Here’s my Christmas present to you! Your bonus present is that it isn’t too long (ah wink wink)
We all have a kryptonite. And if you’re anything like me, your kryptonite is sugar. Oh man, the sweeter it is the better it tastes and the worse it is for my resolve. So that’s why I am sharing some of the things I have used, and will continue to use, throughout the holiday season.
This is the time to start getting in shape for summer (though I’m still not sure why that’s a motivator for people. I mean I’m going to wear my pajamas to the grocery store whether it’s summer or winter. The beach you say? Girl did you check your weather app today, I ain’t going to the beach in no ninety-degree weather anyways.), not the day before summer actually begins.
“Okay but my aunt is literally holding a plate of cookies in front of my face right now. So what am I supposed to say to her?”
You have my permission to smack them out of her hands. You could even yell “Sabotager!” if you wanted. Break her sixty-year-old heart. (You could also politely, but firmly, decline them but I just don’t think that’s dramatic enough.)
In all seriousness, here’s where I’m going to get a little tough with you:
Whatever you decide is entirely on you. You’ve already decided to lose ten pounds, but you’re having that formerly mentioned fourth piece of pie. And this is a regular thing for you. You say: “No more!” But you’re never quite able to make it past day three of no more. (Or minute three, but who’s counting? Not me and my stopwatch, that’s for sure.)
It’s now time to look in the mirror and own up to the fact that it’s not your aunt’s fault for offering, it’s not the cookies’ fault, it’s not the factory that makes the cookies/ingredients’ fault. A little deeper now: it’s not your family’s fault for eating unhealthy foods when you were growing up; it’s not your spouse’s fault for you eating the takeout they brought home; it’s nobody else’s fault for your huge plate of seconds. Your failures are nobody’s fault but your own. You have to be strong enough to say no. You have to be strong enough to know when enough is enough. You have to be strong enough to get yourself to the gym. You have to be strong enough to value yourself and your health above all else.
It’s not easy. Starting from knowing nothing and trying to do a one-eighty all of a sudden is hard. It’s brave, and something to be admired, but it’s going to be hard.
But you’ve started and you’re far too deep into my article to turn around now! So below I’ve shared some things that help me during the goodie-filled holidays.
Don’t give me that, “Well I’m never quite sure that I’m done until it’s too late blah blah blah.” You know when you’re done eating. You know when you’ve had two too many extra spoonfuls of potatoes. You know what’s up.
Think before you consume. Are you actually hungry? Have you had anything to drink besides cokes or eggnog? Have you had water in the past year?
A way I like to look at it is: I do not need this extra _____ because my body physically does not need it. I’ve already had my allotment of carbs and if I eat this extra whatever, it will literally turn into fat because my body already has all of the carbs it can currently handle.
Actually eat breakfast!
I get it, I really do. I used to think that I would save calories and lose more weight if I skipped breakfast, but that more than often doesn’t turn out to be true. I have seen better results with weight loss (and muscle gain) when I eat it. Because I am not absolutely starving by the time lunch rolls around (Because you know your aunt did not put that ham in last night, so it would be ready by lunch. No, she put it in this morning, so we would starve to death before then.)
Track your macros/calories
Again, don’t give me this: “Oh it’s too hard, I don’t know how blah blah.” Learn. Buy a food scale the same way I did and learn. Because if you’re not willing to do something as simple as that, then you don’t want this badly enough. And if you don’t want this badly enough you will not succeed.
Maybe I’m old school (comparatively to today with all of the articles and people coming out of the woodwork saying you don’t need to do that any longer to see results), but I like to stick to what I know works. If you eat intuitively, or whatever you’re into, fine, do it. Whether your goal is to gain weight or lose it, stick to it and make it work for you, no excuses.
If you want to learn how to do what I mentioned above, you’re in luck baby, because an in-depth, only slightly kooky, Olivia-certified article is on its way to your computer/phone very soon. (And if you’re one of my avid readers you know that could literally mean anytime. Do I mean a month? Do I mean tomorrow? I don’t know, I never know. I just go when and where the typey typey takes me.) Aren’t you so very lucky? Merry Christmas.
If you drink, limit what you consume.
In one gram of alcohol there are seven calories. As much as we all daydream about being hammered this time of year (I don’t drink myself, but I could relate to that feeling of needing to mentally escape while taking the one-thousandth photo of the hour), perhaps with family coming in and all the stress of the holidays, sometimes we want to leave while remaining in our seats. But be careful if you’re drinking this holiday, not only for your physical safety, but for your diet’s safety. Again, remember one gram of alcohol contains seven calories.
Eat some fiber
There’s nothing worse than being backed up, whether on the road or in the bathroom. Try reaching for some fruit instead of cake or look for something whole grain. People often overlook the importance of fiber, but when you didn’t get enough of it you will come to learn of its importance. Trust me.
Again, the stress of it all can really take it out of you and make it feel like the eight hours you got the night before mean nothing barely two hours into the day. But the gym could be the perfect excuse to get out of the house. Maybe you actually want to invite everyone including your great aunts to the gym. Whatever you decide, it’s your holiday. Just do something that keeps you moving. Play twister with your grandmas, I don’t really know. Just don’t sit down all day. Whatever you decide to do, make it a plan—an appointment on the calendar that you’re not going to miss. You are your most important asset, so do not neglect yourself.
Chew some gum
Recently, I bought a pack of Tic Tacs thinking they were, well, Tic Tacs. They were the gum version. I was disappointed. But that’s not the point; I just wanted you to feel my pain.
