Healthy Hack #8: Don’t Leave Holiday Fitness to Chance

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey

Don’t Leave Holiday Fitness to Chance

Merry Christmas!!

Holidays are tough for a fitness journey and approaching them without a plan can be a mistake.

It is easy, and sometimes desirable, to make unhealthy choices on holidays. Especially on thanksgiving and Christmas you tend to increase your calorie intake with the cookies, the candy, the nog, the alcohol, the big family meals and so on and so forth. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to skip this celebration and give up traditions.

Holidays can also give you a bit of a double whammy with exercise. My gym is closed on the big holiday days and I am happy they are because I want them to be able to enjoy the holidays too. So working out at the gym usually isn’t and option and it tends to just be cold enough to make me second guess going outdoors.

My natural tendency on a holiday is to ramp up the calories and sit on the couch with no exercise. That is not the recipe for fitness success so I need a plan so I don’t leave my fitness to chance or else it may not happen. I didn’t achieve the fitness success I have by taking the easy way out.

I embrace 3 strategies to ensure that I stay focused.

Wake Up

The start of my holiday fitness plan is to wake up. It is very easy to treat these days off as days to sleep in and to have a lazy start to your morning. Unfortunately a lazy start to your day is the leading enabler of a full day of laziness.

On holidays make sure to still set your alarm and get up early. It doesn’t have to be as early as a weekday but this isn’t the time to sleep until noon. If you get up early and fit in fitness first thing you can have a day of well-earned fun later.

Buddy Up

My second strategy for success is not to go it alone – buddy up with somebody else to help keep each other accountable. If you are looking for ways to be fit on a holiday morning other people are too and this is a good time to work together.

An example of how I used this strategy happened on Thanksgiving morning this year. My gym was closed, I knew it was going to be a high calorie day and that it was going to be cold. All indicators were that I was going to wimp out of exercise.

To prevent this from being a bad fitness day I made a plan with a friend of mine that we would meet at the park and then run a 10k through downtown Columbus. If I backed out because it was “too cold” or because I “made poor decisions the night before” I wasn’t going to just be letting myself down I would be letting her down too.

This strategy turned a potentially bad fitness day into a personal record setting run!

Sign Up

The final strategy for holiday fitness pre-planning is to sign up for something so you are committed to exercise. Nearly every holiday there aware a series of races and walks (2 mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, etc.) that are available to participate in first thing so you start your day off right. Sign up for something!

Signing up for a holiday walk/run has a doubly positive effect. First off it keeps you accountable to exercising in the morning before your high calorie and high fun day. But the second way it helps is that it forces you to make healthy choices the night before. If you are getting up to run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning you are probably not going to over indulge on “Thirsty Turkey Day” the night before.

An example of how I have used this strategy is coming in a week from now. I have signed up to run a “First on the First” 5k race on New Years Day. This means that I have to be reasonably good in New Years Eve and that I am committed to doing something to invest in my fitness first thing on the holiday morning.

Plus I signed up for this race with a friend so I am doubling up on the use of my strategies!

I hope this strategy, that has worked well for me, can also be beneficial to you. I want you to be successful with reaching your goals because the feeling when you get there is totally worth the planning and hard work!