Having a Healthy Mindset for the Holidays

A lot of people have been asking me some questions about how I deal with the holiday season as someone trying to be mindful about my health and fitness, so I wanted to answer some of my most asked questions about this time of year.

Are you going to eat ANY traditional holiday foods?

This is a tricky question, and one must know thyself to know what works best for you.  For some people, they have no problem treating themselves to a few pieces of fudge or sugar cookies throughout the month while sticking to a clean eating plan the rest of the time.  For me, that doesn’t work very well.  I have to stay pretty strict with my meal plan if I want to get the results I’m looking for, so I will be very picky and choosy about what I indulge in.  I used to view the holidays as a total free-for-all and just whatever I wanted for about 2 straight months, but that doesn’t make me feel good, so I won’t be doing that.  For me, I need to be very aware of what I’m eating during this time of year, but there are certain foods I know I’ll eat, like a cinnamon roll on Christmas morning–that is our tradition, and I want to participate.  You have to make that choice for yourself, but the important thing is to own your choice and not feel bad or guilty about it either way.

It’s the holidays!  Just relax and live a little!  Don’t you deserve to treat yourself??

I totally understand this mentality, because I used to live it every holiday every year, but again, I don’t feel good about myself when I don’t eat well.  I feel bad mentally, emotionally, and physically–I deserve to feel awesome all the time, and if I know my nutrition is a part of that, then I need to eat accordingly.

What should I do about my workouts during this busy season?

Simply put, prioritize them.  I know firsthand how easy it is to fall out of your routine during these busy seasons, and how difficult it is to get back into a healthy routine once you decide enough is enough.  It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually easiest in the long run to just keep up with your fitness routine during the holidays than to give it up completely.  If you usually work out every day, maybe lower that expectation–4 days a week instead of 7, or 3 days a week instead of 5. Maybe consider switching when you workout–would getting up early to get it done keep you consistent?  Consider making that kind of change for just these 4 weeks of crazy, and then switch back to your afternoon sweat session once the holidays are done.  You can also figure out a different way to be active–plan to go to a group class with family when they are in town, or invite them to do your workout with you, or go for a jog with a friend.  If you can find people to be active with you, it helps keep you more accountable.  This is exactly why I love my online accountability groups!  We help each other stick to a routine–email me or comment on this post to get details on my next group!

Is it really that bad to just wait until January?

It’s never a bad time to start a healthy routine with your food and fitness!  But I always answer this question with my own question–is it really that bad to start now?  Is it a bad thing to go ahead and start feeling awesome right now?  Why start January feeling gross and bloated when you can start it feeling energized and amazing?  For me, I’m still focusing on my nutrition and fitness and preparing for an awesome January.  I have some awesome goals for where I want to be by my beach trip in April, and those aren’t going to wait for the holidays.

Maybe you’re feeling the same way about your health–why wait???  I’ve got accountability groups going all through this time of year, and I’ve got space for you!  Comment below or email me at wweaver0@gmail.com to get some info.

Do you have some tips for keeping your health going through the holidays?  I’d love to hear them!  Share them in the comments!

Advertisements

Take the Stairs!

Self-discipline is hard.  Whether you’re talking about food choices, fitness, getting up with my alarm, having more patience with my three year old, or whatever else I’ve got going on in my life, being disciplined is a constant battle.  I’m always looking for an easier way out, or just reacting to situations instead of thinking through the best choice–I’m sure you can relate.  It’s hard to be a disciplined person, and I fall short pretty much every day.

It’s been a few years since I started focusing on being more disciplined, and it’s pretty amazing how far I’ve come in so many areas of my life–but there is always more room to grow!  I’ve been reading (for a second time, actually) an amazing book and just wanted to recommend it to you.

Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden is exactly what I need to read right now–he is all about learning to be disciplined in every area of life, and that has been a great lesson for me over the last few years.  I can choose a specific area of my life to grow in my discipline–focusing solely on workouts, or just on my patience, for example–but to truly grow in discipline, it needs to be something that pervades all areas of my life.  I need to learn to become a disciplined WOMAN in general, not just a disciplined eater or a disciplined exerciser.  I love that idea, and it’s exactly the type of person I want to become.  If this is something you struggle with, too, please do yourself a favor and add this book to your Christmas list.

