The season of decadence kicks off with Halloween for the kids. Then a month later comes Thanksgiving for the whole family here in the US. Finally December turns into a month-long binge of dietary decadence and overload. We are all celebrating something and trying to forget other things. We try to keep the guilt switch turned off until January 1. But there are ways to have the best of times with friends and family without it coming at the cost of health and fitness. Here’s how.
This is key! There is nothing like 30-60 minutes of sweating from a workout to help counter all the decadence of the last couple months of the year. It flushes all the bad stuff out and burns off some of the extra calories that we can take it.
Make a commitment to it rather than having it something you are going to wake up and see if you are in the mood to do something. Yes, you can give yourself a few free passes for nights when you really did stay up way too late and sleep is the best remedy for balancing it all out. But try to keep those to a day a week.
The others put a short and simple workout in the non-negotiable column of life along with going to work and taking care of your kids. It may not be the easiest thing at the start of each session, but you will thank yourself at the end of it.
This is one of the biggest for people. Celebration time usually comes with lots of sweets. So go for it! Yes, enjoy a bit of everything when you are gathered with friends and family at special events. But then dodge the sugar in your own home.
Clean the house out of anything that is sugary and would tempt you. By doing that, you don’t need any will power to resist another sugary treat in your own home because it’s not there. Of course there will be some occasions when your house is where the gathering happens. So treat it as such. Enjoy it, but then the next day clear out the fridge of the stuff that is going to add the extra pounds of nonfunctional fat.
One of the best ways to keep your whole system fresh in a time of decadence is by overloading on deep greens. They tend to counter the addictive effects of overindulgence. These unique foods will take the edge off of sugar cravings. They will add nutrients that can get depleted with going into a phase of decadence. And best of all, if you prepare them right, you’ll crave them even more than the goodies being passed around on the party platter.
What are these greens? Arugula, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, spinach and mustard greens. What don’t fit the bill that you might think do? Every kind of lettuce. Yes, all those salads you are eating at lunch in hopes of countering what you indulged in last night just don’t pack the punch to get you over the hump.
They key is to have them on hand along with garlic, salt, onions, spicy peppers and soy sauce. Sautéing any of these will be a huge addition to anything else you are eating at a meal. Arugula can be put on a tortilla with hummus, avocado and eggs in the morning.
The same can be eaten at lunch as your salad that you are looking for. But the arugula is going to give you the nutrient density and the bitter taste to temper your craving for all the decadence that lies ahead at the office party. Then in the evenings, sauté any of the other greens and you can add them to just about any main course you can think of.
Did I already say this! Nothing has to be intense or long or groundbreaking. It’s just about getting up each day with your commitment to move.
As the days get shorter in the northern hemisphere, it’s good to reflect this in your workouts. Draw back from your summer routine. Slow things down and cut their length back. The effects on your physical and mental health will actually sink in with less than what you need to do in the summer.
And best of all, the impact during the season of decadence will be dramatic. Weight gain will slow. Your desire for one more will be tempered. And even when you do indulge in some decadence, you know you have your counterweight ready to launch the next day. So enjoy and commit!
I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.