Forget about the holidays. Aside from truly elite, paid athletes, or people who make their living by looking good, 99.9% of us are going to eat more, eat worse, and work out less over the holidays. The question comes down to “how bad?” You need to manage your portions, push the seconds away, and stay away from the sweets. However, the temptations are greater than during the rest of the year because it is a celabratory time for some and a “break out the self medication, I hate this time of year” for others. Either way, unless the stakes are high (you make $120 an hour as a swimsuit model or you run back punts for an NFL team), you will most likely have “diet fails” during the holidays.
But what about the little things you do 365 days a year? How much do they really contribute?
1) the morning drink: are you a 200 calorie soda guy like me? This is my number one struggle. Caffeinated, carbonated beverages as a kickstarter. I fail miserably at cutting these out every time I try. Tomorrow I will stop drinking them.
2) breakfast: Do you eat it? Do you eat crap from a convenience store when you do? I either don’t eat it, or I eat a sandwhich out of the warm rack at a convenience store. On really bad days I eat sugary crap from a snack machine. Tomorrow I will get my ass out of bed a little earlier (there is no excuse for this as my signifcant other wakes me up super early anyway), and I will eat a good breakfast at home.
3) lunch: I eat out almost everyday. It is nearly impossible for a busy professional NOT to eat out at times, but my choices could be better. Not to mention the money I’ll save. Tonight I will pack my lunch for the next two days (and remember it in the morning).
4) back to the snack machine: Does that mid afternoon snack attack get you? Is there absolutely nothing that isn’t mostly sugar in your office snack machine? It is high time I bring that bucket of peanuts in here and set it by my desk. (not to mention the money I’ll save)
The point to all this is that there are going to be times when we fail at eating right. The holidays increase the number of temptations. However, if we look at our day to day diet for the other 10 or 11 months, we’ll find there are PLENTY of opportunities to do better with our eating.
It is the small things that add up. I don’t expect anyone to adopt a drastic eating plan change and stick with it. Most of us, unless faced with harsh medical realities, aren’t capable of making such drastic changes, and even then, some don’t (see: heart patients who smoke and drink). Changing your life is about baby steps. Very few people wake up and run a marathon at will, but most of us can go out tonight and run for fifteen minutes. Most of us can cut something out or alter something in our diet TODAY. Old habits die hard, so start stabbing them!