[This next guest recently started a great blog called YourInnerSkinny. Here’s his take on enjoying the season without having to perform feats of strength (well, unless you include the strength of your resolve to not help yourself to a second serving of dessert).]
By Scott Thomson
I’m going to tell you something: for a former fat man, not over-indulging during the holidays is ridiculously hard. Hell, not over-indulging during the holidays can be hard for 75% of the population! Work functions, get-togethers with friends, family, complete strangers…a Tuesday…There’s always a reason this time of year, and there’s always a lot of food, a lot of booze and a lot of partying—which usually equals a lot of over-indulgence!
So, when it comes to the holidays and a healthy lifestyle, most people proclaim, “I’ll start to eat better and hit the gym in the New Year, etc, etc.” Some do, but a lot don’t! And let’s be honest here, no one starts a workout routine on January 1st! You’re usually way too hungover and there’s way too many leftovers kickin’ around for that to be starting on the first day of the year. Let’s not BS each other here; we all know it’s going to start on Monday, January 4th, 2010 at the earliest.
Personally, I don’t understand why people wait until January 1st to start their new healthy lifestyle regiment! There’s no time like the present! (Get it..? “Present”! It’s a play on words… like a gift because it’s the holidays, and like right now because you should drop that cookie and go for a walk outside…Get it? Never mind…)
Your best bet is to start BEFORE all of this crap gets going, BEFORE you stop caring for a week or a week and a half over the holidays, and BEFORE you neglect what you do and what you put in your belly. Get your body to a good place—to a place where it’s happy and where your metabolism is up and going strong. Get to a place where you can do 25 pushups in ten minutes, or 25 chin-ups if you’ve got fifteen minutes to spare. Get your body prepared for the beer, the wine, the gravy, the chocolate and everything else it can expect by the end of December. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. Trust me!
Here are a few tips (and things you may not know!) to help you start right now and keep going well into the New Year.
- Get to the gym! Or go for a run. Or a walk with your dog. Or go jump in a lake! There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever that you should be sitting on your ass right now, waiting for 2010 to come around to start exercising. Start today! Seriously…GO! Go right now…No wait, finish this post, THEN GO!
- Give yourself a “cheat day”…or two. On days like Christmas or New Year’s Eve, there’s a good chance you’re not going to do that well in the ways of your diet or exercise. And, honestly, you’re allowed to take a break now and then. It’s actually good for you to take a cheat day if you’ve been watching what you eat and drink and exercising regularly the other 363 days of the year. Take these days to treat yourself…
- You’re allowed to cheat a little bit, but don’t go overboard! On the day of the party, eat normally (and by “normally” I mean healthy). Don’t think to yourself “Well I’m going to be drinking and eating like crap tonight, so I might as well eat like crap all day.” That’s foolishness! Why add all of those extra calories or grams of fat to your diet? I know I just said have a cheat day or two, but I meant one or two. Why turn this into a holiday of wasted effort after the past year, week or day of restraint?
- Before you go to a party, eat a full, balanced meal. I know this may sound strange because there’s going to FREE FOOD, but why go to a party hungry where you don’t know what the menu is going to be? Nine times out of ten you know it’s only going to be finger foods, and you also know that most finger foods aren’t healthy. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself!
- Work out! I know I’ve already touched on this one, but I can’t stress it enough. The team effort of diet and fitness will keep you feeling and looking great for as long as you care enough to commit to them. One doesn’t survive well without the other. On days that you really don’t feel like working out, whether you’re hungover, tired or whatever, just aim to do fifteen minutes of exercise. You’ll probably end up doing more than that once you get started! Even if you only end up completing fifteen minutes, that’s still a lot better than zero minutes. Here’s a great holiday tradition to check out: after your family’s Christmas dinner, get your mom & dad, nanny & papa and whoever else wants to, and go for a walk. You’re spending time with your family and walking off those extra peanut butter balls you just ate (they’re my fave!).
Well there you have it kids—five tips to stay healthy over the holidays. NOW, get your butt in gear and go do something active…And put down that eggnog and those cookies!
Scott Thomson was born and raised in PEI but has called Halifax home for the past 7 years as a web/graphic designer. Growing up playing sports and always being trim, he stopped being active after college and got a cushy desk job and put on 100lbs. After a few years of ridicule from family and friends, he decided it was time to get back in shape and now shares his experiences, the experiences of others and tips from professionals on his blog YourInnerSkinny.ca.