When December Bites Back!

Staying on track

We are in the third week of December and the third week of the December Challenge… we hope you are all still focused on completing it.

This is the week when this could really stretch your comfort zone, and push your limits, to stay on track.  But stick with it, because if you experience even the slightest morsel of success it will breed future success. Remember the story of Rick parking his car at Tesco and then using that 13 years later to give him the impetus to train for the 10k race?

This is the time when it’s probably going to get tricky. The ‘Christmas Do’ season is in full swing and we are really busy getting everything ready for Christmas.   This means our routines change, we aren’t doing the usual things, at the usual times and there’s the potential for the odd hangover to completely throw you off track, not just from the calories consumed with the alcohol, but with the kebab on the way home and the MacDonald’s breakfast the day after to make it all better!

This is when all the qualities that we have talked about in the past few weeks are going to come into play. You will need to have a purpose or reason for doing this, you will need to have some self belief that you can achieve your goals and most importantly and relevant for this next couple of weeks, you will need to stay focused in the face of distractions.

What’s your purpose?

We have talked about having a purpose? What’s your purpose for completing this challenge? Is it because you want a nice bum? Or is it because you simply want to see if you can? Are you trying to break a bad habit?  Perhaps you’re more determined than that – do you want to show someone or yourself, that you can do this every single day, despite it being the busiest time of the year? Do you want to give yourself a kick start into the new year, to go on to bigger and better things in 2019? Is this linked to a longer term goal?

Don’t make this another fad, that you start and give up on – see it through to the end.

Ultimately – it must be really important to you. Otherwise, everything else will just take over.

Rach has started Dry January every January for the last 4 years. Has she ever got to the end of January without a drop of alcohol passing her lips? Never! Do you know why? It’s not because she has a drink problem,  but she always caves about the second weekend, when her husband is coaxing her to have a drink – and it’s not Johnny’s fault.  It’s because it’s not important enough to her to see it through to the end. She just doesn’t care enough!

However, enter Rach in a half marathon, and she will 100% make sure that she undertakes every training run, and gives it her all on the day, and not stop until she crosses that finish line.

Undeniably completing a half marathon training program is physically harder than not having an alcoholic drink for 31 days, but to Rachel, it is more important to her that she completes that half marathon to show herself and everyone around her that she can do it. Because of how important it is, there is no way that it won’t happen.

Believe in yourself!

We will all have had times in our lives when we really believed we could achieve something and this gave us the drive and determination to complete it. We need to draw on the feeling we had during that time to get to the end of this challenge. You need to believe that even when you are running around like a headless chicken on Saturday 22nd December with your Mad Friday hangover, and 15 presents still to buy, that this challenge is that important to you, that you WILL still get it done for that day.

Stay focused!

Staying focused on your goal means, that you must plan the heck out of it! Plan when and how you are going to do it. Look at your diary in advance, are there days this week, that will throw you off track? If so, on those days, you need to up the planning to make sure you can fit it in that day.

Is your challenge a physical one, or a food related one?

For physical ones you need to ensure that the time of day you plan to do it, means that it will happen every day. What’s the best time of day to plan to do something to make sure it happens? Only you can answer that. For Rach, its early morning as soon as she gets up. For Rick, it changes week by week, but by Sunday has a plan in place for the next 7 days.

For other people, mornings might be too busy, so it might be once the kids have been dropped off at school, or in your lunch break.  But remember – you don’t have lunch breaks on your days off, so you will need to work out what you will do on the days that you aren’t at work. It could be as soon as you get in from work before you start on tea or go to classes/evening activities. Again – what happens on the weekends/days off? Do you need to put notes up in prominent places to remind you to do it? Or set a reminder in your phone at the time you plan to do your challenge? Is there anything else you should do to keep you focused on completing your daily challenge? Do you need to be in a particular place to do your challenge? Can you definitely get there every day? If not, what’s your contingency?

If it’s a food or calorie related challenge, this could be much trickier, particularly in December. If you have set a challenge to stick to your calories for all of December, what will you do when you are going out for Christmas Parties? Do you know what you are going to eat and drink beforehand or are you going to pick your food at the venue? Could you ring and ask for a copy of the menu, so you can make your choice beforehand – before the alcohol kicks in? Do you really need/want to drink at every party? Could you drive? Is there anything else you could do to keep your calories on track?

Finish Strong!

We really want you to finish this year on a high, completing this challenge when everyone around us is giving up on their ‘health kicks’ and good habits. Don’t leave it till January. Enjoy the parties, but remember this is a new lifestyle, not a fad that we are on, we are changing our behaviour for the long term, something that we will do forever.

Top tips for staying on track in December (and the rest of the year!)…

  1. Think ahead! Plan each week in advance, then you can plan for what might throw you off track. Where are you going? What can you eat when you are there? Are you planning on over indulging? If so, do you need to rein it in a few days before and after?
  2. Plan your exercise properly! When are you specifically going to do it and is there a friend to do it with? Make a date with them, and don’t let each other down. You might need to change your usual routine slightly, but don’t give up on it altogether.
  3. If you can’t get to class, log into your account – weigh at home and enter your weight in your weight tracker, do a HIIT session from one of our on-line workouts, read the weekly article. This will keep your motivation and focus up.
  4. If you feel like you are struggling and need some support, log into the facebook group and interact with other members.
  5. If you are going to a party where there will be a buffet – eat before you go, and stay away from the buffet table.
  6. If you know you will be having a big meal, go really light on your meals for the rest of the day.
  7. Delay doing the big Christmas Shop until you really need to and don’t go mad. If you intend on having a box of chocolates in the house for Christmas Day – don’t buy it two weeks before because you will be back 3 or 4 times to replace it before Christmas.
  8. Do you really need a starter, roast dinner, Christmas pudding, cheese board and pate, followed by mince pies and cream on Christmas Day? Or will just the standard 2 or 3 courses do?
  9. If you really want to try something, share it with a friend or your partner – calories shared are calories halved!
  10. Most importantly don’t let a set-back knock you off track for ever. Get up fast! – dust yourself down and just get on with it again. It’s not the end of the world – it’s called life, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it – enjoy the moment and then rein it in again.

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