The holidays. Winter. Flavor-tastes.
Ah the long and slow decay of workout programs — or more specifically, willpower — as we travel through the darkest months.
As a result of the holiday gorge-fest and all of the snackie-cakes tempting you at work (maybe even at home) it’s inevitable, you’ll probably fatten up a bit this season. And I probably will too!
Everyone’s been there.
It is precisely this holiday weight gain that sustains the evil fitness industry, attempting to capitalize on us wanting to have an *awesome* time. The spice must flow. “They” want us to “get back in shape” after the holidays. But what they are really saying is “nourish our fiendish drive to take your money until bikini season arrives for we must pay tribute to our cruel, bottom-line-ogling, soulless overlords.”
Well, screw the fitness industry!
Their bologna quotient is so well known that it has been a joke forever; everyone floods the gyms for 2 entire weeks. And after those 2 weeks everybody stops going, because they realize that going to a gym sucks.
(ok, unless it’s a really cool gym with exciting people there and sweet equipment to climb on or throw around, but those are much harder to come by)
But my point is, there is a lot of added resistance in having to physically go to the gym to then workout versus being able to exercise at home (i.e. right next to your computer or console will gaming or while otherwise hanging around the house).
And to be fair, we all get busy and caught up in the festivities of the holiday season. As we should!
So it’s easy to push off getting back on track with your training or eating until that magical date of January 1st rolls around.
But fear not! I’ve got your back.
First, if you haven’t already, check out this post featuring the workout program to get you through the holidays:
Kettlebells are an amazing tool for building strength and burning fat with minimal use. It’s never too late to get started on that program and the results will be good regardless of when you begin.
Working out and doing kettlebells (and strength training in general) can help you stay in shape — and in fact become an athlete in the process — so you don’t have to do the whole “get back in shape” thing.
We know all know too well that when it comes to getting and staying lean, 80% of it comes down to Nutrition.
This nutrition advice should help you to survive the food side of things in the days surrounding the holidays without being the worst sort of person: the one that turns down a homemade dessert like some kind of modern health-ninny that an ancient warrior would laugh at.
Below are 7 simple tips to help you feel better and stay lean this holiday season.
Who knows you might even lose a few pounds instead of gaining them!
1. Stay Fed And Say “No” (Almost Always) — And Then Unapologetically And Guiltlessly Say “YES”
If you’re walking around well fed (dare I say with a well-fed bonus?) you’re not actually going to be craving anything. You can enhance the feeling of satiety — read: you ate therefore your stomach shuts the eff up — by eating a greater amount of protein at every meal time.
If you’re like me and you’ve worked in schools or at a hospital (where all employees are fueled by sugar 24/7, especially come the holidays), you’ll know that every day there is a veritable diabeta-feast waiting for you in the break room, oh and someone has also just brought in sweets because it’s Sally’s birthday/last day/she’s having a baby!! YAYOMG!
So answer “no” to all offerings with the caveat that if you actually want it, and you’ve been doing good about 80-90% of the time, then you promise me you’ll say “yes!”
Eat any and all exceptions like a proud, unabashed savage.
Because this is who we DO NOT want to be:
“Here lies Steve. Dude had the perfect diet. Guy sucked.”
Those who have an unhealthy and neurotic relationship with food OBSESS over all of the details and fail/freak out when the *smallest* thing goes wrong.
I know this from past personal experience and also from the many neurotic people I’ve met in the fitness industry. Even though these nutrition perfectionists are 95-99% compliant with everything that is already working for them, something as minute as chewing a single piece of gum with artificial sweetener throws off their whole mindset. (Not even kidding). Oh god! Was it cyanide gum? No? You’re alive? Ok, you’re fine. Phew. Carry on.
Remember, your body is not a scoreboard.
It’s not going to give you a grade the day you kick the bucket and rate your performance your whole life. You’ll have died from something, that’s inevitable. You will, on the other hand, have to live with your mindset and attitude about food your whole life.
Do you want to spend your life caring about a gram of sugar here or dollop of other insignificant nonsense there?
Who told you that you should? Did Steve tell you that perchance? Steve…
Being present with friends and family and having a good time every single day is what kicks ass.
Do a good job but cut loose and have FUN!
2. Make Small Compromises Now, So You Can Enjoy Yourself Fully When It Counts
Like a squirrel hiding nuts before winter (likely in the siding of your house, goddamn jackasses), show off the fact that you too are a time-conscious, goal-directed entity and set aside little things now so that you can reap greater rewards later.
This can look like:
- not drinking soda during the day (quit drinking soda btw, drink water instead) when you know you’re going to drink beer/wine with your relatives later.
- eating the burrito for lunch without the tortilla and maybe keeping some as leftovers (it’s challenging, I empathise), this way you can try every single pie that night and two slices of apple, biaaatch.
And always remember, it is better to skip the little shit mass-produced confections such as Snackie-Cakes-Lite every day of the week and instead have an AMAZING fucking homemade or restaurant quality dessert that weekend or on a holiday proper.
3. Don’t Be An Excuse-Maker Regarding Nutrition
Excuse-Makers allow for anything and everything to be thrown into the nutritional mix because they don’t have a backbone about what their goals are. Examples:
“I ate a salad therefore mmmm ALL THE BROWNIES!”