Angelica Teixeira, the Mrs. Bikini Olympia winner two years in a row (which is nothing to turn your nose up to. Those girls are out there killing it every day. It’s an amazing and honorable title, and one I hope to win myself one day) swears by this. Gum can help a lot with sugar cravings. Or if you’re like me it’s a gateway drug, but I’ve heard that this can work for normal people.
Remember why you’re really there in the first place
To get presents—I mean to see your family. You don’t travel hundreds of miles (or in my case two houses down, which really is far enough for me) to see a green bean casserole that you could buy from the grocery store (it probably is from the grocery store if I brought it). No, you probably came to see your family (I don’t know, maybe you did come for the casserole). So, remember to be present in every moment and truly enjoy the time you have been blessed to have with your loved ones.
Or, if you’re rocking Christmas alone this year, be present with yourself. (First of all, how did you pull that off? No, I’m being serious; how did you do it?) Don’t just binge in front of the TV. Give yourself presents. You know what you really want! Treat yourself to something you’ve always really wanted to do. Take yourself on that date! Go to the gym. Put your own health first!
Remember you don’t have to eat something just because it’s there
If there’s one thing I absolutely hate, it’s the finish everything on your plate rule. I get it can be a good-one-time-only learning situation for your child if they took half of the food at the potluck that one time. But you should know that you do not need to eat everything on your plate, despite what your ancient relative says. You also do not need to eat something simply because it is there and available. Just because Mom only makes these cookies at Christmas and funerals doesn’t mean you need to eat them mindlessly or get in a panic of, “I don’t know who or when someone is going to die next, Christmas is 365 days away, and who knows if I’m gonna make it to another New Years.” Another good thing to think about is, do you even like that one food? If you don’t like it, and I mean actually really enjoy it, skip it!
Try filling up your plate strategically
Nobody likes a line skipper backer. Which is why you scope out the dishes in the kitchen beforehand (which is also when I taste the foods to see if I like them). But decide what’s healthiest beforehand, aka what you will eat the most of. This is usually your meats and your vegetable dishes not swimming in butter. Then you can move onto other foods, aka the foods that have been dipped into a river of butter, and your feedbags of sugar. This way, by the time you reach those pies and that cheese-based soup you won’t feel like having all of it. (You’ll just feel like having most of it.)
Indulge, but only a little
The argument that Christmas only comes once a year is pretty solid. It is supposed to be a joyous time filled with happiness, family, and all that good cheer. Not a time filled with you eyeing the dessert table from across the room, waiting for your last relative to pass out in front of the TV, and then attacking it when it’s safe. That, my friends, leads you down a very dark path. And not a fun dark path.
So yeah have some pie, maaaayyybbeee not three cookies too, but enjoy what you get. Savor each bite of it; really focus on it and how it makes you feel physically and mentally. Propose to it (but only if you feel like the two of you will really make it). My point is: don’t just eat something. Get the craving out of your system and move on.
My husband and I both subscribe to this: It’s always going to be an office party. Think about how many people you know and how many of their life celebrations you attend. There’s like a holiday we’re supposed to celebrate every single day now, and like ninety-percent of them involve food. How many birthdays you are forced to pretend to care about, but really only go for the food. All of that’s fine and great. Go and support them but remember it’s not your birthday. It’s not a major holiday. You aren’t having triplets. It’s not your fourth wedding. What we like to say is our special cut-loose food occasions are on our birthday and Christmas (and Thanksgiving, but that’s not quite as catchy). He and I really only cut loose ourselves on those days. Sure, I mess up and eat almost an entire bag of Angie’s holiday popcorn here and there (Hey, I’m only human. You didn’t think there was an advanced enough robot out there that could be this crazy, did you?), but for the most part this train of thinking keeps me pretty much on track. Find what works for you, motto or action, and stick with it.
If you do mess up forgive yourself
Again, you’re only human and I’m mostly only human too. Sometimes we mess up, and we need to let it go before our guilt begets more unhealthy behaviors and we spiral hard. It’s only when that occasional treat becomes an everyday thing that it really becomes a problem, and something that can become an unhealthy behavior in and of itself. And do not ever forget that ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean ‘skinny’ anymore. You are worth so much more than a number on a scale, or the size of your pants. But being your own definition of “healthy” should be an absolute priority of yours. Please, please, do not neglect yourself this holiday season.
So, you are allowed to have a cinnamon roll for breakfast, and a cookie for dessert later on. You’re allowed to participate in family traditions. You’re allowed to cut loose every now and then. You’re allowed to live your life! I’m not your warden! Trust me, it wouldn’t be fun for either of us… or would it? Look, my point is: be a smart consumer. Have a good balance of everything and know exactly what it is that you’re putting into your body. Every day you inspire me to work hard and be better. Let’s work hard together this week. You can do this. I believe in you!
Before you go, I only have one challenge for you this week, in the spirit of keeping it almost-short and sweet: It’s easy to forget about others during this time of year. In the midst of wrapping paper flying everywhere and ignoring every single word I’ve said (No hard feelings. Okay some hard feelings.), we can get caught up in the moment and things can easily slip our minds. But this year if you have a moment, I would love it if you would, at the very least, glance at https://www.marysmealsusa.org/?pl=US#
Only twenty dollars can feed a child in many different locations around the world for the whole year. Think about it, you could change this child’s entire world, become their hero by sharing what we spend on average for lunch. There are no extra strings, no gimmicks, nothing. Just you making the world a little brighter for a child who desperately needs it.
Like always, I hope you have a strong and amazing week, and a very Merry Christmas. Never forget if you need me, I would be more than willing, and extremely happy, to help you with whatever questions about health, fitness, or personal training you may have!
Get a more in-depth look (and thusly slightly creepier) into my everyday life on my Instagram by following me: @oliviajeanfitness