Tis the season! The food, the lights, the cookies, the pie, the booze! Time for the self-imposed holiday guilt trip!
I think this is the time of the year that we ALL just love – but hate what it can do to our waistline! I can’t sit here and tell you with a straight face that I haven’t kind of taken the pressure off, and conceded to simply enjoying the seasonal holiday treats that I love, with the goal of simply getting on track in the New Year.
Now, that’s not to say that I’m going hog wild over here! Simply that I’m not stressing over enjoying a nice pumpkin spice latte, or my personal favorite (and custom creation), a Starbucks Gingerbread Hot Chocolate with a shot of espresso… And whip cream of course lol. And sometimes a lemon loaf….
LOL, but I digress.
I know many of you may be trying your darnedest to stay on track this season. And with so many treats around, just ready for you to dig into, it’s really hard NOT to. But instead of placing anxiety about all of the food you WISH you could eat, I’m going to challenge you in a way that the industry often doesn’t…
Instead of telling you what NOT to do, I say JUST DO IT!
Like Nike! Live hard, play hard, and know you only live once!
However… Don’t go too crazy.
This game is about consistency folks. It’s about how you can take this fitness thing and work it into your life. There’s so much psychology in it all too, you know. Like, the more you restrict and tell yourself “NO, I absolutely cannot have that,” the more you actually want it. So why not just allow yourself to ENJOY (operative word there) whatever item you’re craving, have it in a small amount, be satisfied, and just simply… Move on.
I had a client recently email me her progress for her current cycle. This particular client has been working with me for about a full month and a half now. I am SO proud of her work, and loving how her body is responding to the plan we have in place. Her only vice, the holiday treats that she can’t seem to say no to.
Now, I have two options as a coach… Either reprimand her for being human, OR take a look at her progress to assess and evaluate the situation, and make her see how her compliance to her diet and training is what’s the driving factor behind her success – despite any slip ups.
I’m a huge proponent for the 90/10 Rule. In fact, I go even further with clients to teach them my personal approach to it called the RoxStar Fitness 90/10 Lifestyle Approach. Let me break it down for you in these 5 tips for dropping the holiday guilt!
Drop the Holiday Guilt Tip #1: Consistency Doesn’t Mean Perfection
I can’t stress this enough! Consistency in this game of nutrition isn’t about being perfect. In fact, focusing on the rigidity of what being perfect means is what can not only hold you back, but can completely derail you.
It’s usually the folks who are so inflexible that one slip up destroys all of their efforts, that end up quitting in the long-run due to unrealistic expectations.
What I want you to do is aim for just being spot on the majority of the time. But what does that mean?
My clients have the ability to actually track compliance on their personal account dashboard in our client portal. So they can check off when they eat a meal on plan, when they’ve skipped one, if they had a cheat meal, or even just a minor deviance. And the compliance calculator gives them back their total compliance percentage – which we aim to keep at 90%.
Now without that calculator you can track your own compliance like this. Let’s say you eat about 5 meals a day, and you are following a meal plan of sorts, maybe doing IIFYM. There are 7 days in a week, so that means you have 35 total meals a week. If you were to aim for 90% compliance, that means you want to hit only about 31 to 32 of those meals spot on. And it also leaves you with about 3 to 4 meals or so a week where you can INTENTIONALLY eat off plan…
SEE WHAT I MEAN! You have way more flexibility than you think. And if you allow for this kind of freedom, and factor it in, you’d be surprised how you don’t even take the liberty to purposefully go off plan as much as you may be allowed. Just knowing its there is helpful enough.
Drop the Holiday Guilt Tip #2: Allow for a Planned “Free Meal” Once to Twice a Week
Now, let’s take a look at how you can intelligently breakdown those 3 to 4 off plan meals.
What I typically like to do for clients is instruct them to enjoy one free meal (what you might call a cheat meal) a week, and usually do it on the weekend. It can definitely be had during the week though, if that fits the client’s lifestyle better.
The next thing I instruct is that they have this, preferably, as the final meal of the day.
Let’s face it, it’s super tough to go from having an amazing meal of your dreams midday, and then have to go back to your scheduled eating right after. I mean, it CAN be done, but from a psychological standpoint, I feel clients do FAR better when the meal is the final one of the day.
So for you, enjoy that big free meal once a week. Make it WHATEVER YOU WISH! Plan for it! If you have an event coming up, then great! Enjoy it because you know that it will fall on your scheduled free meal day, and you can now have some normalcy, and enjoy the foods around you guilt free.
