I’m the Grand Marshal of the Holiday Hangover Parade. You know the one. Sigh. It’s the one where you roll out the door bloated, exhausted and broke on January 2nd. You don’t mean to let it get out of control. You’re really only going to eat one more cookie. Or buy one more gift. Or have one more glass of bubbly. Then suddenly, there you are, pants snug, eyes bleary, conscience guilty – vowing to make a change, real change.
While I have learned (to a degree) to curtail excesses at the holidays, I still love to eat, drink and be merry. And even if I am fairly controlled at each function I attend, the string of events adds up. The week leading up to Christmas, I had a church dinner for staff and board members, a worker appreciation dinner at church, a holiday dinner with colleagues, Christmas Eve goodies at my mom’s, and then hosted Christmas breakfast AND dinner. That’s a lot of time away from home, a lot of calories, and frankly, a lot of socializing. I’m a social person, but I am also a homebody. By the end of a week like that, I am grateful for the fun and festivity but definitely ready for some downtime at home.
So how do we recover gracefully from all of this? I have some ideas I plan to implement this year because this REALLY needs to be the year I get myself healthy and fit. After a year of being sidelined from running due to a serious combination of back issues, I have become more that I ever hoped to be. Really, like 7 pounds more.
- DETOX – DON’T DIET: On January 2nd, it was time to get myself organized and eat more healthfully. Christmastime and rich foods are inextricably intertwined. They are usually full of bad fat and sugar, but they taste so daggone good. My first step this weekend will be to do some meal prepping. My sister and I have done this before, using the BakingMadGymAddict’s meal prep videos. She has a Pinterest profile also. Instead of trying to be on a diet, bulk up on fruits and veggies, complimenting them with lean meats and whole grains. I plan to “eat clean” MOST of the time. This will reset my body and help squash my cravings. I will not deprive myself of a treat here and there, but will “eat clean” as much as possible. Whatever you choose must work for you. Maybe you have other ideas. Perhaps you have different areas of need, but I need to ditch the excessive refined sugars and carbs, having them only sparingly.
- GET TO STEPPIN’ – The celebration with friends and family can cut into your time for the gym or other physical activity. I have been off the rails in this area due to my back injury (and my lack of routine). I plan to schedule in exercise on my calendar for January because now that the majority of social events and celebrations will be done, there should be more time and fewer excuses. My hope is to shed some pounds and get back to doing some short runs by late spring. I will be walking, doing yoga and going to the gym for the elliptical machine and stationary bike in the meantime.
- SCHEDULE DOWNTIME – Most of us are busy on a regular basis, without the bustle of holiday commitments. You may have headed back to work after the holidays feeling as though you didn’t have any relaxation at all. Resolve to let there be some downtime for family fun and rest. See my post on 5 Truths about Creating Margin for ways to make your day-to-day life less hectic. Be sure to allow margin in your calendar by not overscheduling your weekends and evenings. It’s not easy, therefore it must be intentional. You can’t just wish to be less busy. You have to plan for it.
- PINCH PENNIES – Hopefully you didn’t have to charge Christmas gifts. I used to. However, in recent years, we have decided to buy less in order to avoid this. We have found the kids don’t seem to mind getting fewer things that are carefully chosen. Either way, I plan to start a little Christmas Club this year so that we aren’t scrambling for cash at holiday shopping season to buy gifts. I absolutely won’t resort to putting ourselves into plastic prison for any longer than we already are. Perhaps picking up a few things throughout the year and socking away a little money will help me continue to give gifts without breaking the bank. Less is more anyway. You can read more about that notion here.
- FOCUS ON PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION – So you shoved some straggler cookies down your gullet after a long and stressful day? So what? Own it and move on. Didn’t get out to walk because you didn’t plan your time well? It’s okay. Just be more mindful next time. Moving forward, improving little by little is key. And that’s totally okay. Try to make your successful choices and actions outnumber your unsuccessful ones and that will be good enough. You’re probably juggling a lot and trying to hold everything together, so it isn’t the end of the world to slip up once in a while. Really it isn’t. Going into the New Year focused on moving forward and improving yourself one step at a time is the surest way to find success.
Happy 2017 to everyone. May your transition into the flow of this new year be one that fills you with purpose and motivates you to be the best version of yourself yet. Blessings as you begin the journey.