I’ve blogged before about my strategies for keeping active, and it’s a little-known fact that weight has been a struggle for me my entire life. From the moment I hit puberty, I was overweight and it wasn’t until 2011 when I made a decision to change things up. I dropped 30 pounds back then and have kept it off since, however I’ve still got a ways to go and staying healthy and on track has proven to be my biggest challenge in recent years above everything else (yes – that includes college, job searching, learning the ropes in the early stages of my career, and more).
I am not an active person by nature. If I could hang out on my couch with some pizza and Netflix all the time, I would. Thankfully, things like my job and really fun friends get me out of my house, and the desire not to go back to where I was before keep me in the gym and help me avoid pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the daily.
Pictured above: Me after running my first 5K. I did this because I paid lots of money for a running clinic and race entry – just another way I resort to using money as a fitness motivator! Whatever works, right? Haha!
I am also *that* person who has weight-loss on their new year’s resolution list year after year, and this is why: I tend to start the first few months of each year really nailing it. Eating right, regular exercising, tracking my progress, etc. By the time spring rolls around, I start to have my slip-ups but for the most part things are okay. Then summer hits and it gets very, very difficult to resist the patios, nights out, summer barbecues, city events and festivals…you know, the stuff that makes summer so rad! September comes around and it’s back on track to try and salvage my progress, but this is brief because October suddenly appears and before I know it, I’m heading into the holiday season with Thanksgiving and I go completely off the rails. Suddenly, it’s January again and I’m back at square one.
Sound familiar? (god, someone please say yes.)
Believe it or not, 2014 has truly been different. Since committing to working with my trainer in February, I’ve had a really great year in terms of sticking to my routine and managing my health. And, while I’ve realistically only lost 15ish pounds from the start of the year (keep in mind I had crept back up to a high number by the end of last December…I’m only just back at my lowest weight ever), I’ve experienced changes in the composition of my body and been able to better balance indulging in the things I love and the events I enjoy while keeping things clean and healthy ~80% of the time.
With Thanksgiving now over, the beginning of the holiday season for me is here so I thought I’d share my strategies I’m hoping to implement so I see continued progress through the end of 2014 and into 2015 (with a wedding in the cards next year, I’ve really got to stay with it!):
- Continue working with my trainer on a regular basis (1-2 times per week): Part of the reason I agreed to going through my gym and signing up for personal training back in February was because I knew it was a 1 year commitment, meaning I’d continue to pay for it and subsequently have to keep going through the holidays. Now that I’ve also started seeing her in the mornings before work (those 5 a.m. wake up calls come fast), I’ve pretty much eliminated the “no time” excuse and will at the very least have those sessions booked in the calendar even in the weeks leading up to and around Christmas.
- Never leave home without my FitBit & iPhone! Just call me your typical millennial – my phone and FitBit are my biggest tools when it comes to managing my health. Maybe it’s because I’m technology obsessed, maybe it’s my Type A personality, but I constantly check where my steps are at for the day and the calories I’m burning through my FitBit and I track my food using MyFitnessPal not just for calories, but also for my balance of fats, protein and carbs for the day in addition to ensuring I’m keeping my sugar intake in check. Since the two apps work together, I’ve always got a good idea of where I’m at and when to make sure I’m not overdoing it.
- Striking a balance between indulgence and activity. It’s hard to say no to the parties and gatherings that come with the holidays, and its even harder to be on your best behaviour and say no to wine, cheese and chocolate when it’s all around you. I’ve found the best strategy for me is to make sure my workouts stay on track and keep my regular eating in check, and let myself enjoy what’s being offered when I’m with family, friends and colleagues celebrating within reason. Reminding myself that there’s no need to overdo it and sticking to red wine or vodka sodas (my drinks of choice anyway) with a healthy dose of water ensures I don’t lose sight of my progress entirely.
I’m slowly starting to realize it all comes down to developing good habits while being realistic at the end of the day.
Are you ready for the holiday season? How do you avoid undoing your progress in the health and weight department this time of year?