It’s the beginning of January and we’re lying in bed, our eyes still closed, our 6am alarm has just sounded and our mind begins to stir at the idea of returning back to work after an awesome holiday break. We remember the copious amounts of honey glazed ham, turkey, sweets and alcohol consumed and we forget what exercise actually is. I remember that yesterday I ate three helpings of ham and potatoes with cranberry sauce or 2 servings of chocolate mousse or crispy pork belly with apple sauce, OR, all of the above.
We sit on the train, swaying, our eyes heavy, hunched over having forgotten everything we've learnt regarding good posture and core stability. We get off the train and find we’ve forgotten to eat breakfast. Protein shakes, coconut water and fruit are soooooo last year. We order a doughnut and coffee to go before the morning meeting and whilst sitting in our meeting adjusting our incredibly snug pants and begin to experience some frustration, a little guilt mixed in with a small amount of depression.
How do we get back on track?
First of all, we don’t ignore these thoughts that flow through our minds and reach for yet another unhealthy choice. We recognise that the holiday season is over and that the time to make healthier choices needs to begin in order for us to continue to produce a better version of ourselves. It’s OK that we partied and indulged, that is what Christmas is all about but life is about what we do 90% of the time not 10% of the time.
There is no point in feeling guilty, talking to yourself negatively or self-shaming, a break and enjoying the holidays is your right and you should let go and have fun. You have to realise that you can’t change what has already happened but you do have complete and total control over what you do from this second forward. Every new day, new hour, new minute is an opportunity to move forward towards your goals again.
Focus on the small stuff. Running a marathon starts with a single step so don’t try to plunge into the heavy meal plans of only salad and steamed veges or drinking 8 litres of water a day. By going from one extreme to another we set ourselves up to fail. For instance this week my goal is to eliminate sugar from my diet, I will continue to eat the same amount of food I consumed over the break however remove sugar from my choices. I plan on completing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day throughout January, which could be anything from lifting weights to going for a brisk walk.
Choose small changes to start and as you complete each change add a new one to the next week.
Be realistic! Don’t expect to lift the same weights you were lifting before the break, don’t expect to run 7kms in the same blistering time you were doing before your well-earned holidays. Start slow, drop the weights by 20% and focus on your technique, run at a slower pace and find your rhythm again. Re-teach yourself to enjoy exercise and your physical activities.
Remember that set backs are normal. Life happens, setbacks occur, no one is 100% dedicated 100% of the time. This year’s health and fitness mission should become a part of your life but it shouldn’t dictate your life. Don’t not go out to lunch with your friends in fear you may eat something bad. You are a smart, educated person. Make better choices at the restaurant but don’t shy away from social interaction in fear of failure.
Every day of this year wake up and greet the new day for what it is; a brand new opportunity to become a better version of you. Leave yesterday where it is, grab your running shoes and ipod and start running towards a year of making better decisions.