This is the time of year when it’s easy to get into what I call the “screw it” mindset. With all the holidays coming up, it’s easy to just say, “Screw it. I’m just going to eat whatever I want and start eating healthier after the holidays.” Or ,”I’ll start my diet and workout plan on January 1.”
No. Don’t be that person. You’ve probably done that every year before and it hasn’t worked for you, right? What’s going to be different this time?
Having that mindset is one of the reasons you probably don’t have the results you want at this moment…because you’re always saying you’ll start on Monday, or next month, or after this event, or that event. You’re waiting for the perfect conditions to start eating better…and that just ain’t gonna happen!
See, there are will always be holidays and vacations and parties. That’s life. There are always going to be things that can throw you off track with your healthy eating…but that’s NOT a reason to just throw in the towel and not even try.
The thing is, you don’t have to be PERFECT with your eating, just consistent. So you have a splurge and eat too much dessert one day-so what? Move on. Have a few too many drinks one weekend? So what? Move on.
Just because you had one bad meal or one bad day of eating, doesn’t mean you ruined your whole diet. It only becomes a problem when you develop the, “I’ll just start over on Monday” mindset and let things spiral out of control all weekend. You have to learn that you can have a “bad” meal and then just MOVE ON. It’s part of life. It happens.
There’s nothing magical about Monday. There’s nothing magical about January. So why not start with your next meal? Why not start right now? You are always one meal away from making a healthy choice!
Think about it this way: you have SEVEN days a week to eat healthy. If you eat 3 meals a day, that’s 21 meals a week. Even if you have 7 meals a week that aren’t so healthy…that still leaves 14 meals where you CAN eat healthy, which is still 75% of the time, and that’s pretty darn good! Maybe that’s not “perfect”, but it’s better than 21 not healthy meals, right?
So let’s define eating “healthy” real quick. That may mean something different for everyone, but I think overall we can agree that eating fruits, vegetables, natural and minimally processed carbohydrates, and lean proteins is healthy. So if you’re eating those foods 75% of the time, it’s okay to have some “treats” and not so healthy foods mixed in there.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be black or white. Find the middle ground. Find the balance. That is how healthy eating becomes a lifestyle, and how you’ll be able to finally lose the weight and keep it off. The people who have mastered the whole balance and moderation thing are the ones who don’t stress about the holidays and who stay in shape year round. They’re the ones who can be flexible and enjoy foods they love without totally falling off the wagon…because they realize that there is no “wagon”!
Meanwhile, the “Monday” people will always be the ones on and off a different diet. They will always be the ones yo-yo dieting, gaining and losing the same weight over and over again. You don’t want to be that person, right? Well, then get rid of the “screw it” mindset!
Yes, I know, it’s harder to eat healthy during the holidays. Yes, there will be more temptations, and yes, you probably will have more “splurges” during this time of the year. But remember, even if you give in to those temptations, even if you have a few extra “bad” meals than normal, that doesn’t mean that every single one of those 21 meals you eat in a week have to be unhealthy. Show some restraint and self control. Show that you care about your health enough to not eat like an idiot.
For those of you who really struggle during the holidays, here are some tips that might help you stay(mostly)on track:
*If you know you are going to an event or holiday party, eat mostly protein and vegetables earlier that day, every 3 hours. The worst thing you can do is to try to NOT eat that day. That way you won’t be starving when you get to the party and then just end up completely bingeing.
*Fill up your plate with protein first(turkey, ham, etc.), and then sample a little of everything else on your plate. That way you will feel satisfied but won’t be over doing it. Portion control is key. Also, limit yourself to ONE plate.
*If you want to drink alcohol, skip the dessert. And if you want dessert, skip the drinks. Remember, it’s all about balance. It’s all about give and take. Splurge a little here, cut back a little there. Practice some self control sometimes. You don’t ALWAYS have to eat the dessert!
*If you’re really struggling with eating healthy, then make it a goal to have at least ONE healthy meal a day. Pick what meal that will be, and be consistent with it. For example, maybe you decide that lunch every day will be your healthy meal-so each day you will eat a lean protein and a vegetable and fruit with that meal. Plan ahead and prepare it in advance for the next day. Focusing on at least ONE healthy behavior is better than nothing at all!
*Be consistent with your workouts. Make it a goal to do something every single day, even if it’s just a walk around the block! Or make it a goal to do a 15 minute workout 3 times a week. If you think 15 minutes isn’t enough, you’re wrong! You can do a lot in 15 minutes. And you don’t even need a gym. All you need is your bodyweight-squats, lunges, pushups, glute bridges…the list of things you can do at home is endless. Just google some home workouts and get MOVING!
*Be okay with gaining a few pounds… and don’t obsess over the scale this time of year. Life is not about your weight or your body fat percentage. It’s the holidays. It’s okay to relax and enjoy yourself a little! It’s okay to enjoy your Grandma’s home-made mac and cheese. But a few pounds is NOT twenty pounds. Relaxing a little doesn’t mean stuffing your face with everything in sight. If you use the 75/25% rule when it comes to your nutrition, you’ll be okay.
*Use those extra calories you may be consuming as fuel for your workouts! No, it’s not about exercising to burn OFF those calories or to punish yourself for eating “bad”-it’s about using the extra calories to push yourself and lift heavy! This is a great time of the year to focus on your workouts and setting goals in the gym, like trying to do a certain number of pushups, your first pullups, or being able to squat your bodyweight. Take the focus away from the scale for a little bit and focus on what your body can DO. Taking a break from dieting is good to do every now and then anyways, and this is the perfect time of the year to do it! That doesn’t mean not eating healthy, it just means eating a little more.
So while you may not be able to eat perfect during the holidays, don’t use that as an excuse to eat like crap 24/7. If you get a flat tire you don’t say, “Screw it, I might as well slash all the others”, right? So why would you do that with your nutrition? Don’t make it harder on yourself come the New Year. If you can stay somewhat on track for these next two months, then while everyone is crash dieting in January trying to lose those 20-30 pounds they gained in November and December, you will be over here just doing the same thing you’ve been doing! Which person do you want to be?