With the Christmas season fast approaching, it’s easy to fall off the health wagon and dive into a towering pile of mince pies. And whilst it’s important to treat ourselves and join in the festive cheer, we also want to make sure that we stay true to our fitness commitments because, after all, being healthy is a lifestyle – not a temporary diet.
Whether it’s that you’re trying to slim down, build muscle or simply be healthier, here are 5 super simple yet effective ways to stay on track through the holidays:
1. Get on Instagram and Pinterest
Follow fitness pages and health coaches who inspire you – an image can express a thousand words and can motivate you in just a second.
Create an entire fitness inspiration board on Pinterest filled with healthy recipes, workout ideas and individuals who motivate you.
2. Keep a record of your workouts and how they made you feel
When we go to the gym we leave feeling a hundred times better about life. It’s also easier to stick to healthier foods when you work out regularly – the last thing you want to do after a killer leg session is to sabotage all that hard work with a bottle of wine!
The trouble is, it’s hard to remember all of this first thing in the morning or after a long grueling shift at work.
So, instead of just recording your workouts, write down how they made you feel. Did you feel sore but happy? Did you get a rush of endorphins after your cardio?
Every time you don’t feel like going to your class or going for a jog, read your notes and get inspired.
3. Don’t just record your calories, start noting how different foods make you feel
People focus on calories and macros, but that’s not always what’s so important. There’s no point in going on a diet that makes you feel gassy, bloated and hungry – the point is to be happy and healthy.
Record how you feel both before and after your meal so you can see how different foods affect you. What satisfies your hunger? Do certain foods give you heartburn? Did you feel good after eating that entire box of doughnuts or were you hungry ten minutes later? When you had your cheat meal did you savour it and enjoy it, or did it trigger a whole host of cravings?
The minute you start eating mindfully, you can tailor your diet to your needs and consume the foods that make you feel amazing. Not only that, but every time you feel like binging or drinking a barrel of beer, take a look at your food diary and see exactly how bad it made you feel before.
4. Stop focusing on the scales – take measurements and/or progress photos
Scales are not an accurate measurement of health. When I first started lifting weights, I lost an inch from my hips and yet the scales stayed exactly the same. This is because muscle weighs more than fat. Not only that, but your weight can fluctuate for a whole host of reasons, so you might be 10 stone in the afternoon but 10.2 stone by bed time. I also find that it can be easy to become a little obsessive with weighing yourself every day.
Taking progress pictures in the same clothes every week or taking measurements can be more rewarding way of tracking your progress.
5. Surround yourself as much as you can with like-minded people
It’s really hard to stay on track when the people around you either don’t support you or simply don’t get it. Getting your closest family, friends and loved ones on board can help your progress enormously.
I have found it really hard to find people who understand why I enjoy lifting weights and why making progress is important to me. Some people have been downright dismissive, telling me that I will get too big and lose my boobs (which is complete rubbish), others have shrugged their shoulders with indifference, and then there have been those who don’t understand why I would want to eat healthy when I’m not overweight and take my lifestyle as a personal insult (“If you think you’re unhealthy, what does that make me?”)
Try offering to cook a healthy meal or invite your girlfriends along to a fitness class.
If that doesn’t work and you still don’t feel like you have a cheerleading squad onside, follow fitness blogs and join fitness forums such as MyFitnessPal.
Good luck with your goals and I hope this post helps!