There is a reason why January is the busiest month for trainers, coaches, and pretty much every gym in the country: the all too common holiday binge and busyness, followed by working off all the cookies, pies, and exercise hiatus. Believe me, I’ve been there!
Our family has had our share of apple pies, snickerdoodles (my favorite!), and the grazing of ALL the leftovers. We travel, attend awesome parties, and enjoy the season with loved ones and our most loved holiday sides (bacon wrapped dates!). Over time, our family has found some ways to not lose progress over the holidays and stay on track.
Here are the top 5 habits we have instilled that keeps us clear from the post-holiday pounds:
1. Set a Realistic Goal and Share for all to See
Each week, our family sits down at the dinner table on Sunday nights and set our weekly goals. What has surprised me the most is how much our kids enjoy it and keep me accountable!
This is a great way to develop a habit during the holidays and make progress, one day at time! Look at your calendar and make it realistic, something you are at least 80% sure you can keep. Then, tell someone, write it in a visible place, and ask them to keep you accountable! Celebrate when you have accomplished it! We throw a little Saturday night dance party and then we are in bed by 9… I know, crazy up in this house!!
2. Eat Slowly, Eat Until 80% Full
It’s amazing how quickly the extra bites and grazing can really add up. By eating slowly and enjoying your food, it will help you feel full sooner and allow time for the “I’m full” hormones to kick in and tell your brain to stop eating! Drink water or put your fork down in between bites, take at least 15-20 minutes to eat every meal when possible.
Secondly, avoid putting on your comfy sweats because of a bottomless abyss of turkey and sweet potato casserole! Set a goal to just eat until 80% full, use a salad plate if you have to. Learn what it feels like to be satisfied and start practicing now. Using a small plate with small portions has helped me enjoy what I love without overeating.
3. Eat the Good Stuff First!
While it can be challenging to find anything remotely healthy during the holidays, I make it a point to hit Costco regularly to keep the fridge stocked with veggies. As long as it’s in the kitchen, it’s much easier to reach for the fully stocked and chopped cucumbers or carrots versus leftover apple pie.
When the parties come, eat the better options first or pack an awesome snack, fill up on the good stuff before reaching for the treats. We take in far less calories from the sugar and fat packed desserts when our stomachs don’t have much room to spare from the green goodness we have diligently prioritized!
4. Exercise Doesn’t Have to be Time Consuming
One of the easiest things to do is drop off our consistent exercise program that we have been working so hard to maintain over the past few months. Often when traveling, there isn’t a gym but only grandma’s garage or the corner of a hotel room, so what to do? This can be challenging, but in just 15-20 minutes we can stay consistent and not drop off our habit of a daily exercise program.
Some of the most effective exercises are compound movements, the ones that involve the big muscles. The ones with highest returns on your effort are squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups (if available), V-ups, planks or any variation of these movements such as jump squats or holding some weight while lunging. Below are a few of my favorite and most simple, yet, effective home workouts.
5. Don’t Sweat It!
You’ve been killing your goals, managing portions, filling up on veggies, and exercising, then enjoy the cookie or piece of pie or bacon wrapped dates (for me!) and don’t sweat it! Allow yourself to enjoy the good foods and festivities. Define your moderation once numbers 1-4 have been completed! Enjoy time with family, rest, share the love and enjoy every bite of your favorite, portion conscious dessert.
* Break up reps however you want, but keep them in order
100 Squats (or 50)
100 Sit-ups (or 50)
100 Lunges (or 50)
100 Push-ups (or 50)
100 Sit-ups (or 50)
1/4 mile Run
20s Work:10s Rest
8 Rounds (4 min) Push-ups
8 Rounds (4 min) Jump Squats
8 Rounds V-ups or Tuck ups
8 Rounds Burpees