I could sit here all day (or year) and tell you that it’s a waste of time to deviate from your healthy lifestyle, and I would not only be a giant hypocrite, but I also be telling you something you obviously know.
As I’ve said a hundred times, everyone knows that eating healthy keeps you fit and in shape. However, pizza, cookies, donuts, Chinese food and about a thousand other unhealthy things are also delicious, and sometimes, resistance is futile.
On top of that, part of my personal philosophy is enjoying the healthy life you’ve built. If you haven’t checked out the “About this blog” page, then see more there about my thoughts on this, but the basic idea is that there’s no point in being in great shape and having abs if you can’t go flaunt them at some ridiculous pool party while you drink margaritas and eat huge meals on vacation.
Here’s the thing though… there are occasions for these things. Sometimes there aren’t occasions, and that’s also totally okay once in a while. The problem is that when a lot of people “fall off the horse” as they say, they tend to procrastinate getting back on.
Let’s say it’s Wednesday and you go out for happy hour with some friends. Happy hour turns into three or four happy hours and you end up getting late night pizza and crawling into bed way later than you meant to. You have two options the next day. Option 1) you can wake up feeling guilty, feed yourself crappy food to feel better and blame yourself for staying out too late. Option 2) you can wake up remembering all the fun stuff that happened last night, eat something healthy and (albeit begrudgingly) get a workout in even if it’s short.
Now, I realize I’m no rocket scientist for putting these options down on virtual paper, and I know I’ve personally gone for option one more times than not, but it’s about more than the day after happy hour(s). It’s about what you decide to do after you’ve taken a diet/workout detour. I’m guessing a lot of people have had a slip up on a Wednesday like I alluded to and decided, “oh well, I’ll get back on track on Monday.” Monday?? That’s four extra days you’re giving yourself to splurge because of one evening of mistakes.
Getting back on track may not be easiest right after a slip up, but it can prevent so much more damage than you realize. The same goes for workouts. I know so many people who if they miss one or two workouts a week end up calling the week a wash and vow to start “fresh” next week. Missing two out of four workouts in a week is way better than 100 percent of your workouts in a week. Forgive yourself and just get back at it. Little slip ups are so much easier to reverse, and they don’t tend to hinder your long-term progress if they’re the exception to the rule.
I chose this topic this week, because the holidays are in full swing. (My office holiday party was today!) Sweets and all types of treats are everywhere – at least in my life. I’ve found that the best way to enjoy the holidays without wiping out all of my gains/progress is to allow myself some treats here and there but to also hold myself accountable for my workouts and healthy meals.
Here are a couple of tricks to keep the holiday weight from creeping on:
1. Make a totally reachable exercise goal for the season. If you usually hit the gym four times a week, promise you’ll get at least two workouts in. If you’re traveling, you can still get a body weight workout in or a speed walk in the neighborhood. Plus, it’ll help you digest all the yummy stuff Aunt Betty made.
2. For office holiday parties, bring your lunch and eat it first! If you’re comfortably full, then you’ll be less likely to splurge on all the carbs and candy people inevitably bring. And don’t drink sugary soda (why do people always bring fat Coke?).
3. Bring fruit or something else that’s healthy to whatever gathering you’re going to. If you know you have a healthy option, then you won’t have to fill up on mac and cheese (only).
It’s easy this time of year to say you’ll just start after new year’s, but I’ve found that the people who stay happily fit all year long are the ones who, yes, enjoy the season in all of its deliciousness but also hit the gym and fresh produce aisle in between. There’s a way to enjoy it all and not look like the Michelin man come January 1. It just takes a little mental dedication. You’ve got this.