So… now that the Thanksgiving indulgence is behind us and the Christmas libations in front of us, it’s quite possible that you’ve just thrown up your hands and said to yourself… “I’ll just start fresh in the New Year! If I’m going to eat one cookie I might as well eat the whole damn sleeve!”

I mean, am I right, or am I right!?

I know! I’ve been there! Heck, I’m there right now… which is why I’m writing this blog! Between last week’s birthday indulgence, last weekend’s holiday party hopping, and the litany  of invites to celebrate the season coming through my inbox over the next few weeks, I’ve had serious thoughts of “waiting until the new year” go through my mind!

But we all know that living into those thoughts just sets us up for huge failure and an even steeper mountain to climb in the new year. So in an effort to talk myself off the ledge of self-sabotage this holiday season, I’m going to outline four areas of focus and provide a few tips and tricks to help us all navigate these next few weeks without making our New Year’s Goals more challenging!

Stress Management

It’s no surprise that the holiday season brings about an immense amount of stress… from navigating the family dynamics, to deciding which parties to attend, to making sure to pick out that special gift for your loved ones… the stress is real! Stress, if not handled properly, can reek total havoc on your health. Here are a few tips to help you manage one of the top health issues through the holidays.

Gratitude: It’s so easy to lose site of the true meaning of the season. We can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget to spend time reflecting on why we are even celebrating the holidays! When you find yourself overwhelmed by all that needs to get done, take a moment and pause. Remind yourself of what is the meaning for the celebration and live into a moment of gratitude. When you begin to live life in gratitude, the weight of stress begins to lift. Check out my favorite resource to help you with your daily gratitude practice!

Meditation: Stop running around like a crazy person and find some basic sanity during this holiday season and beyond by establishing a meditation/inquiry practice! Many meditation studies show that meditation literally changes the brain, reducing stress and increasing calm. Done well, it can also increase intuition and effective decision making, allowing you to handle the challenging situations and people in your life with more skill. If you are looking for a great workshop to help you cultivate this practice, join Locomotion Fitness on Dec. 19th for an Intro to Meditation class. During this 90 minute introduction to meditation, you will learn the what, why, and how of meditation. We will dispel some common misconceptions so that you know that you (yes, you!!) can meditate! Participants will have a chance to try several different short practices and come away with at least one practical, concrete tool that they can implement right away to help create a more peaceful holiday season and life.

Shopping: According to a survey conducted by Consumer Report, gift shopping ranks among the top 5 stressors during the holiday season! I recently read a blog post by my dear friend Christin on how to reduce this stress by gifting experiences instead of gifts! She had great advice so I’m going to link you to her blog here. Hope this helps you navigate the shopping experience this season!

Fitness Management

Ok… fitness… this is typically the easiest health management strategy to let go by the wayside. The “I don’t have time” saying begins to creep in, and for some wild reason we begin to believe it. I’d like to encourage you to change your verbiage around this one… Instead of saying, “I don’t have time to work out” try saying “I am choosing to not make my health a priority and therefore I choose not to workout.” When we rephrase this thought and put the responsibility back on ourselves, the idea that we are choosing not to put our health as a priority tends to not “taste” so good. But, this is not to undermine the fact that our schedules tend to get a tad bit busier during this season… Therefore, instead of choosing not to exercise, how about choose to create a plan and prioritize it instead. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

Be realistic about what you can prioritize into your schedule. If travel is keeping you away from your favorite local gym, consider investing in a few pieces of travel equipment like bands and sliding disks that you can tuck into your carry-on and complete a hotel workout on your own. Also, check out my free 30-Minute HIIT resource that you can do at anytime anywhere!

If you are traveling, call ahead and ask the hotel clerk about their onsite fitness center or if they are located near any gyms that you can take advantage of. Most fitness centers will have holiday specials for travelers so be sure to ask for deals before going!

There are so many FREE online resources and Apps you can download to your phone to help you navigate your fitness. My favorite go to App when I’m in a pinch and don’t want to plan my own workout is the Nike Training App.

Nutrition Management

Equally as mistreated as fitness, nutrition also tends to get the boot through the holidays. There are so many sugar-filled treats to consume that many of us tend to just say “F-It” and indulge. Present company included. But, what I’ve learned over the years is that the “all or nothing” mentality can leave me feeling tired, exhausted, a few pounds heavier, and unmotivated in the New Year. So, for those of you who have serious 2018 goals, these next few weeks will be critical in setting you up for a successful launch in the new year! Join me in committing to the following tips over the next few weeks so when January 1 comes, we can hit the ground running and tackle our 2018 goals!

Protein: This is my absolute FAVORITE macronutrient and one that tends to be mistreated through the holidays the most! With so many carb-filled delights available, many people tend to reduce their intake of the one nutrient that will provide satiety and muscle support. And it’s not just consuming protein that’s important, but its the timing in which we do it that provides the biggest bank for our buck. On average, most people need around 20-40g of protein about 5 times per day! Pacing our protein throughout the day supports muscle mass and keeps us feeling full and satisfied. Most of us have a pretty easy time getting adequate protein in during our three main meals a day but we often forget about that mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack that is important for stabilizing our metabolism. Another trick to keep you from carb-loading at the next holiday party is having a quick high-protein snack right before heading out. Then, at the party, you can be mindful of the items you would like to enjoy instead of gorging on the whole buffet!

Portion Control: Regardless of what anyone else will tell you, CALORIES DO COUNT during the holidays! There’s rumor out there that the average American will gain 5-7 pounds during the holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Years). And while I’ve yet to see a true scientific study stating these facts, the holiday bloat is a real thing. Be it 2 pounds or 7, it still presents an uphill battle in January when you are truly ready to tackle your goals! So while tips 1 & 2 above can certainly help you avoid becoming a statistic, being mindful of your plate will be key.

Consider smaller portions and choosing items that are healthier first.

Don’t forget your veggies! Half of your plate should be colored by the vegetable rainbow!

Drink plenty of Water! Many times thirst actually triggers our hunger button. So consume 8 oz of water before sitting down to your meal.

Savor the treats. Choose 1 or 2 items that you’ll enjoy and only take a small portion. Remember, it’s a treat!

So, as you navigate the rest of this holiday season, I hope these tips and tricks help you succeed!  As you journey through these next few weeks, I’d love to hear your feedback and results as you begin to implement some of these tips and tricks! Feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email!!

And… If you’d like added accountability for fitness or nutrition as you begin to prepare for 2018, check out two of my favorite programs:

Reboot: www.locomotionfit.com/Reboot

Healthy Steps Nutrition Accountability and Guidance! http://locomotionfit.com/nutrition