How many times have you thought about your health over the holidays?
It's the time of fall festivals and funnel cakes. Hot cocoa, pumpkin spice, latte's of every variety along with cookies and all sorts of delicatessens are at your fingertips.
And don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this time of year.
I enjoy hot, rich, cream filled drinks in the morning and a good bourbon with even better company in the evenings.
But I also never confuse the consumption of food or material items as the source of my holiday cheer.
The holidays are a special mixture of weather, music, movies, quality time with people I love. But make no mistake… while rich Food is a part of that cheer, we have to have limits.
In this article I'd like to share 2 Big Problems most people have when it comes to Health over the Holidays and what you can do about it…
Problem #1: “I'm just too busy, busier than I've ever been.”
As soon as we enter our 20s, 30s and 40s, things begin to move faster and faster. The speed is mixed with a few negatives and positives:
- You get less sleep, wake up stiff, sore and tired.
- Your sex hormones start doing weird things.
- Your ankles, knees and elbows start to crackle.
- You start snacking and overeating; especially in the evenings and with friends.
- You start to do less binge drinking, but you're more consistent with your “sophisticated” drinking.
- If you're lucky you've got a great career and it's positively challenging and rewarding.
- You're making more money than you were in your 20s.
- You've developed long-lasting relationships with people you can trust.
- You've built a family and it's become a center stage of focus.
- You're smarter (hopefully) and more experienced.
But regardless of the positives and negatives in your life… there are some things that are consistent no matter what.
- You have increased responsibilities at home.
- You have increased stress from work.
- You have less time to take care of your family, much less yourself.
And this is how we end up with a mid life slump. We've got gym memberships that we hardly ever use. There's those healthy recipes that never get made and we've come to live in a body that we are not entirely proud of.
Who doesn't want to lose fat and build muscle? Of course you want that… but you just keep telling yourself that you don't have the time for it.
And you just keep telling yourself the same story, over and over… I'll get to it. Someday.
According to Healthy Psychologists, most adults are so stressed out with work and family obligations that they don't feel like they hae the time or energy to “really commit” to better nutrition and exercise in their life.
And this is just a big lie.
Part of the problem is that when we feel busy and stressed, we simply allow our “busy schedules” to overtake our health.
Combine this with ridiculously huge fitness goals that will never be hit, and you've got a recipe for a vicious cycle of failed attempts at getting healthier.
Solution #1: Embrace Minimalism
How many times have you heard me say, “Progress is better than Perfection.”
The truth is, you don't have to spend hours in the gym to get in shape.
You can do a full workout, at-home workout (minimal equipment), quick workout (push ups/squats/lunges) or simply stretch.
If your workout is too hard… then modify or scale the workout to make it doable.
The goal is to simply do something rather than nothing.
Here's a weekly workout plan that takes less than 1 hour per week:
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
|15 minutes||6 minutes||15 minutes||15 minutes|
|Pushups X 10 reps||2 minute walk||Plank 45 second||Walk/Run/Bike/Swim|
|Airsquats X 20 reps||15 sec sprint||Crunches X 10 reps||Maintain steady breathing through your nose|
|Lunges X 10 reps each leg||Rest 15 sec||Side Plank 45 sec|
|Rest 1 minute||Repeat 5X||Rest 1 minute|
|Repeat 5X||2 minute walk||Repeat 5X|
As you can see, the above workout takes no equipment, very little time and can be done anywhere… even if you're traveling.
The important thing to remember is repetition and consistency. I would also add that you can continue doing the above workout and simply make each successive workout more challenging every time you do it.
Problem #2: You Know What to Do, You're Just Not Doing It.
This is honestly the mother of all problems. Scientists report that approximately 65% of people report struggling with their health because they cannot stay consistent.
Why is that?
Because most of the time, we are just solving surface problems with surface solutions.
- Don't have a gym to train at? No problem… here's a virtual workout.
- Want to track your calories? Here's an app.
- Want to know how many steps you're taking or hours you're sleeping? Here's a bracelet thing.
And all these do help to track progress and stay focused… for a little while.
What they don't do is account for the ups and downs of everyday life.
They don't adapt to your life which does nothing for helping you to stay consistent.
So what do we end up doing when we're not consistent? We pick another surface solution…
- We switch from Paleo to Intermittent Fasting or Keto
- We switch from Yoga to Strength Training, From Kickboxing to Crossfit.
- We switch from working out at 6 AM to 7 PM
- We start taking a new brand of vitamins or add apple cider vinegar with cayenne pepper (…that'll do the trick right?).
Solution #2: Own Your Life, Be Accountable and Focus on The One Thing!
Instead of trying to change everything about the way you eat right now – which will just add to your stress levels – I would encourage you to follow the advice I give to any patient:
Pick one thing about the way you eat—the thing you think will make the biggest improvement to your nutrition—and focus on it exclusively for a couple of weeks. Click to tweet
Once you’ve been consistent for 2 to 3 weeks, then pick another thing to try.
The goal is to practice simple, strategic actions that build over time.
So how do you know what thing to pick? Easy. Just ask yourself this question:
“What’s the one thing I could do right now to feel better about my nutrition?”
Chances are you have a good idea on what you need to do.
Here’s a short list of what some of my patients have shared with me the last few weeks:
Goal: Drink Less.
Action: Instead of drinking two beers every night, have one beer.
Goal: Eat less junk food.
Action: Instead of stopping in for a burger or taco for lunch, go to a grocery store and get a pre-made salad with chicken on it.
Goal: Reduce carbohydrates.
Action: Rather than having both a burger and fries, pick one or the other and add a salad in place.
The idea here is to pick the one nutrition practice that will make the biggest impact on your body and health right now.
Do you need help becoming the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of yourself?
Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.
Over the past 15 years, I've worked with now over 15,o00 people (that's a lot of people) to lose fat, get stronger and improve their overall health… beyond simply adjusting their spine.
All these people came from different walks of life, had different occupations and a variety of challenges that were all unique to them. And despite all these differences, the truth is that when you're held accountable and you personally decide to follow through solid health recommendations, you will see change.
If you need help in any of these categories then consider signing up for my Functional Medicine membership.