For many of us (at least in north america for sure) the next 7 weeks are going to be about end of year parties, feasts, get togethers, lousy gym hours, time off from work and generally being out of our ‘routine’.
This is when most of us fall off the proverbial diet and exercise wagon for all the reasons I just listed above and I’m sure there are many more I’ve missed.
Even though your routine will likely be messed up pretty good for the next two months there is no reason it should result in inevitable weight gain. This happens to all of us, and it’s not a surprise…it’s the same time every year, and the same stuff happens.
So how do you get through it? I suggest having some sort of plan and managing expectations.
For starters I wouldn’t target december 28th for a photoshoot and hoping to be in the best shape of the year at that time. Give yourself a break and accept the fact that the following weeks might not be the best time to organize a photoshoot in order to see what you’ve managed to accomplish over the past 12 months.
Second, set realistic exercise goals. If you workout at a gym it’s likely going to have modified ‘holiday hours’ that mess up your routine so you’ll have to do a bit of adjusting. This might be the time to do a bit of free-styling in the gym as you likely can’t guarantee the days you’re going to be able to get there. I’d suggest winding down your stricter schedule of routine workouts by the end of Nov and look at december as a ‘free’ month to go ‘off program’ and experiment with new stuff in the gym.
If you workout at home then you’re in luck and you don’t have the issue of working around holiday gym hours.
Third, this is the big one: Diet. What will you do to offset the big eating that’ll happen during the holidays?
Making a Plan
My suggestion is to take action before each major eating event instead of after. There is a much higher probability that you’ll be successful at diet/losing weight before you hit a big feast vs after. This is due to the positive mind space and momentum you can create before the event. This allows you to arrive at the coming feasts ‘prepared’ to do some big eating without the negative consequences to your waistline.
It feels much better to get read this way, than it does to try and ‘make up for it’ after the fact.
Trying to make up for a big eating day after the fact starts a cycle of negative emotions, self beating and self doubt. It could easily start a spiral of feeling lousy about yourself and how you’re managing your diet/exercise life. It’s tougher to keep things level throughout the holiday season if you’re in constant ‘damage control’ from big eating mode vs ‘preparation for big eating’ mode.
Sure when you break it all down it’s just a matter of adding in some low calories days to offset the high calorie days, but the timing of those days really does matter. The more low calorie days you can stack BEFORE a high calorie feast is the key to getting through the holidays in a positive mindset and in at least the same condition you’re in now if not better.
American thanksgiving is only 10 days from now. If you know you’re going to be eating big then you might want to put a mini 10 day plan to get to get prepared for all the fixin’s next week.
This pre-feast mini-diet preparation is the best way I know to arrive at thanksgiving or any other feast ready to eat big guilt free and still be happy about the condition of your body once it’s over.
This might sound like a bit more dieting ‘work’ than you were planning on doing at this point of the year…but ask yourself what the alternative is? Do nothing and gain weight? Do nothing and also skip all the fun food? Wait till you’ve hammered back 4000 calories at thanksgiving then wallow in self loathing for 24 hours and attempt to work it off before christmas hits?
I think you know what the better plan is, now it’s just a matter of putting it into practice
So l want you to share your plan for staying in shape this holiday season, just respond in the comment section below.
I’ll share my plan here:
I’m using one of my buddies more aggressive diet plans over the next 12 days to get ready for a big weekend of college football start Fri Nov 23rd. I don’t want to miss out on any of the ribs, steak, beer, dessert…whatever. I want to be entirely uninhibited during that weekend but I also want to feel ok and zero guilt about it. So to do this I’m gonna take my calories low and keep it strict for the next 10-12 days leading up to it. I’ll pass on my usual snack with my morning coffee and opt out of the ice cream at the movies between now and then.
I’ll get back to normal eating after thanksgiving weekend and then leading up to christmas I’ll take the same approach; 10-12 days hard dieting.
As for workouts I’m backing off heavy weights for the remainder of the year both in volume and intensity. I’m down to 2-3 weight workouts per week just to maintain and the amount of weight I’m lifting is cut in half from what I can normally handle. This is also a good strategy for me to allow any nagging aches/pains and minor inflammation of any joints to heal.
I’ll bring up the cardio from 45 mins per day to about 60-80 depending on what I’m watching on the iPad (sometimes I get caught up watching a football game or walking dead and I can’t stop and before I know it 90 minutes has passed on the treadmill!)
So that it. Thats my plan for managing my bodyweight/condition through thanksgiving and christmas.
So whats your plan? If you feel like sharing just put your plan in the comments section below.