Also, a bit of encouragement: one of the most difficult aspects of learning to be disciplined (for me, anyway) was feeling like I had to muster up the strength to be more disciplined.  It was overwhelming and exhausting for me to think about trying my hardest every day to be more disciplined!  It made me not even want to try, because who can do that all day every day?  Not me, for sure.  But then I came across this verse that comforted me and made me feel really empowered:

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

If you are a Christian, you already have a Spirit of self-discipline within you–you just have to ask God to help you live that out and choose to submit to that Spirit in your day to day choices.  So be encouraged by that!

What books have you read that have helped you with this idea of self-discipline?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Christmas Advent 2017

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year!  Now that my little man is getting older, it’s getting more and more fun.  For the past few years, I’ve done an Advent calendar for us as a family to serve together, have intentional time together, and to help teach my little man what Christmas is really all about!

IMG_5399.JPG

Here are some of the activities we’ll be doing this Advent season–what are some of the traditions you and your family have?  I’d love to hear about them!

Watch a Christmas movie

Breakfast with Santa

Swim party (when we’ll be in a hotel out of town)

Make a leaf wreath

Make Christmas cards and mail them to our cousins

Make treats and deliver them to our neighbors

Choose some toys to donate

Deliver food to a food bank ministry

Have cookies and cocoa at our church’s Christmas service

Have breakfast for dinner

Sing Christmas carols to our grandparents (if he’ll cooperate!)

Drive around and look at Christmas lights

Read the Christmas story together

Do a Christmas puzzle

Color a Christmas coloring page

 

This isn’t the full list, but it’s a great start!  What are your Advent activity plans?

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything leading up to it, but I don’t like stuffing my face for a month straight and hating how I feel when January rolls around.  I’ve learned some tips and tricks on how to enjoy Thanksgiving, not feel like I’m depriving myself, and not completely abandon my commitment to my health.

  1.  Take some responsibility for what you choose to fuel yourself with.  Unless you make and serve 100% of the meal you’ll be eating, you will undoubtedly be faced with several tempting (but unhealthy) dishes.  If you are committed to feeling awesome and not forgetting your health goals during Thanksgiving, then you have to remember that you get to choose what you will eat and what you won’t eat.  No one is forcing you, even if you feel some peer pressure.  It’s okay to pass on some things!
  2. Don’t look at food as “good” vs “bad”.  Do you know that if you eat 3 slices of pie that you’ll lay awake with indigestion? Will you dread getting dressed and feel badly in your clothes if you overindulge?  Will you lose your energy and be dragging during Black Friday sales if you have 4 servings of sweet potato casserole?  Focus on how different foods make you FEEL rather than putting them into good and bad categories–it’s not about how you look, but how you feel.  Focus on eating foods that make you feel awesome!
  3. Eat your veggies first.  Load up at least half of your plate with veggies, preferably veggies that aren’t drowned in cheese or other sauces.  If you can contribute to your meal, bring a healthy option like a veggie tray or roasted brussels sprouts so you know you’ll have at least one healthy option for yourself.
  4. Be active first thing in the day.  Starting your day with a great workout will not only start you off on the right track, but it will make you feel good and helps you be more likely to keep up the healthy choices.  It’s not about “earning” your dinner, but just taking care of your body!
  5. Focus on what you’re eating all week!  If you know you want to indulge in some amazing Thanksgiving traditions, THAT IS OKAY.  You get to choose!  But don’t allow the entire week to get away from you–keep fueling yourself with healthy foods throughout the week to keep your energy up and your body running smoothly.
  6. Be intentional about focusing on your nutrition in the days after Thanksgiving.  I’m hosting a 5-day group the week after Thanksgiving with workouts, a meal plan, and some samples of my super shake to give you a structured plan for post-holiday blahs.  Click here to sign up!

If you want more help or recipe ideas, check out this amazing blog page with tons of Thanksgiving tips!

