There’s no time of the year when gluttony is more acceptable than the holiday season. That stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's is a whirlwind full of travel, family that you may or may not want to see, and one long, gigantic meal.
Oh, and alcohol -- lots and lots of alcohol. After all, the only way to properly deal with that relative you love but don’t like is to drink your way into the holiday spirit.
But by the time the new year has rolled around, you might think it's time to get your act together. Still, losing weight is harder than gaining it, so here are four keys to make it a bit easier this January.
Don’t dwell on the past
The last thing you should do is start beating yourself up over what you’ve done in the past. Much easier said than done, right? As much as you can, enjoy the holiday season for the celebration it was, and the people you got to spend it with.
More importantly, understand that falling off the proverbial wagon is completely normal. Everyone fails from time to time.
I personally failed spectacularly for about a three-week stretch this holiday season. But that’s life, and I understand that dwelling on it won’t do me any good in the here and now.
Accept it, understand it, and move on from it.
Make a (realistic) resolution, and follow it up with a plan
As a personal trainer at a large commercial gym, one of the biggest mistakes I see people make over and over is walking into the gym without a plan.
Spend a few days evaluating what you really want to accomplish in 2016, and be honest with yourself. So many people set superficial goals like “lose 10 pounds” without even realizing that what the scale says may not even be their goal.
Once you’ve set a goal, create a plan to follow that goal. If you’re unsure about how to create a plan to help you drop fat, build muscle, or whatever else your goal may be then reach out to a personal trainer and get some professional guidance.
Start piling up little wins
This is my favorite concept to share with my clients when they’re struggling. Chasing goals is a difficult task, because people often focus on the end result and forget about all the tiny steps leading to that point. That's why I like to start getting little wins.
A little win is a small behavior that supports your overall goal; the smaller the win, the better.
It could be as simple as drinking a glass of water when you wake up in the morning, or working out for 20 minutes when you didn’t want to get out of bed. The important thing is that you won. You did something that brings you one small step closer to your goal.
After a few days of little wins, you begin to create some serious momentum. Once you start winning, you don’t want to stop, and those wins become bigger and bigger, ultimately leading to the goal you’ve been chasing all along.
Don’t overcomplicate nutrition and dieting
When it comes to eating, worrying about small things, like when to eat, instead of paying attention to what and how much you eat will distract you from the end result.
Focus on getting whole, nutrient-dense foods as often as you can. What’s a whole, nutrient-dense food? Basically anything that comes from the ground, and lean protein like chicken or seafood.
Drink water at every meal, eat lots of colorful foods, and eat plenty of lean protein at every meal. Stick to those basics and you’ll find that not only will you look better, you'll feel much better too.