Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post Holiday Tips

A quick note first:

The Spark came out yesterday. This is SparkPeople's first book and I recommend everyone buy it! I pre-ordered my copy back in September and will be receiving it next week! In case you aren't familiar with SparkPeople, it's the largest online diet and fitness website that teaches people to lose weight through diet moderation, exercise, goal setting and an online support community.

I've been a member of SparkPeople since October 2008 and I can't sing enough praises about how much this website has helped me. Although I've already been through the 28 day plan that is taught in The Spark, I will still read this book and be using it as a reference guide and as a refresher for some healthy habits I have slacked on as of late. I really recommend all of you to check out the book, or at the least check out SparkPeople. If you decide to join, let me know and I'll send you my information so you can look me up there!

And with that, I NOW can tell you that I'm REALLY excited the bulk of the holidays are over! I still have a few special holiday events planned over the next few weeks, but the majority of the holiday rush (and travel!) is over and it's time to get BACK on track. Unfortunately this year, I didn't do as great a job of maintaining my healthy habits and practicing moderation as I had hoped I would. But, I'm not going to let that get in my way right now. It's time for me to focus on my health again and start feeling fantastic as we all move into 2010 and I move into this next year as a 24 year old (still so weird!). In the past, I would feel like focusing solely on healthy habits would be difficult with the few holiday engagements I still have pending. This year, I'm choosing to remember that a healthy lifestyle is about balance and every little bit counts for something. I don't start school until January 19th, so until then I have to juggle these last few events with special conferences at work and can't really settle down into a solid routine until school starts.

So what am I doing to balance a healthy lifestyle with the next few weeks of spotty post-holiday engagements? Here are a few tips, plus how I am integrating these tips into MY life.

1. Take charge of the events you have left.

You still have a few friends you need to meet up with, right? And of course there is the NYE celebration, along with a few stray holiday parties in January or birthday celebrations you need to attend. When and if possible, take charge of these events and plan it yourself! There's no better way to control the menu, location and timing of these events than taking it on yourself. When you are in charge of the planning, you can make sure everything works for you! Plan a healthy menu, ensure the party will be somewhere convenient for you and time the party around your exercise routine.

I am definitely doing this! I had plans to go out to dinner with an out of town friend last night. Rather than going to a restaurant and being subjected to their menu, I asked my friend if she would like to come over for a home cooked meal! She of course obliged and I prepared a taco bar with healthy ingredients for everyone. I'm doing a similar thing for NYE. Instead of going to a party or worse, a bar, I invited a friend over to my house and suggested we stay in for the night. I'm planning a healthy menu as well as making my own cocktails. It's going to save me time, calories and the hassle of being out that night!

2. Resume moderation with the treats and drinks.

The sweet treats are mostly gone, but there may be a few strays left around your house or office. Or maybe you did a lot of drinking over the holidays and feel like you can still drink that way now. Think back to your summer self and recall that you practiced moderation with treats and drinks in your life and did not always indulge. Practice this mindset again! Obviously going from a treat eating machine to quitting cold turkey is a horrible idea (you'll SO binge!), so just resume your normal treat schedule. Freeze any left over treats in your house and you can enjoy them year round (in moderation of course)! If you feel the craving for a drink, try having a "mocktail" first. You might be surprised to find that you won't miss the alcohol in the mocktail!

Leftover chocolate and treats are in my freezer so that's a check for me! I did still allow myself a cupcake for my birthday that a coworker brought in yesterday. I am definitely on board with the mocktails right now. My birthday this year was the first birthday I've had in 6ish years where I didn't have a drop of alcohol. To be honest, I am alcoholed out from the holidays this year! In the past, I would feel obligated to have a drink at my birthday dinner, but this year I ordered what I really wanted - a club soda with a splash of cranberry juice and a lime. I DID NOT miss the vodka at all. It was refreshing and fabulous.

3. Hydrate.

Hydrate that body people. With all the extra salt, sugar and alcohol you put in your system over the past few weeks, your body will really appreciate the extra water. Try adding fresh limes or lemons to your water. It will not only boost the taste and vitamin content of your water, the lemons are a natural diuretic and it will keep your body from retaining the water. If you are retaining water right now, you definitely want to keep hydrating. It sounds counter-intuitive but your body is holding on to that water because it thinks it isn't getting any more. Show your body you will give it water and it will stop retaining!

Yesterday I had roughly 12 glasses of water - split across lemon/lime water, hot tea and club soda and today is chugging right along the same path!

4. Exercise.

Even if you think you don't have time, 10 minutes of exercise is better than 0. If you took off the past few weeks of exercise, then slowly build yourself back up this week and next. Even if it's a walk around the block, 20 minutes on the elliptical or a few sun salutations before bed, it's worth it and it will push you to workout harder when your schedule allows for it.

This time of year, I prefer to integrate a few shorter workouts into my routine so I don't feel SO busy. I have plans to spend about 20 minutes on the elliptical tonight at the gym, as well as walking 1-2 miles on the treadmill. It's light exercise, but it's still exercise and it's a lot more than I've done in the past week! :)

5. Set realistic goals

It's about to be 2010, which means a new year and new resolutions for everyone. This year, make goals, not resolutions. Make yearly goals that will require a little work each month and are attainable. Then each month, look at your yearly goals and make monthly goals based on what you need to accomplish to make these goals happen. Maybe a goal for you is to have an organized house. Each month, write down one or two areas of the house that you can tackle and by the end of the year, you'll have everything organized (also you should make a monthly goal to tidy these areas daily or weekly to keep them organized.. just saying). Make sure that you are setting goals that are realistic and meaningful to you. Can you devise a plan that will accomplish these goals but fit into your daily or weekly life? Is it something you will stick with? Don't just say you want to lose 50 pounds and drop off the goal by the end of January because you only lost 5 pounds and feel discouraged. You see what I mean?

My 2010 goals and my January goals will be posted on the blog today for you to read!!

6. Realize that most of the weight gain is temporary.

Most of the weight you gained (if any) over the holidays is temporary. It's from water retention, a little lost muscle mass from not working out and TOO MUCH SUGAR. It will easily come off if you give it a few weeks and don't do anything radical. Focus on the things I mentioned above and remember that the holidays are over and you can get back on track and be healthy.

I'm not even going to talk about my weight gain because I am focusing on this tip myself and remembering that it WILL come off soon ;)

Those are just a few tips that I have for getting back on track post holidays and starting the new year off right!

What tips do you have for the post-holiday weeks and how do you balance any damage you did to yourself over the holidays?

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