I went out for two indulgent meals this weekend. One was a Christmas party and therefore justifiable, but the other was nothing except for a feed-on effect from the first. Quite literally.
Christmas time or not, my ability to stay motivated with healthy eating is a direct result of how I’m feeling about myself. If I feel happy, healthy, energized and self-confident, I’m motivated to workout harder and to eat well. If I’ve been eating, drinking and merry-making my way from festivity to feast, I become less and less motivated with each passing day.
Hence the reason that this weekend I went almost directly from night-time party-ing and guilt-free thoughts –
“I’ve been good this week, I deserve to let my hair down”
– to morning-after self-destructive despair:
“Oh well, I probably gained 5 pounds from last night and I feel like you-know-what so I may as well just order the pancakes and be done with it. It’s going to be a fat Christmas after all. Hot chocolate and waffles on the side please”
Do you want to place a bet as to whether I had a workout after that breakfast, or whether I just continued the vicious cycle right through the entire weekend? Hold that thought for now.
If you’ve just about decided that December means adding a few pounds, losing a great deal of energy, even more sleep, and most of your self-confidence to boot, then it’s time to listen up. Christmas festivities are great. And yes, you should be able to let your hair down. It’s no fun for you or anyone else if you hang out by the water fountain all night nibbling on raw veggies. But what you don’t deserve, what you absolutely cannot afford, and what I’ll bet you certainly won’t enjoy, is to let one dinner out blend into the next party, into 7-night-a-week drinking, into morning muffins and mid-afternoon candy canes. You know I’m right. Want an incredible body? Then you need to stay focused. And be firm. Keep your mind on what it is that’s truly important to you. But remember that with the right planning you can have your cake and eat it.
Five Steps To Guilt-Free Christmas Partying
1. Map Out Your Party Calendar
This does not mean scheduling extra shopping time for each new outfit that you absolutely MUST have. Sure, we’re already halfway through December, but there’s still plenty more eating and drinking to be done. Too much, if you’re not careful. Pull out your diary right now, or just grab a blank page and map out the next 2 weeks (let’s cover NYE). Write down every event that you know involves potential indulgence. Even if it’s just an extra morning tea out. You need to know what you’re dealing with in order to effectively combat the battle of the Christmas bulge.
If you’re serious about maintaining or continuing to work toward an incredible body then you really can’t afford more than two big events out each week. Three max. By big event I mean excess food and drink. This does not mean you have to skip on other events, but you will need to be prepared to say no when someone hands you that third champers, or insists you try just one of those yummy eclairs. If you know that you won’t have the willpower to resist, well then you will have to prioritize the most important events and stay home for the rest. Sound too harsh for you? Well, it’s your choice. Just so long as you’ve decided what’s most important to you – your health and the way you feel about yourself, or parties parties parties. Either answer is fine, as long as you’re being true to yourself.
3. Don’t Arrive With A Growling Belly
If you’ve heard this one before, well maybe there’s a reason for that. The absolute worst thing you can do is arrive at an event with a starving tummy and a camel’s thirst. Prepare yourself both mentally and physically to resist too much temptation by eating something light before you head out, and by being well hydrated. At this time of year a few extra glasses of water throughout the day does not go astray.
4. Enforce A Pre-Party Exercise Rule
I know that Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year to stay on track with regular exercise. But don’t you think it’s also the most important? If you want to really feel good about yourself the morning after, then enforce a pre-party exercise rule. Even if it does mean setting the alarm for an (even more) ungodly hour. Or here’s a thought. Maybe you could hit the gym at lunch instead of fighting the crowds for futile shopping followed by a treat to help undo the stress of it all. Shop online instead. Worried about having enough time for a decent workout? Funny thing, I wrote an article on just that only last week. Read it here.
5. Eat Smart In Between Events
One of the silliest things that many people do to combat year end feasting is to starve themselves in between events, or to grab something on the run. Now I’ll bet this isn’t you, but let me tell you something just in case. Skipping meals or eating poorly balanced meals (processed foods, all carbohydrate and no protein or good fat is one of the quickest ways to gain weight and feel awful. Eating on the run, even if it’s ‘healthy’ food, has the same effect, This sort of behavior tells your body that it’s a time of stress, or that good food is not readily available. As a result your body will hold onto stored body fat and do whatever it can to store even more fat – just in case you need the back-up.
With The Right Planning You Can Still Let Your Hair Down This Christmas
Before you head out for the next big meal or reach for the third, fourth, fifth naughty beverage, ask yourself this:
What do you really deserve? Incredible feasting, or the knowledge that you’ve had a great Christmas, let your hair down, but are still on track for your Body Incredible? Yes, it’s your Christmas and you can eat if you want to, but it’s also your body. Your self-worth. And your chance to show yourself what you’re made of. You only get out what you put in.
Life is Now. Press Play.
*Oh – and yes I did manage to break the cycle over the rest of the weekend, and even made it out of the pantry for a workout or two! Mind you, I’ve had to play it smart by hiding my Christmas chocolates in my wardrobe. Out of sight, out of mind, and it will make for a pleasant surprise when it comes to New Year’s spring cleaning!
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