December is a scary month for most of us, we’re spending a lot of money, anyone and everyone is bringing you baked goods or candy canes, egg nog is being funnelled into your mouth and you just can’t seem to say no. Suddenly it’s New Years Eve and your favourite pants don’t fit, you have an acne outbreak and your energy levels are at an all time low. This time of year, it is so easy to get off track and stay off track. Most people will just say, “fuck it” all December long and then make a new years resolution to get in the best shape of their life. I personally believe that new years resolutions are bullshit, but that’s a topic for another time. During a weight loss or fitness journey, it’s the hard times that make you the most successful in the long run. Why? Because when you go through tough months like December and you learn to navigate it with ease, you’re more likely to maintain your health and your goals long term. I touched on this topic a month ago and I’m discussing it again because I believe that it is extremely important.
The first step to getting back on track is to understand the effect that food, particularly sugar has on our bodies. Sugar is often compared to a drug because of its addictive properties. When you consume sugar it essentially gives you a “high” because it triggers the part of the brain responsible for pleasure. Your body wants another “high” and will crave more sugar. Just like with drugs, it is easy to build up a tolerance to sugar and to get the same “high” you need to consume more of it. If you’re aware of this side effect and are able to identify it, it becomes much easier to control. When you indulge in your favourite festive treats just be aware that the next day you may feel a massive sugar craving. Be prepared for that sugar craving and combat it with lots of water and whole foods.
Don’t feel like you have to eat something if you truly do not want it or you’re not enjoying it. It may sound stupid, but have you ever bitten into something that you thought was going to be delicious but it turned out to be mediocre at best? Yeah, we’ve all been there and it’s ok to not finish it. If something doesn’t bring you joy then ditch it and that goes for anything in your life.
It’s ok to get off track, it may sound weird coming from a personal trainer, but you have to enjoy your life and you have to keep your sanity and if you want a cookie then eat the damn cookie. And if you eat the cookie, don’t punish yourself by doing an hour on the stair master or doing burpees until you puke. When you stop punishing yourself for eating, that’s when your life truly begins.
Sometimes we can predict when we may indulge like when we have a planned family dinner or a work Christmas party. With these planned indulgences I make sure I drink a lot of water, like way more than usual. I also make sure to eat whole foods the day before and the day after, I don’t do this to punish myself but to be prepared for the raging sugar cravings that are bound to happen.
Make your health a priority, remember to make time for yourself, it’s not selfish. When you stop making your health a priority, you’re more likely to become sick (fun fact: working out and eating whole foods boosts the immune system) and you’re more likely to make a downward spiral out of control. If you find it hard to make it to the gym, then try and make sure that your food is on point, and if you are finding it hard to resist all the deliciousness then make sure you’re making the gym a priority at least 3 times a week.
Lastly, just enjoy yourself. Don’t stress if you over eat or miss a workout, you’re not perfect and just remember that even Beyonce makes mistakes sometimes.