The holidays are about relaxing, aren’t they? About taking time out from your normally hectic life, about days of no or little scheduling, about rest and reward. And food, of course. Maybe a little extra alcohol. But that’s okay – you work hard all year and you deserve to indulge a little without feeling bad about it.
Why is it that when it comes to reward, or treating ourselves, most of us automatically think that means eat more? Wouldn’t the ultimate treat be to spend our time off relaxing in ways that build our health and further our body incredible goals? To indulge in sumptuous, fresh yet healthy Summer foods, yes, maybe to take time off from the gym, but to go on long walks, maybe explore some new terrain on foot or bike, or even try some new adventurous form of exercise?
Of course, you may well have indulged in those healthy pleasures along the way, but I’ll bet that wasn’t the focus of your holiday break. And why should it be? I just came back from a week of holiday and there were plenty of non-healthy indulgences.
- I drank alcohol every night for 8 nights straight
- I ate peanut M&Ms every afternoon by the pool (I can’t help it, they’re addictive!)
- And – despite saying to myself that I’d avoid wheat – I ate bread most days. (Bread is my nemesis – I’m an extreme protein person)
Sure, I worked out quite a bit and this managed to offset the above effects, but still. I don’t feel quite as energized and ‘in-shape’ as I did before I left.
I guess the main problem with holiday indulgence is not so much that it can add a little festive flab, or temporarily zap your energy, but that you beat up on yourself about it. Feel guilty, even though you know it was just a temporary pause to your normally great eating and exercise habits.
Where holiday habits get really scary is when they creep beyond your holiday and back into your real life. If you’re still in merry-making mode come February, you could be setting the tone for a seriously tough year health-wise.
4 Easy Ways To Shake Off Your Festive Season Flab
1. Get on the wagon. At least temporarily. It’s all too easy to keep having just one or two drinks with a meal when you’ve been doing so for most of December. Aside from the obvious issue of becoming addicted to the stuff, frequent alcohol intake puts quite the strain on your liver. Wine, beer and other spirits (unless organic) are chock-full of toxins, and this won’t do you any favours either. In fact, it actually causes your body to store additional fat around your internal organs and your gut.
2. Book 4 exercise sessions in to your diary next week. When it comes to how much you need to exercise, I have to be harsh. 2 or 3 times a week just ain’t gonna cut it. Your body is designed to move daily – this is one reason incidental exercise such as stairs over the lift is so important. Shake yourself out of your holiday slump by shooting for 4 workouts next week. Commit to them in a way that you know you won’t be able to avoid. This is best done by booking a Personal Training appointment, or a workout session with a friend. Just choose a friend who you know is more motivated than you right now, and won’t let you escape!
3. Go natural for 3 days. One of the primary reasons for an extra pooch around this time of year is all the processed foods. Cut them out completely for 3 days and you truly will feel fantastic. You’ll notice the difference around your waist, as well. Going completely natural means eating nothing from a package of any kind. No boxes, bags or tins. I din’t say this would be easy! Choose (organic if possible) meats, poultry, eggs, fresh fruit, salads and vegetables. Use some organic extra virgin olive or coconut oil, and avocado for fats. If you’re really serious then avoid grains, dairy and coffee during this time.
4. Remember why you’re worth it! Food and exercise has nothing on a focused and motivated mind. Take a moment – right now – to remember why it’s important to you to get back to feeling great about yourself. If it helps, write about it. If you have a photo of yourself that you love and that will inspire you, carry it wherever you go. And when you get up each morning, take a few seconds to focus on your goals for the day. Alcohol or no alcohol? To exercise or not? The croissant or the poached eggs? Health and energy or lethargy and an expanding belly. You decide.
Life is Now. Press Play.
(who is now entering day 3 of a 3-week alcohol fast!)
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