I ran to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a few items. Little did I know that a special six-hour sale was going on complete with free samples on every aisle and employees handing out candy. Apparently they were trying to purge the store of Halloween items to make room for the Christmas displays. Christmas? We haven’t even had Halloween yet! And so it begins…the Holiday Season.
The holidays are filled with many heart-warming things. Family, friends, decorating, shopping, and of course, food. Holiday eating can be stressful for many, especially those who are trying to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The madness begins with Halloween. Candy, candy and more candy. So much candy that it can last you all the way into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving brings comfort food. Mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, jellied cranberries, biscuits and butter.
Then it’s time for the baking season that leads us into Christmas. Cookies and breads everywhere you look. Colorful candy dishes on every counter. (But it’s OK because January is coming and you have New Year’s Resolutions to start, right?)
What if instead, we decided to write our resolutions now, before the holidays hit at full force? Doesn’t it make sense to form a plan of attack so we are on the offensive instead of constantly trying to play defense by resisting temptation after temptation?
I want to challenge you to sit down today or tomorrow and write down a few things.
1. What are your fitness goals? Where do you want to see yourself in 3 months? What steps will you take to get yourself there? (Example: My goal is to be pain-free, flexible enough to grab my toes, and finally complete the MuTu 12-week program. That means I will commit to doing the MuTu exercises 5 times a week, and yoga 3 times a week.)
2. What are your holiday “must-haves”? Decide what foods you absolutely don’t want to give up over the holidays and write them down here. Make a list for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then make a plan for how you want to savor those things. (Example: On Halloween, I will choose two pieces of my favorite ethically sourced candies to eat. On Thanksgiving, I will have a piece of pumpkin pie after dinner. For Christmas, I will make a small plate of my favorite cookies and give the rest away). Whatever you do, don’t try to resist everything or your will set yourself up for failure.
3. Make a plan of attack for any parties that you have on your calendar. If you know you tend to overindulge at a certain party, eat a healthy meal or snack before you go. Similarly, make a plan of attack for work if you work in an office with candy jars everywhere. Keep chewing gum and healthy snacks at your desk to stave off cravings.
4. Enlist a “health-buddy” to go on this journey with you. Show each other your lists and keep each other accountable. Try to find someone who can also be your workout partner.
5. Learn some healthy alternatives for traditional holiday foods. The internet is bursting with fresh ideas on holiday recipes. Make a list of what you find and get cooking. Don’t just pin all the things, actually make them!
If you stumble along the way, don’t beat yourself up. Come back to your written plan and start again. Don’t let one overindulgence derail everything you are striving for.