November and December are notorious for being to most people, the busiest months out of the year. It’s hard to keep up on household chores, let alone your fitness and health. However, come January we are scrambling to make up for that 2 month lapse and feeling disappointed and bloated. This year why not find ways to stay motivated and accountable during the holidays, so you can start January off feeling great?! Here are a few ideas I came up with:
1. Plan your meals. Meal planning has become quite popular lately, and for good reason: it works! Start with finding twenty minutes on Sunday to plan your lunches & dinners for the week. After that, it’s easy to write a grocery list for what you need to get you through the week. Sitting down looking at your “week at a glance”, you can also ensure you are getting a variety of proteins, carbs and veggies. It’s a lot easier than trying to plan it out on the fly each morning and searching for whatever you can put together from your fridge/freezer.
2. Meal Prep. After you grocery shop, it’s a great time on Sunday to prepare what you can for the coming week. This includes things like defrosting meat for the next couple of days so you aren’t forgetting the night before. And of course washing & cutting up veggies and fruits. If you take lunches on the go you can pre-package individual portions in ziplock bags. If you like smoothies, save some money and buy fruit, cut it up and freeze on a baking sheet then transfer to a ziplock bag in freezer. Cheaper than buying frozen fruit and usually healthier (some times frozen fruit has added sugars). If you use your crock pot, you put everything you need for each meal in a gallon ziplock bag, that way all you have to do is pour the bag into the crock pot in the morning. Some times I even make a few extra crock pot meals in gallon bags and freeze for future use. Check out Pinterest for some great freezer meal recipes.
3. Schedule your workouts. On Sunday, evaluate your week and pencil in your workouts. If you know Wednesday is your busiest day, you’ll want to workout on Tuesday and maybe take Wednesday off. If you know you’ll be up late on Friday night, maybe take Saturday morning off and instead workout in the afternoon. Knowing your week ahead of time and scheduling your workouts in will help ensure they don’t get missed and hold you accountable. Make it a meeting you can’t miss.
4. Get together with Friends. Who says hanging out with friends always has to involve food; why not go out dancing, volunteer at a shelter or take an art class? And if you have a friend who also likes to be active, schedule a workout together. Chances are you won’t cancel.
Plus, everything is much more fun with a friend, even if you are just
next to each other on the treadmill.
5. Keep it Simple. You don’t need to spend an hour working out. You also don’t need to do a “full” workout if you don’t have 30 minutes. There’s nothing wrong with only squeezing in ten minutes of activity if that is all you have! Ten minutes of ab work one day, ten minutes of cardio the next. Ten minutes of something is better than nothing. And, keep in mind, you can also break up your workouts, do ten minutes in the morning, ten at lunch and ten after dinner=30 minutes! It all adds up.
6. Step on the scale weekly. Don’t avoid the scale this time of year. It doesn’t mean you won’t gain weight, most likely it means you will. Better to hold yourself accountable by stepping on. If you are gaining, you can get control sooner than later and figure out how to fix it before 2 extra pounds turns into 5.
7. Indulge, and Resist. 80/20 Rule. This time of year we all have our favorite foods; things like pumpkin pie and green bean casserole are mine. There is nothing wrong with indulging in both, but that also means that there are some caveats. #1 Indulge, but watch your portions. #2 Indulge in what you truly love, but skip some of the other unhealthy foods that you can live without. If fruit cake is not your thing, why bother? #3 Indulge some days, resist others. You can’t indulge every day in December and not expect to gain weight. To sum it up, 80% of the time you should be eating healthy, the other 20% indulge!
8. Try a new healthy recipe. There’s no reason eating healthy has to be boring! In fact, it’s a great time to find some new recipes your family might like to replace other more indulgent meals. It’s also a great time to find a healthier recipe to bring to an event. No one has to know it’s healthier if it still tastes good. So get in the kitchen and have a little fun!
9. Remember Why. There’s a good reason to stay motivated during the holidays. What is your reason? You want to still fit into those skinny jeans in January? You are tired of starting over? You are tired of feeling yucky and bloated after too much indulging? You want to set a good example for your kids? Think about how you’d feel if you started the new year 5lbs heavier, then think about why that is not something you want to experience and how you will prevent that.
10. Make a New Years Resolution. You don’t need to shoot for the moon, but if you can find a thing or two you’d like to change or improve upon, write it down. Then keep it in mind through out December. Don’t keep your goals at arms length, they need to be in sight. There’s nothing to say you can’t even start working on your “resolution” in December! Want to run a 5K, pick one out and sooner you start training the better. Want to eat more veggies, start buying different kinds now and trying. Think about how great it would be to start January with a head start on your goals?!
Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 boys, David (13) and Aiden (10). Her hobbies include traveling, reading, running, cooking and volunteering at MI Humane Society with the adoptable cats. She also spends her free time serving as PTO President at her son’s elementary school. She enjoys being active and is proud to have completed 4 marathons. She loves to share her passion for health and fitness with others.