Almost every year someone asks if I can write an article on how people can stay in shape during the holidays. They usually want tips from me on how not to over drink, how not to over eat and of course how to sneak exercise in when you are either away or busy with family.
The “Tips to stay in shape through the Holidays” article assumes the reader is already on an exercise and eating program with the goals of getting or staying in shape and they are afraid the holidays may sabotage that.
The old Jade would fire out this tips article in no time. I’d list how you should eat before you go to parties so when you’re at the party you wont overeat the fattening foods your friends love to serve, or even better yet bring your own healthy dish and eat that. I’d mention drinking soda water in between your alcohol drinks so you stay hydrated, wont get drunk and of course wont be hungover. I’m sure I’d mention something about drinking light egg nog instead of the full fat stuff and I’d possibly even mention waking up before everyone to sneak in a simple bodyweight workout or go for long walks at lunch time to counteract all the holiday excess.
That of course is the old Jade talking. The new Jade is older and wiser…that or just more pessimistic ;)
The above tips are what I call fluff tips. To me they mean nothing. They mean nothing because we’ve all heard them a zillion times and the reality is most people aren’t going to do them. Hell I can barely get people to not over eat and drink even when its not the holidays. The reality is that the holidays for many people is a time to totally let go and indulge. While I don’t ever condone going crazy when on a weight loss plan, perhaps letting go and enjoying the holidays with friends and family isn’t the worst thing.
What if instead of counting your carbs, calories and protein intake during the holidays you relaxed on the rules and just enjoyed those brief moments in time with your loved ones. Life changes fast and you never know when those moments might not be there again.
Obviously if you pig out during the holidays you are going to gain weight and this is going to be problematic for the goal you’ve set (yet again) to get in the best shape of your life this coming year. So what if instead of following a few “healthy tips” during that short period, you used the months of November and January (pre and post Holiday) to be super focused on your healthy eating, drinking and exercise. If you’ve eaten really clean up until the holidays and you know you are going to eat amazing after the holidays then the odd party and those few days at xmas aren’t going to get in the way of your ultimate goal.
Sure you can still drink soda water in between beer and cocktails, eat healthy food before you go to parties and make sure to wake up and exercise before the family gets up, but unless you are entering a fitness completion in the next couple of months I see no reason why you should stress out about food and drinks or skipping the odd workout over the holidays. Should you go totally crazy eating and drinking everything in your path…of course not. But you are an adult, an adult who knows how to moderate and have control…no?
I’m guessing that if you aren’t currently in great shape those few slip ups each year around the holidays aren’t your main problem. I’m guessing its the consistent daily and weekly slip ups that are getting in your way of your goals. If thats the case (and I’m sure it is) then a few “holiday tips” might help but ultimately you need more focus the whole rest off the year and not just in December.
The older, hopefully wiser and definitely more pessimistic Jade wants you to kick ass with your eating and exercise all year round. I also believe in having some exceptions, like vacations and holidays with loved ones. You have to enjoy life which means having a beer, some chocolate, the odd full fat Egg Nog (heaven forbid!) and some chips here and there.
Tip One – Enjoy the holidays my friends…but be an adult about it.
Tip Two – Take the rest of November and all of January to eat and exercise like a champ and you’ll be fine.
Those are my Tips ;)
If you need more tips on how to kick ass and get in the best shape of your life (for real) this year I have just the program for you. My Coaching Program – The New You Program has everything you need. From meal plans, recipes, workouts, endless success stories and of course support from me anytime you need it.
Jade McClure – Vancouver Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach