Earlier this Sunday evening, my friend Myra snap-chatted a picture of a glass of wine with the caption, “because I can.” Normally, I would respond back with a thumbs up, a hashtag jealous comment, or my own glass in hand. Today, I messaged back, “I couldn’t fit into my jeans this morning.”
First of all, I am NOT going to apologize for the fun that I had these past two weeks. Between December 20th and just yesterday, I’ve been out of town, away from the gym, and surrounded by fun, family, friends, and FOOD for two solid weeks. I have had a fantastic vacation. I have celebrated holidays, weddings, birthdays, and just great people in general. But I have eaten a lot of things I normally wouldn’t, missed workouts, and my body doesn’t like it. I’m not sure I’ll ever find out why my body gains as abnormally fast as it does, but I really can’t complain–I’m the one to blame! One day, I had both french fries AND mac-n-cheese, in the SAME day! I haven’t had either of these two in YEARS! So I really can’t complain too much. I get it. I did it.
But, when I responded back to Myra about my pants not fitting, she asked how I was going to get back on track because she found it hard after Thanksgiving to pick up the healthy eating again.
The question stumped me–to be honest with you. I never let myself believe that I wouldn’t get back on track. In fact, being “on track” is my normal. Mac-n-cheese is not. Cottage cheese, ground turkey (which is on my counter thawing right now) and bags and bags and bags of frozen veggies in my freezer is what’s “normal.”
When Myra suggested that I write a post on getting back on track after the holidays, I thought about it while I was perusing the aisles at Costco today. Everyone makes resolutions to eat healthy and give up sweets when January rolls around. Even though I think that eating healthy and avoiding sugar is the key for optimal health and a longer life, even I know that it’s pretty darned impossible to stick to strict dieting resolutions–especially after a month long of holiday parties and celebrations. We’re all human and not many people have insane will power. And many who do eventually give in to binging if they hold off long enough. And though I’m beyond eager to get back in the gym, rip into a bag of spinach, and shed a few pounds to make my 2015 body the best it has ever been, I also know that stepping away from all the candies, cookies, cakes, bries, fondues, pastas, breads, and wines will be tough. (Wait, did I say wine? Scratch that.) 😉
If you’re finding that it’s hard to walk away from the goodies and get yourself “on track” in this new year, here’s what I would say.
- Start limiting your *bad foods slowly. Maybe ease up on breads and pastas a bit but have a small piece of leftover dark chocolate that you’ve got hanging around somewhere. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean you HAVE to throw out every bad food item in your house. Make small changes each day and work towards a bigger picture–more whole foods by the end of the month. (*I starred the word “bad” because I really hate labeling foods as “good and bad.” I know, I know, spinach and chicken are really “good” for you and pop-tarts and cheesecake are not necessarily the healthiest choices one can make–especially when trying to lose weight or whatever your goals may be. But I, and many of us here at Strong Figure, believe there is a time and place for all foods and I really don’t like food restriction as it leads to bad habits. So even if I label a food good or bad, just know that I believe there’s a time for ALL foods. Ok, rant over.)
- Drink a ton of water. You’re probably bloated from a lot of sodium and your muscles are probably FULL of glycogen from all the extra carbs. Hit the gym–your muscles are ready! And then stay hydrated.
- Start making your meals smaller and cut back on second servings. Make sure you eat a fibrous veggie with every meal. Ideally, eat protein and veggies with every meal.
- If you think you’re craving bread or chocolate, think about what your body might really need. Sometimes when I cut carbs I actually crave more fats. So keep some almonds, avocado, or coconut oil handy! A very little bit will go a long way and will help keep you feeling satisfied.
- Can you turn your leftovers into something healthy? Maybe you have chicken or turkey left over that you could turn into a chicken salad? Turkey and veggies wrapped in lettuce for lunch? Ham? What about ham and pickle rollups to snack on?
- Speaking of snacks, ditch the crackers and chips and replace those with carrots, pepper slices, raw broccoli and cauliflower, snap peas, hard boiled egg slices, celery–anything you munch on or dip into some hummus.
- If you’ve been eating a lot of sweets, you may get headaches if you cut them out cold turkey. The BEST time to eat your sweets or your carbs, is after your workout. Have some protein and a candy cane after your lift session and the carbs in the candy cane will actually help transport the protein to your muscles for optimal rebuilding.
- Keep your favorite vice. I am going to be eating MUCH better in January than I was in December–no doubt about it. But I love wine. I freaking LOVE red wine. Cabernet especially, if you have some you’d love to send my way. 😉 So I will hit the gym hard, eat my spinach, load up on protein, and if I feel like it, I’ll sit down at night to my kindle and a glass of wine. I feel much more sane this way and I’m less likely to binge on sweets at midnight.
- Did you cook or bake over the holidays? I LOVE cooking meals and baking for people. I can do the same thing in January by searching Pinterest for healthy crock-pot meals, one-dish meals, high-protein meals, low-carb meals, and so many more. Pinterest freaking ROCKS and I get so excited when I find a new recipe that I want to try. In fact, I made a traditional New Year’s Day meal for Erik’s family because I found an awesome recipe for “Hoppin’ Johns” on Pinterest. It was great and I had so much fun cooking! And the recipe was pretty healthy too–that in itself is fun and inspiring! (PS–this is my Pinterest account.)
I have big goals this year, and if you haven’t read my “resolutions” post, make sure you catch why I’m NOT making a traditional resolution, but giving myself and others more pride, time, and focus. And while I know that I might not have eaten a lot of “good” foods on my break, I had so much fun and I am more eager than I’ve ever been to get back to the gym and cook my ground turkey waiting on my counter.
I really do believe that “getting on track” isn’t a depressing mindset that we have to force upon ourselves; I think it should feel like “getting back to normal.” I can’t wait get back to normal…I have a GREAT year ahead of me.
Your Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts for the WEEK:
(Don’t forget, with the new changes coming to Strong Figure, I’m sending all three of your workouts out every Monday now.)
Workout One, for time:
- 50 Squats
- 50 Push-ups
- 50 Hollow Rocks
- 50 Lunges
- 50 Burpees
Workout Two, 3 Rounds for time:
- 400 Meter Run
- 50 Shoulder Taps
- 25 Sit-ups
Workout Three, 5 Rounds for time:
- 25 Kettlebell Swings (or goblet squats, or air squats if you don’t have weights)
- 20 Wall Balls (or squat thrusters, or lunges)
- 15 Burpees to target (jump to something about six inches higher than your standing reach)
- 10 Side-to-Side push-ups (walk your hands to the right and do a push-up, then over to your left to do a push-up. That’s two total reps.)
If you’re looking for more than three interval workouts, now is a GREAT time to add 2-3 days of strength training to your plan. Many gyms have fantastic membership deals right now and some gyms even offer a few free training sessions to get you started with the weights. (Not to mention you can ask me or our other Strong Figures any time about weight lifting if you have questions.)
Don’t forget, we’re all in this together. We’ve all got holiday calories to burn, healthy habits to reawaken, and hopefully we’ve all got each other to keep us motivated! Don’t let January stress you out. Enjoy all the good things you have, have fun at the gym, do what makes you happy, and find the pride you have within yourself. Happy 2015!