts. Yet somehow, during the holiday season, I’m in even better shape for a couple explainable reasons: 1) I absolutely refuse to let myself go and look like an oompa loompa come New Year’s (sorry, ain’t happening, I love myself too much to even let myself to go to begin with)…2) With holiday parties, my birthday falling between two holidays (Christmas and New Year’s), and other non-stop festivities, looking my best is just at a higher priority than other times of the year.
So what does this mean? What do I have to do, resort to starving myself? Start a cleansing diet where all I do is drink water mixed with cayenne pepper and maple syrup all day (umm, can we say GROSS)? (Can I strongly answer with a BIG FAT NO to both those questions…FYI, both those options are incredibly detrimental to your body, so please, don’t even fathom such things…I’m just pointing out extremes that people go through that are completely UNnecessary).
Okay, my answer: All it truly means is that my motivation is at a natural high and that I have to pump up the discipline. Everything is within reach with a good dose of motivation and discipline. The motivation comes from within (you either have it or don’t) but as for the discipline, I can explain a few things I do to keep this principal in check:
1- Eat extra, extra clean: I would say that I eat pretty clean to begin with. My staple foods include grapefruit, kale, spinach, apples, etc. Pretty much foods that are natural and are only one ingredient that also provide nothing but nutrients to fuel my body with energy. However, I do have a sweet tooth so this time of year, I really cut back sugar as much as I can (I try to limit sweet treats to only one day a week meaning 6/7 days, no sweets). If you cut back on these cravings, you’ll find the body on its own will start to crave them less. (Out of sight, out of mind right?)
2- Lift more weights (cardio is not enough): I probably work out the most during the summer months where the weather is nicer and I could run outside pretty much every day. Add extra runs plus my regular workouts which incorporate lifting and minimal cardio. One would think that I would be in the best shape that time of year but being I’m slightly less disciplined with my eating habits, the extra running really isn’t enough. Which is why I always stress the importance of lifting weights because this is what is going to truly change the SHAPE of your body. By shape I mean a tighter physique (muscle takes up less space than fat) and less overall inches.
3- Find a way to push your body everyday: I try to find time (about 45 minutes to an hour) every single day of the year to dedicate to my body. Even on busy days, something as minimal as a set of push-ups or a 10 minute jog around the neighborhood is better than nothing in my book. However, pushing your body and challenging it in ways it didn’t realize it was even capable of is what really is going to lead to rewarding results. Besides maintaining optimal health, isn’t achieving results the ultimate goal? To push my body more, I really focus on toning/lifting (which again leads to a sculpted physique) by increasing weights and changing up my workouts as much as possible so my muscles don’t get used to the same routine.
4- Save indulgences just for the festivities: If you can dedicate eating clean everyday and fitting in challenging workouts daily, then this leaves room for some indulging (but not going overboard) for those special holiday events. If you stay disciplined, then these events allow you something to look forward to! I know for myself, I look forward to them and it’s a time that should be enjoyed. Does that mean that I will drink a bottle of wine and polish off a plate of cookies as a reward for being so disciplined? Obviously not, but it does mean I can enjoy a glass (or two) of wine and maybe a cookie.
If you listen to my fitness tips, you can look forward to looking and feeling great! From now until the end of the year, I will contribute some more health/fitness blogs to step up your motivation and provide you valuable health related information that will take your fitness level to greater heights.
[Do you have some tips for staying slim during the holidays? What works for you?]