The Simplest Motivation Hack EVER

It happens to all of us–you have something you want to accomplish, you have a plan to make it happen, and then…you snooze a million times.  Or you lay on the couch binge-watching Stranger Things.  Or you scroll through social media and realize an hour has gone by.  And you haven’t gotten anything done!

It’s so easy to fall into that procrastination trap, where anything and everything is more important than the one thing that REALLY is important to us–and we continue to not accomplish our goals.  Now, I don’t really believe in “motivation”–I think sometimes you feel really energized to work towards your goals and sometimes you don’t, but not feeling energized isn’t a reason to not do the necessary work.  But some strategies and techniques are crucial for those times where you’re just not feeling it.

This technique comes from the great Mel Robbins–you can watch an awesome video of her explaining it here–and it’s so simple it almost seems like it wouldn’t work.  But it does!  All you need to do is count backwards from 5–think of it like a countdown to a rocket launch: as the countdown is happening, the rocket is building up energy from its fuel and engine, and then when the countdown ends, it has the energy it needs to take off!  We are the same way; counting down from 5 allows our brain to recognize that a transition is happening, to build up energy to make it happen, and to launch us into whatever activity we need to get done.

That’s it!  You can use this 5-second rule to help you get up with your alarm instead of snoozing, to push play on your workout, to start that conversation that needs to happen but you’re scared to have, or whatever else you are putting off.  And try it with your kids to help them transition from one activity to another without meltdowns!

Whatever it is you need to get done, try this hack to make it happen!  5-4-3-2-1 GO!

#mySADexperiment

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed me posting about my current health experiment–#mySADexperiement is 11 days in and is going strong!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly it is I’m doing, so I wanted to answer some of those questions here.

First of all, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety, and SAD is something I deal with every single winter.  When the days are shorter and the sun isn’t out as long during the day, we can’t get as much vitamin D, which is so necessary for our bodies and our sanity.  Because of this, a lot of us struggle with our moods, energy, and motivation during the winter months.  The “winter blues” can be mild to severe for different people, and for me it can get pretty intense.  Last year was the toughest winter yet for me, and I’ve been going into this winter with some anxiety.  I want to do whatever I can to alleviate and manage my SAD symptoms and enjoy this season–after all, it’s my favorite time of year!

I’ve done quite a bit of research on nutrition and depression/anxiety, and time and again studies are seeing a connection between what you put in your body and your emotional/mental health.  Now, I’m not saying that changing my diet will prevent or cure anything, but if there is a connection, it can only help, right?

The biggest culprit seems to be sugar.  Studies are showing that sugar is basically the devil–all kinds of negative consequences to our bodies, little to no nutritional benefits.  Too bad this time of year is filled with sugar, sugar EVERYWHERE.  I made chili last night with some Italian pork sausage and found corn syrup (aka sugar) in the ingredients.  WHY???

Which brings me to my experiment: during the 30 days of November, I’m being intentional about fueling my body with what it NEEDS and what will be beneficial for me, not with what I want (you know, all the bread and leftover Halloween candy).  Limiting sugar, staying away from breads and refined grains, and limiting dairy while loading up on fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats.  I’m also committed to working out every single day, since exercise releases endorphins and helps with your mood.  My doctor has told me more than once that the first thing I need to do for my depression is work out, and I’m usually very consistent with my fitness.  During the winter months, however, it gets so easy for me to skip workouts and make excuses–who doesn’t want to stay in bed under the warm covers a little longer when it gets cold outside?

So far, this experiment is going really well!  I’ve gotten a workout in each day, and while I haven’t been perfect with my nutrition, I have been very intentional about what I’m eating and have been great at getting my veggies in–and I’m feeling really great!  I don’t expect to have zero SAD symptoms this winter, but I am determined to avoid the darkness I felt last year.  So far, the difference is night and day between how I’m feeling right now and how I felt in November of last year.

This time of year is notorious for being difficult for people to focus on their health, but I’m determined to be different this year.  I have committed to owning my health this season instead of letting the season own me, and I’m excited about making it happen.  I’ve got the all the tools I need between my streaming workouts and super shake, and putting them to use may not be easy, but it’s definitely simple.

If you want to join me in #mySADexperiment, click here!