When life throws a curveball, most of us tend to hit the “pause” button on our fitness and nutrition until things start to “settle down.” But what if we didn’t hit the pause button and instead focused on some type of consistency, whether large or small-scale?
The holidays, although anticipated each year, are a common curveball with people who join our training programs. Although the holiday season is meant to be celebrated, it is often a stressor too, and even considered an obstacle by many. You may be on the fence about getting into or staying in a routine over this season. But you know what? There will never be a perfect time to work towards your goals. So why not work on some semblance of consistency with things within your control?
Here are four ways you can build consistency over the holidays or a busy season of life.
1. Practice the 80/20 rule of thumb. If you eat 21 meals per week, that’s roughly 17 nutrient-dense meals, and perhaps 4 “fun” meals spread out throughout the week. Does this mean you can go ahead and enjoy your traditional (or even not-so-traditional) holiday meals? Absolutely! My clients who avoid restriction and instead are purposeful about eating foods they find satisfying see much more success than those who try to eliminate foods/food groups they think they should eat less of. This flexibility allows you to use your internal guidance rather than “rules” imposed by someone else to decide what foods to eat, when to consume them, and why. Keep in mind that those who have had disordered eating patterns in the past (or currently) should consult a dietitian or their doctor if they have questions.
2. Work in exercise when it makes sense. Have a spare 10 minutes? Or an hour? Either way, a little can go a long way! Get the kiddos to join in if you want to add to the fun! Moving your body consistently, whether it’s strength training, a walk, gentle stretching, or pushups with your niece or nephew on your back can be fulfilling and boost those endorphins! Exercising a minimum of two days per week will help prevent you from losing what you’ve gained in the strength and/or cardio realm.
3. Choose 1-2 areas to prioritize over this season/vacation/holiday. If that is too vague, choose two specific habits you want to focus on through this season. This could be something as simple as putting your fork down between bites while eating, or replacing one meal with a less processed one. Perhaps it is aiming at drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. It could be taking a 10 minute daily walk around the neighborhood while you sip your morning coffee. Remember that this season is about participation, not perfection.
4. And lastly, don’t be afraid to find the joy in this season, whether it’s participating in holiday foods, traditions, or simply joy itself. Decide whether you will stick to your healthy habits or take a temporary break. And no matter what happens, you can always fall back on the simple things, like eating until feeling 80% full, aiming for “better” rather than “perfect,” and working on your “minimums” (at least one serving of veggies per day, two workouts per week, etc).
It’s possible to keep up your progress towards goals while still enjoying your vacation/holidays/*insert season of life. With a little consistency and discipline, you can have it all!
What’s your favorite tip for staying consistent in your busy seasons of life? Sound off below!
If you need an extra layer of accountability, send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started as soon as you’re ready. We have several virtual options available, with programs as low as $49.
Jessica Corkin is the Virtual Fitness Manager at Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last eight years working in the fitness and wellness industry. When she is not virtually training clients, she enjoys strength training, running, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and dog. Connect with her here.
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