Holiday Health Hurdles and How to Handle Them

by Coach Stevo
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Holiday Health Hurdles and How to Handle Them

1000 years ago people thought of winter as a time of scarcity. Less food. Nothing fresh. Less warmth. Less sunlight. People often wondered if they’d make to Spring. Now we wonder if our waistlines will make it to Spring without doubling.

The holidays are a time when our priorities get, well, jumbled. When daylight is short and cookies are plentiful. But when I work with clients we don’t see excuses, we see hurdles. And I thought I’d collect come of the most common Holiday Hurdles I’ve healed people with and share some of the tactics we’ve used to get over them.

  • “I don’t have enough time.” It’s a popular sentence around this time of year. Last time I checked there were still 24 hours in holidays as well as regular days. The issue here isn’t “time,” it’s priorities. What clients usually mean is, “I don’t have enough time to exercise with everything else going on.” And that’s a solvable problem: You just need to make your workouts shorter. How short? Pick up something heavy and carry it as far as you can every day from now until January 1st. It’ll take 3-4 minutes and you don’t even have to change clothes. The point is to do something so you don’t lose the habit.
  • “It gets dark out so I can’t workout outside.” Workout inside. You can carry heavy things up your stairs, do push ups, squats, even lunges while you hold your baby. Again, the point is to do something. Anything. The Minimum Effective Dose is whatever you do.
  • “Sweets are everywhere.” I want you to get out a tape measure. Measure the distance from your chest to your the tip of your fingers with your arm fully extended. Got that? Great. All you need do is stay that far away from sweets. When you go to a party, congregate on the other side of the room from the buffet. When people put out holiday candy in the office, never walk by it without holding something in both hands so you can’t reach for it.
  • “The holidays are overwhelming, so I eat comfort foods.” The easiest way to stop an unwanted habit is to replace it with a desired habit. So, look for those triggers. Are you comfort eating because you need to escape the pressures of Holiday planning? Then pick something else that feels like an escape and try doing that instead. I had a client that knew she would stress eat in the holidays so she and her husband made a deal: from Thanksgiving to New Years, every time she wanted to eat junk food, she would ask for a footrub intead. And every time he noticed her eating mindlessly, he would just say, “honey would you like a foot rub?” She told me it was the best winter ever.
  • “The portions are so huge!” If you are out at a restaurant, think of every entree as two. Either split it with a partner or take the other half home. If you are at a party with a buffet, use a dessert plate instead of a dinner plate (this works!).
  • “I eat things I don’t even want just because they’re there.” Eat what you want before the party. If you’re full, you’re less likely to snack mindlessly (assuming you remember how long your arm is from the tape measurement) and you don’t have to rely on food you don’t want for sustenance.

The Holidays are hard, but they are a lot harder if you think of these problems as inherent instead of solvable. So think ahead to what you have coming up and start making a plan!

Have you have a great holiday hurdle solution? Tell us in the comments below!

About the Author

Coach Stevo

Coach-Stevo-Logo.pngCoach Stevo is the nutrition and behavior change consultant at San Francisco CrossFit. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago and an MA in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. He teaches habit-based coaching to wellness professionals all over the world and he contributed to Intervention by Dan John in 2012. 



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