“I work out, therefore fast food for lunch every day…”
“I’m taking my vitamins, therefore drinking benders multiple times a week WOOO.”
Sure you can earn something now and again, but with the Excuse-Maker it’s every. little. thing. fits into the nutrition plan — and all the time — because of XYZ excuse. This is precisely what will plateau your weight loss goals, or worse, undo the hard work you’ve already done so you have to start all over again. Don’t go down that dark hole (for the only thing you’ll find down there is Shelob waiting for you in your weakened state).
Have a good plan and stick to it MOST of the time — yeah, we’re back to that magic 80-90% compliance.
The bottom line?
You don’t need excuses.
You can indulge just fine a little bit of the time, making sure to enjoy life, while still actively working towards your goals.
4. Take A Greens Supplement To Stave Off Indigestion And Heartburn
Overeating and drinking more than usual can take a toll.
I’ve woken up after a lot of eating and drinking with an acid volcano erupting in my throat. And that’s never what you want — an acid volcano. I recommend having a tablespoon of a greens supplement such as Vitamineral Greens or Athletic Greens in a glass of water first thing after waking up and then an hour or two after you have consumed mass quantities of food/alcohol. Think of it like a magic health potion that instantly alkalizes your body, boosts your energy, and overall makes you just feel better (because your body enjoys vitamins and minerals and real foods).
Making sure there is a counterbalance of green and or multi-colored plant-based vegetation in your meal stacked up against whatever else you’re eating also helps (think mutually assured destruction – like the cold war arms race but on your plate).
Thus ⅓ to ½ of what you eat should be plants.
And taking a greens supplement helps when you aren’t getting in as many veggies as you need to (more about this on the Resources page)
That is how you adequately assure destruction (or the opposite of destruction as it were).
5. Take Fish Oil — And Take It A Few Times A Day
Fish oil helps to fight virtually every disease known to man directly or indirectly by improving your hormone situation (which aids your MOOD and FAT LOSS goals amongst other things).
I recommend taking liquid fish oil because of the better absorption but I know for many of you that doesn’t exactly sound appetizing. If you’re going to go with caps, just be aware that you need to take more than you might expect.
Merely taking a single capsule 2-3 times a day is not enough, so if you do go with caps take 3-5 of them per serving.
A massive piece of wild salmon, for example, blows that serving size out of the water (plays on words always intended, no apologies ever!) so just remember to take plenty.
For liquid fish oil, make a small bowl shape with your tongue and pour the oil directly in there (just don’t filth up the bottle by touching it with your mouth). That’s mother nature’s body-size appropriate measuring spoon. Either that or pour approximately two to three glugs (super scientific, I know) into a smoothie or protein shake. 2 to 3 servings a day that size is excellent, and sustained over the months will truly aid your fitness and health goals.
6. Always Drink Water
Like any good fitness professional I need to tell you that we (you and I both) are never drinking enough water.
So just make whoever — I don’t know, the drought gods? — happy and drink more. Have a water bottle or a glass of water going at all times in the same way that everyone should have a good book going, kept on their nightstand at all times.
Don’t worry about ounces and what not.
Just always have it around. All the time. Next to you.
I carry around this water bottle with me everywhere throughout the day: in the car, at work, at home, next to my night stand, etc.
Make sure you have to refill your container multiple times per day, depending on its size. Let your water drinking habit be natural and you will know by feeling when you have not drunk enough.
This is as opposed to measuring shit out all of the time and having to intellectually comprehend that there has not been enough input. You’ll never know what your body feels like, instead you’ll just know the company of your inner critic harping on you about irrelevant intake numbers all of the time. Only do that if it helps you.
For me, I just pretend that any time I am not adhering to having enough water my blood is slowing down and starting to run thick and sluggishly like molasses. Then, when I drink I envision everything suddenly running smoothly and being cleaned out.
Because many things in my brain have permanent video game references built in, my personal audio/visual reference for this feeling is the cure water spell from Secret of Mana being cast on my insides as I drink… ahh one of the best SNES games ever. Even killing enemies in that game was oddly refreshing!
Anyways, when you drink water you’ll feel good. I guarantee it.
7. Make A Habit Of Eating Well
Sorry, you can’t reload your save file after the holidays (even though being able to load saves would RULE), but you can make sure your character, your will, and your desire to keep getting better are not shaken from their foundations.
Prioritize eating well most of the time.
Please be ready and willing to enjoy life to the fullest, especially while you are with people you care about. Because who knows if you’ll get to spend the next holiday with all of your loved ones? (Seriously).
I want you to enjoy eating, drinking, and being merry to the fullest!
With NO self-criticism or guilt.
As long as you have a goal in the back of your mind about where you want to get, you’ll get through times of great flavor sensations on the winning end. And you always have the HOF community here to support you on your journey.
There you have it! A simple 2-part recipe for fitness success this holiday season.
Basic, effective, and all you need to get started now.
Thanks for reading! Have questions? Leave them in the comments below!
P.S. What food calls to you like the dark lord Sauron? Something you just can’t say no to? For me it’s ice cream 100%. Keep your birthday cake Sally. Put a candle in the ice cream and just hand it over.