Thursday, October 24, 2013

Future You: Post-Holidays


Future You: Post-Holidays


With the holidays just around the corner, we are in that ten week window where festivities abound, starting with copious amounts of left-over Halloween candy and then letting it rip right up until we are nursing our New Year’s hangover with pizza and a little hair of the dog. 

The plus side: this season is fun, festive, and chock full of friends, family and togetherness. 

The downside: it is also a time period where health, fitness, and pretty abs go to die.

Regardless of what holidays you choose to celebrate, there is no debating that... 

‘Tis the Season for Temptation 

Alcohol consumption skyrockets (guilty as charged), the shopping and hustle-bustle  causes missed training sessions, and candy or homemade goodies are perched on every table and counter from your office on in to the mall. 

The End of the Year Eff-its

You know exactly what I’m talking about. The insidious end-of-the-year thought process that gets the best of... well, even the best of us. Maybe it sets in on Halloween during that crazy costume party, or maybe you manage to hold out until Thanksgiving before finally relenting and giving the official declaration:

“Eh, screw it. I’ll just start again in January.” 

POW! As soon as the thought has had a chance to fully manifest in your mind, zero cares are given as you plow through pecan pies and gallons of spiked egg nog with reckless abandon. 

“So I’ll gain a couple of pounds. Big deal. I’ll just work it off in the new year.”

Hold up. It may not be that simple. 


Beware the Sugar Dragon (he is a ruthless bastard.)

The perils of allowing yourself too many indulgences ventures far beyond the quest for a hotter bod. Anybody that has been on an extended vacation where they have had daily (or hourly when I’m in Vegas. Oops?) cocktails, along with a bunch of sweets and treats can attest to how hard it is to get back to a healthier diet once they get home. 

Sure, it’ll feel good to detox a bit for the first 2-3 days, but then it’s common to find yourself reeling from cravings due to your stimulating the Sugar Dragon. (You can read all about the Sugar Dragon and his sneaky ways in, “It Starts With Food”)

Simply put, sugar is addictive. The more we eat, the more we want, which means the more we eat, and then the more we want, ad infinitum. It’s a vicious, addictive cycle, and while there are plenty of decadent foods around during the holidays, desserts are the most prevalent. Cookies, pies, and candy - oh my! All it takes is a few weeks of substantial extra sugar and you’ve got yourself an addictive new habit that is hard as hell to break. 

Habit Formation 

Habits - particularly really naughty/delicious ones - can be exceptionally difficult to overcome. Our brain actually etches a big juicy neural pathway for things that we do repeatedly which makes it easier for us to do them over and over again. (Of course the same holds true for healthy habits that we create, but these are often more challenging and take significantly more motivation, effort, and will-power.)

The point here being why create unhealthy eating habits that are going to be tough as a hell to conquer come January? 

Make it Count

I don’t expect anybody to go through the holidays without eating a few sinfully delicious things - unless that is your thing, of course, and if so, carry on. Personally, I save most of my indulging for alcohol, and yes, I realize this post makes it sound as though I have a problem. I assure you that I do not (and yes, I’m aware that denial is the first sign).  

The Deliciousness Scale of 1 - 10

Ranking foods on a deliciousness scale of 1 - 10 is helpful. If anything is less than an 8, ditch it posthaste. 
You’ll also notice that foods typically get less scrumptious the more of it that you eat. While the first bites of a rich chocolate cake may totally be a 10, you’ll notice that it gradually slinks down the scale the more you eat. Because of this, it’s important to ask yourself just how good this treat is every bite or so. 

Equally as important, remember that you do not have to finish whatever you are eating. A bite or two is completely acceptable. Do not feel compelled to finish it. 
Taste it, savor it, enjoy it to the fullest .... but then get on with it. 

Whatever you eat, make it count. Just because your co-worker brought in some store-bought, cardboard-esque sugar cookies covered in red and green sprinkles does not mean that you must eat them. Gross. Hold off and wait for your grandma’s famous apple pie that she makes every year just because it’s your favorite. That is worth it.

Future You


It's perfectly acceptable to splurge on a few things, and to let our strict training schedules take a backseat to make way for time with loved ones. What we don't want to do is cause regression that will make us miserable in a month or two. 

Your actions today directly impact your tomorrow. Be kind to future you.  


I plan on blazing into 2014 with an even stronger, healthier, and happier bod and mindset; one that is not bogged down with extra bodyfat, bad habits, sugar cravings from hell, and low energy. 

I’d love your company. Join me? 


What is your strategy for enjoying the holidays without causing making yourself miserable come January?
 Let me know in the comments below!







8 comments:

  1. Wow. I am so guilty of the "I'll start in January" one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of us are. The more we can bring awareness to it the more we can help ourselves avoid that trap though!

      Delete
  2. Awesome post! Having just done my first figure competition last weekend, and the silly season around the corner, saying screw it and diving face first into ALL of the foods is very tempting! I must admit I am feeling a bit lost not having that strict mentality, but I am really trying to develop healthy off season eating habits and not mourning the loss of my crazy lean body too much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on competing in your first Figure show!

      I can absolutely relate when you say you feel a bit lost without the strict diet being there! Ease yourself into things and take it slow, and you'll do just fine.

      Delete
  3. Great post, Jen! I have no strategy other than reading this post daily, in hopes that it strengthens my willpower. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Megan!
      Sometimes our best strategy is just developing the skills to really listen to what our body is telling us.
      More candy = feeling yucky, whereas more veggies = feeling better!

      Enjoy your holiday season!

      Delete
  4. i resolved at the beginning of october that this would be the year i weighed more on halloween than on new year's eve... and so far, so good! i'm going to continue my current food and exercise plan, and on special occasions, i'm going to focus on the friends, family, conversation and goodwill rather than the food. i'll have controlled portions of truly special things that i can't get the rest of the year, and i'll enjoy them without guilt. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great resolution, and so glad to hear that it's going well.

      As for the remainder of your comment, I absolutely love that. Perfect. Just perfect!

      Happy holidays!

      Delete