I think this time of year is most possibly the hardest to stay on track with your fitness objectives - whether its exercise or your diet or both! There is so much going on, whether its socialising, organising, planning and don't even get me started on stuff for the school Christmas Bazaar (being Reception class rep could slowly kill me off!). So here are some of my thoughts and tips for staying on track during this time, or any time really!
1. Motivation - don't rely on it!
I'm often asked about how I stay motivated to exercise, eat well and keep my fitness up. In all honesty, I'm not always motivated. It isn't motivation that gets me working out or eating well, it is routine, plans and habit. Motivation will get you started in the first place, but it won't keep you going - the habits will.
When it's cold, dark, wet, you're tired and the leftover trick or treat sweets are staring you in the face, you really aren't going to be very motivated to get off the sofa and do your exercise and cook a healthy meal. To keep things going, your fitness / exercise / healthy eating just HAS to be part of 'just what you do'. It needs to be your lifestyle. Those of you who are reading this, and are part of the KFSS community clearly care about your health and fitness - it plays a part in your life, so you're already one step of the way there. If you are struggling at the moment, with keeping things up, start by making your health and fitness (in whatever way that looks for you) the way your live your life day to day. You might start to do that by...
2. Set mini 'process or performance' objectives or goals
If you're the kind of person who needs a goal or something to work towards, then set small ones - particularly during this crazy busy time of the year. And it's try and stay away from aesthetic / weight goals for now, and instead focus on more process goals - exercise, healthy cooking and snacking, rather than what your scales say. So, things like completing 3 x 20 min workouts a week, or being alcohol free 5 days out of 7, or making your plate eat least half fruit/ vegetables at every meal, including a protein source at each meal, or walk to work / school every day rather than take the car, or learn or perfect a skill or technique - such as improving your squat, deadlift or run 5k! Take a moment to think about what you'd like to focus on - and keep it positive language, thinking more about what you CAN do rather than restricting. These changes that you make can become habits and therefore part of how you live your life, and lead to a more healthier you without the need for "motivation".
3. Plan and prioritise
As mums, anything for ourselves typically goes out the window at this time of year. But you are just as important as your other family members (if not more, as you have dependents!) and your health should and IS a priority. So plan in what you are going to do and when - don't just go with how you feel or leave it to 'when you've got some time' as we all know that wont happen any time, not least at Christmas. Something else will always be more important. When you plan out your week in terms of meetings, social stuff, school / nursery stuff, plan out your workouts and where possible your meals. Write it down, and tell those that need to know, that is what you are doing so they can support you (even if they don't join you!). Writing it down and telling others also helps with 'making yourself accountable'. Commit yourself and get it done! Mums are the best at 'getting stuff done', we just are - so try to apply this approach and mentality to your well-being and exercise.
4. 'One round is better than none'
This is true in 98% of cases - the 2% is if you aren't well or injured and making something worse! If you're really short of time - 5 or 10 minutes of movement is better than nothing and does great things for the body and mind. Even a 10 mins fast walk in the fresh air or 10 mins of yoga, or just one circuit through an exercise routine. It really is better than nothing - can boost mood and energy levels too! So if you've a 30 min workout looming and you've got to pick up your kids in 20 mins - don't skip it, just do what you can within the time frame. Plus, often just getting started is half the battle (when no time restrictions) and once you done one round, often you can do more!
5. Keep it short
Keep your workouts short and varied - no one has time to go to the gym for an hour really any more - a round trip takes about 2 hours (unless yours is at the bottom of the garden like mine!). But I never work out for longer than 45 mins (unless its long run training and I need the mileage / time on feet) and most of my gym work is 30 mins or less - just like the KFSS workouts.
6. Be kind to yourself and move on after 'slip ups'
If you 'slip up' or miss a workout - don't beat yourself up about it, or say f*ck it and throw all your plans out the window for the rest of the day / week / month / until 2020! Draw a line under it and move on. We've all been there, had a weekend or night out when we've eaten and/or drunk far too much, felt awful so ate some more, and then felt gross and lethargic and even less keen to exercise! Get back on your plan, drink a load of water, eat lots of veg, sleep and you'll be back on track!
Hope there is something in there that helps you get through this genuinely tough time of year, I find it hard too... and really do have to take my own advice in this post. Sometimes it feels like I'm just going through the motions, but then everything feels a bit like this at this time of year, and I suppose that if it does feel like that, you've probably made health and fitnesst habits / part of your life! Bring on actual Christmas when all this hoo-har build up is over!