As you can imagine, January is my biggest month for calming down my participants. It is when clients roll in to their sessions at their most sluggish, their most discouraged, and we have the most internal work to do to get them feeling back on top of their lifestyle habits. They feel so far gone, and don't even know how it happened.
So, let's plan ahead! I'll tell you first how it happens. One workout dropped here, another one there. One cookie here, one sausage roll there. Before you know it, your chemistry is changing. Your body feels too worn out to train, and your cravings are starting to throb and swell. Much like your body. I'm sorry for being so direct, but this is what happens.
December is the month that you should organize and compartmentalize the most. It's suddenly cold, and there are many parties, and everyone is comforting themselves and escaping by way of snack and drinks. It's okay, to a degree, but if you lose your self control in it, it's certainly not worth it. The scramble you'll have to experience afterward is stressful, even when you think it won't be. And I'm not even talking about how you look, because gaining 5lbs of body fat won't really make a difference to anyone else. But when you're off track in your routine and lifestyle, and you start to feel lethargic and foggy, it causes stress. THAT is what you want to avoid. Because being unhappy with yourself in January is just terrible planning. You want to feel like you're speeding after something great during that month, gaining ground, making your own daylight. You don't want to be stuck in the dark and the cold and feeling like you're set back many months. And let me tell you, gaining even 5lbs of body fat can snowball out of control pretty quickly because of what it can do to your energy and to your cravings. It's not worth the gamble.
At your parties, plan a drink limit. Have one or two to participate if you'd like, to get loose and laugh, but keep the next morning in mind. Remember that if you wake up hungover, you are going to want to eat garbage all day long and be exhausted and not want to think about socializing for a couple days. Pick your battles. You can't go all in at every event without feeling like you've been steam rolled come the end of the month!
Have a snack before you go out. An apple with a tablespoon of almond butter and cinnamon is a good go-to for me. It stabilizes blood sugar and makes the fried or starchy snacks less appealing.
Maybe you're crunched for time and your regular workouts won't make the cut. That's okay. But do NOT get out of the habit. You can have shorter bursts, but breaking a sweat most days and keeping your main muscle groups strong (the postural players - glutes, core, mid to upper back) will help keep you stable, consistent and in-routine enough to bounce back quickly after the holidays. Hang onto your consistency for dear life, even if the length of your sessions take a hit.
Encourage your co-workers and your family to limit the baked goods and fat-laden snacks this year. Do you know a soul who has NEVER said that they care about their health or how they feel? It matters to almost everyone. I haven't heard anyone say "I'm so excited that my office is filled with baked goods this time of year" because usually it encourages behaviour that makes people FEEL worse. Yet everyone continues to bake and crowd the offices with these energy-zapping foods! Have a chat with your entourage. Ask them, do you guys want to try to feel a little better this year? Let's offer cleaner alternatives that are still delicious but DELIVER energy rather than zap it. There are a million recipes online for healthier snacks - protein balls, clean cookies, homemade protein bars, black bean brownies, hummus and vegetable platters... A little effort here can go a long way. Set the stage for less temptation.
You are your life manager. Take responsibility for how you are directing your habits and how you are moving into next year. Attaining balance is an important life skill. Challenge yourself to indulge a little but to keep the big picture in mind and not to be self-destructive in your habits. You should be able to celebrate without throwing your self-care out the window. We all have our moments, but have a conversation with yourself about it this year. Avoid that January panic.
That said, for those who have already fallen a bit off track... I'll be here for you in January and after every other celebratory event we have next year. Broken record Jessica. :)
*Always, always get back on the horse.*