The holidays can be a slippery slope and not just because of Christmas and New Years. This is just two days in a month. But for most us it means multiple parties. Work party, spouse’s work party, gym party, girls night out, hockey team get together. You name it, before you know it your calendar is filled for the month.
It’s easy for December to derail your progress and even set you back. How can we turn this around?
Hint hint. Plan ahead.
Pick the events to attend that are the most meaningful to you where you want to enjoy the experience and not worry about your diet. For all the others, have a plan set ahead of time.
Rest of the month set a minimum effective dose. What I mean here is December is not the time to take it up a notch and go all-in. But maybe if you pair it down to the essentials for you to feel good come January 2019 it will be easier to uphold and succeed, and if you do find yourself with more time and energy you can always do a little more! #winwin You can maintain a healthy lifestyle even when you are not tracking.
Here are my non-negotiable for December:
- 10,000 Daily steps
- 3 litres of water
- 8 or more servings of fruits + vegetables daily
- 7+ hours of sleep
- Keep up with my gym routine
- Keep meals out to under 4 or less weekly
Maybe you need to go the gym 3 times a week, maybe you set a drink # to uphold. Or you set the goal to be in bed by a certain time. Maybe it starts with breakfast daily. For many I find if you eat the right breakfast the rest falls into place. 30g of protein or more daily in your breakfast. How about a lunch time walk for 15 minutes?
For me I chose these things because I know from experience if I am focusing on these things, I can enjoy the festivities and still feel like myself.
It comes down to staying healthy for me. I need sleep and movement to feel good, and if I keep to my gym routine I feel great. I may spend a little less time in the gym and cut down volume because life is busy but I still schedule it into my day, on most days. I also need to hydrate and eat enough produce to feel healthy and regular. Otherwise I find myself sluggish and bloated and no one likes that. In colder months I need more reminders to stay hydrated.
I am not a drinker so I don’t set a lot of rules around my alcohol intake, but I do have a serious sweet tooth and I know I will be eating my way through my mother in law’s Christmas baking for sure. I am not passing up on these. But setting these ground rules and focusing on what I want to include instead of exclude is going to be more successful and realistic for me in December.
The concept of setting a minimum effective dose was introduced to me by Precision Nutrition and it always stuck with me. What is the least amount I need to do to feel successful. If you can do that in the hardest time you will be set for success long terms. Because life will inevitably throw curve balls at you and in those times falling back on your non-negotiable helps.
When life gets easier on you have more energy you can be more ambitious and do a little more, but you know you always have your minimum effective dose to fall back on when needed.
Outside of the holidays this is a concept I focus on year round.
- 10,000 steps a day. My energy is directly related to the amount of movement I get in a day.
- Electronics off by 8pm. Protects my sleep and forces me to disconnect.
- In bed by 10pm.
I am pretty good at hitting my macros and going to the gym so I don’t need to set these as a goal anymore but the reason I am good at this is because I know these things are my minimum effective dose to keep going. When I fall short on sleep, or stress is creeping up too high, my phone is in my hands too much, I tend to fall off the rest of my good daily habits including feeding myself well and going to the gym.
Working with our coaches we can help you find your own minimum effective dose and build the daily habits to support your end goals. Your effort have to match your goals. Now who wants to start 2019 feeling great? I know I do.