This will serve as your guide to surviving the fattest months of the year.
Fall is a rough time for those trying to stay in great shape or even lose some fat. With October, November and December sporting some of the fattest holidays on record it’s hard to stay focused. Halloween brings us mountains of candy and by the time that candy disappears in mid-November, we’re only a few weeks from the ultimate binge-fest we call Thanksgiving. Then we start hearing Christmas music and know that Christmas parties will be starting in a couple weeks and running all the way through New Years!
In reality, it’s only a couple days of “forced” bad eating decisions (which are actually important for any diet plan in my opinion). What it turns into is a monster.
It starts with a few pieces of Halloween candy and ends with a laundry list of excuses. The human brain is amazing. We can justify just about anything. Have you ever found yourself saying, “It’s only a few more weeks till I know I’m going to eat myself sick on Grandma’s pie, might as well not worry about it now!” Or “I’ll just wait till after New Year’s since I’m really busy until then with the holidays.”
I’ll break it down for you as simply as I can.
Stop overthinking it!
Yes, there are going to be social events during the Fall and holiday season that will consist of eating foods and drinking drinks that are “fattening” (God I hate that word!). No, that doesn’t give you an excuse to just write off these crucial 3 months. Just control what you can control, and don’t let stressing out about it make you fatter. My experience tells me the most successful people are the ones that go to the Christmas Party, or have an extra slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, not worry about it, and get right back on track the next day. And they certainly didn’t take the whole week off of making better eating decisions and working out because they knew they were going to be watching football and eating delicious foods on a certain Thursday coming up on our schedules.
So get over your excuses and stick to this Fall Fitness Survival Guide.
Here are your rules:
Identify the dates of holidays and social engagements in which you can’t control what you’re eating. (Quick math: let’s say you have 6 days that are out of your control. We’ll call it 15 meals total between November and December. If we’re eating 3 meals a day that’s 183 potential meals. That’s 8% of your meals. I like Dr. John Berardi’s requirement of eating perfect 90% of the time. That means we still have to find another meal or two to eat poorly and “cheat” at in order to make sure we are going to lose fat.) In other words, stay on track and the holidays are no different than any other time of the year!
Prioritize your workouts.
Your time might be crunched during these months for whatever reason, so we need to focus in on what’s important. If you can only carve out two hours a week, let’s not waste it on two hours of cardio. Let’s focus on strength (the secret key to ANY fitness goal)! Use that limited time to make strength gains and maintain great movement. That’s what’s going to help you keep the fat off, NOT walking on the treadmill or elliptical.
Eat Closer to the Source.
In those meals that are not made up of mostly cookies and breads let’s try to keep things as natural as possible. By that I mean eat more meats and vegetables. Forget the “heath food” and other clever marketing tricks. Just stick to mostly meats and vegetables and you will get the results you are after.
When we’re at these inevitable events and parties we need to be socially normal. Don’t embarrass me by reading this blog and being known as “that weird health nut.” That’s just as backwards as stuffing yourself like it’s going to be your last meal for a month, it won’t be I promise. Eat a reasonable amount of food. That’s all. Just because you’re going to have stuffing doesn’t mean you have to have ALL the stuffing. I’ll say it again; eat a REASONABLE amount of food.
So stick to these rules, enjoy yourself, and achieve all of your fitness goals this Fall despite your busy social schedule.