Drop the Holiday Guilt Tip #3: Allow ALSO for 2 or 3 SMALL Optional Treats a Week
Ok, so now that you have one free meal on the docket, you have 2 or 3 opportunities to use up the rest of your 10%!
How I like to instruct clients to do do this is to simply have something they may have been craving, or around holiday time, enjoy that little slice of cake or pie that your coworker brought in – and you KNOW you want!
The worst feeling in the world is being left out when everyone else around you gets to enjoy! We want you to be able to have your cake and eat it too – literally.
But there is a caveat to this… YOU MUST REMAIN IN CONTROL. This is not another free meal in the sense of a full on meal. This is a treat meal. A dessert of sorts. A lil’ somethin’ something to kill a craving, or just enjoy what you wish. So keep the serving size small, savor each bite – don’t be in a rush to gobble it up, and enjoy it without the guilt trip monologue that so commonly plays in your head shortly after.
Know that you do NOT have have these little treats as frequently as I am saying in this article. They are there to use whenever you’d like and within reason. How much more successful would you be at this game knowing you had a nice “free pass” card at your disposal – and you can be rest assured that your progress won’t be thrown off.
Drop the Holiday Guilt Tip #4: Get Back on Track Right Away
With all of this freedom comes GREAT responsibility.
You must respect these guidelines, they are not to be abused. So making sure that you keep a reign on things and actually be a responsible adult with this information is key! Don’t come back to me, when you’ve gone overboard, saying I misguided you!
These are the same principles that I live by daily, and the same ones that my clients get to see in action as well. They are the cornerstone to our success.
The one thing that you must do after all of this freedom is regain CONTROL. So that means getting back on your plan again at your very next meal…
Not tomorrow, not the day after, not next week, not next month… IMMEDIATELY.
The thing to keep in mind, and to replay in your head as you are enjoying this level of dietary freedom is that you will have it again! That this is a weekly thing, so there is no need to try to stuff or gorge yourself in one sitting. Instead, you can pace yourself as you can do it all on repeat like the movie, “Groundhog Day” if you wish!
So slow down and enjoy this part of the 90/10 process! When it’s all said and done, get back on the side of the 90 and really focus on compliance, nailing your plan, still remaining flexible enough to sub foods out as you wish, and reaping the benefits of what being on plan, as well as off, can do for transforming your body into something amazing.
Drop the Holiday Guilt Tip #5: Keep Up With Your Training – Even If on a Reduced Schedule
The final tidbit of advice I want to throw your way is a friendly reminder to keep at it in the gym!
For many of you, training is the easy part. You can do it all day, everyday, and not skip a beat. However, for some of you, it might be the hardest thing to comply with as the holiday season comes to a peak.
It’s going to be a good idea to try to still hit the gym and train, even if you have to do it on a reduced schedule. So if you are used to going, or at least being active 5 to 6 days a week, but the holiday time has you seeing the gym far less, stick to getting in your workout about 3 or 4 times a week instead.
Your progress won’t be completely ruined by reduced training days. You can however quickly decondition yourself, and lose precious gains, when you just go from 100 to 0, without trying to find a solution.
Some of you might be traveling this season to be with family. One of the FIRST things I encourage you to do is Google Map the nearest gym. If you are a member of a large chain like 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, or LA Fitness, it’s FANTASTIC because they have locations everywhere.
If they don’t have a facility that’s close to you, consider a smaller gym (maybe a private gym or training facility that may be in the area), and call them up to see if you can come in on a day rate or week pass. A lot of smaller personal training studios or private gyms offer this as it’s extra revenue for them outside of the clients or members they have. Why not take advantage of it?
Now if none of that is feasible, pack up some bands and other portable workout gear, download a workout online (I have PLENTY on my Inner Circle site geared for those who have minimal to no equipment – or are traveling), and take that with you with the intention to hit it up about 2 or 3 times during your travels.
And when you make that choice – stick to it! Do it in the morning to get it out of the way, but make it happen! Even if you are heading to the gym… Make it happen by planning for it – and even better, scheduling it.
To wrap things up, there are plenty of ways for you to start to free yourself from the chains of the crazy guilt trips, and food shaming tactics the fitness industry imparts on us, and moreover – what you impart on yourself.
The name of the game is playing it SMART, and to truly start seeing this stuff as a part of your reality – a part of being normal, and knowing that no matter what, you can come out on top and still reach your goals.
I want to hear from you! How do you cope with holiday eating? What are some ways and tactics you’ve found have kept you on track? Comment below!