By: Dr. Jonathan Tait – 11/22/16
Did you make a conscious decision at any point this year to pay more attention to you?
Did you begin exercising, eating healthier, or just start paying more attention to what you need, rather than the needs of others?
If you did I want to congratulate you on your selfishness.
Too many people that walk into my exam room each day aren’t selfish enough. From the minute their feet hit the floor in the morning, until they collapse into bed at night, they go like mad doing things for others. The list can be extensive – the kids, pets, bosses, companies, charities, meetings, and even the guy standing on the median on the way home.
Wait a second, you say, “There’s nothing wrong with that. I have responsibilities. People depend on me”.
Right you are, but nobody depends on you more than, well, you.
If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Have you heard that before?
So let’s get selfish about your health, and do it well before you promise yourself again to start anew this January 1st.
The first big holiday is upon us in a couple of days, and it can be a challenge to stick to, or start, healthy habits during this time of the year. With holiday parties and endless spreads of tempting foods and drinks spanning the next couple of months, your discipline will be tested. Throw in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that can make it tough to maintain any exercise.
I want you to approach this holiday season with a different goal
Your Goal: Maintain Don’t Gain
I want you to enjoy the holidays, not be miserable from self deprivation. This means that you will allow yourself occasional treats and splurges, with the goal to keep the scale where it is rather than trying to actually decrease your weight. However, if you’re really dedicated and consistent with the steps I outline you will most likely lose weight, and feel great while enjoying the holidays.
Holiday Success Strategy:
- Find 30 minutes daily to get sweaty. I don’t care how you do it, but do not skip your workouts. Even moderate intensity workouts can burn 300-400 calories per hour, and more importantly create an “after-burn”, keeping your metabolism higher. This will help you manage the extra calories you may have at a party or two.
- Do not skip breakfast. Fun fact – people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.
- Track what you eat. It is a proven fact that keeping a food journal results in better weight control than not keeping one.
- Don’t go to a party hungry, or worse hangry (hungry and angry). If you show up to a party starving, you will most certainly overeat. If you show up hungry or hangry, you may likely overeat and over-imbibe with the adult beverages. Drink water and have some form of protein or health fats before arriving to curb the hunger pangs, and make every attempt to leave the drama at the door.
- Check in with yourself. I’m not a big fan of watching the scale, but if you check in once or twice per week and you see your weight start to creep, you can immediately take steps to correct it. Back off the calories for a day or two, drink more water and add in a little more exercise.
- Watch your portion sizes. Take a look at a chart to familiarize yourself with portion sizes, compare to your hand, whatever works for you to better assess just how many calories are being loaded, and unloaded, from that plate.
- Give away the leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge. A bite here or there will build the holiday bulge over several weeks. Don’t leave them sitting around. Freeze them, toss them, or give them away to the guy down on his luck in the median. It’s not worth the temptation!
- Channel your inner motivational speaker. Every day, speak to yourself from the future—say, from January 1. Thank yourself for doing the tough work of self-discipline during these holiday weeks to be feeling great on the first day of a brand new year.
- Go public or partner up for success. Share your goals with a friend or co-worker, post it on Facebook, and keep each other accountable. That may give you the extra will power when the cheesecake and fudge starts showing up at the office!
I don’t want you to “survive” the holidays, but thrive and enjoy this time of the year with your family and friends.
So be a little selfish, stay on target with your health goals, and leap forward into the new year in a couple of months feeling amazing.