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Just another Magic Monday and today we’re going to deal with Step 3 of your Healthy Holiday Setback Strategies, Identify Your High-Risk Situations.


Exercise is at high risk when you’re over scheduled or your schedule is interrupted. Remember you can’t control all situations, interruptions due to injury, illness, and family responsibilities such as ill family members you must take care of are not within your control. Just tell yourself you will get back to your routine as soon as possible and make a future date with yourself to plan a date to begin again. Write it down. Most people forget this step. The very act of writing it down makes it real.

There are high risk situations you can make plans for, social activities, heavy workloads and travel. I would even venture so far as to say that planning is the key to staying on track with exercise and avoiding situations that put your established habits in danger. Think ahead over the month of December. Pull up your schedule on your Smart Phone, open your Day Timer or go to your calendar and schedule your exercise ahead, at least a week in advance just like you would any important appointment. This is an important appointment.

Don’t let an illness or an injury prevent you from exercising permanently. Use the same planning technique. Look for ways to start back in slowly. Ask your physician and plan the date when you’ll begin again. Write it down. There are plenty of medical websites dedicated to exercise after surgery. When I had abdominal surgery, my Dr. gave me excellent advice about when and how to begin exercising again.  I bounced back faster because I made the commitment to get up and get moving. I can’t say it was easy but I was certainly proud of the fact that I didn’t gain one pound over a six-week recovery period. If I can do it, anyone can. Always check with your physician first.

Your Healthy Eating Plan

Worried about eating out during the holidays? It’s remarkable how many restaurants post their menus online. You can plan your meal right down to the sides before you head out the door saving yourself being tempted by what someone else might choose.

High risk situations often include specific foods like sweets, snack foods and fast food cravings. You don’t have to be stressed in order to overeat either. Mad, glad, sad or afraid can also trigger high risk situations that lead to set backs.

Determine what foods you want most often when you’re happy, mad, sad or stressed and have low-fat, low-calorie substitutions on hand. Veggies and fruit are always good and should be a staple. But they don’t always do the trick. Popcorn in 100 calorie servings, ginger snaps and dark chocolate can often stop a craving in its tracks. One piece of 70% dark chocolate is my magic craving zapper of choice. It feels a little indulgent and it’s good for you too!

Traveling this holiday season? What if the weather is terrible or you don’t want to use the hotel gym? Bring an exercise DVD to slip in your laptop so you can exercise. Is there an exercise app? I bet there is. ( If there is I’d love to hear from you in comments) Stretchy bands that you can pack in your suitcase are great for quick resistance exercises.

I’ve learned to enjoy the challenge of exercising while traveling and I always seem to find ways to work in a walk, DVD or weight training no matter how hectic the schedule. Before I leave on a trip I think about what’s on my travel schedule and write in spots where I see the best time for exercise. If it doesn’t work out to exercise in that time slot or on that day my brain seems to automatically search for hidden blocks of time when I can exercise. It’s really kind of fun because I feel so darn good afterwards. That’s a hard feeling to give up.

As you can see, Step Three is all about planning and writing it down so you can stick with your healthy habits. Don’t decide that because times are stressful or because it’s the holidays that you can just throw everything you’ve worked for out to the four winds. If you do this, you probably won’t come back to your good habits and the cycle of weight gain will start all over again. I know because I’ve done it.

On the opposite side, once I started pre-planning and working around every stressful, happy, sad, glad point in my life I’ve found that the pre-planning habit builds on itself and becomes extremely fulfilling. You feel better because you ate right, you exercised and you planned. Success builds on success J

What about you? Was there a time when you preplanned what you would eat or when you would exercise and it worked out well? How do you navigate stressful times and stick with your healthy habits? I’m always open to new strategies and would love to hear from you.

Eating Well has some excellent recipes for the holidays, everything from healthy cookies to healthy cocktails. Brew yourself a cup of tea or grab your coffee cup and be prepared to be dazzled.  I love this site. Although I don’t like the title of this post LOL – Fat For The Holidays?  her nutrition and exercise tips are excellent. You have to check out the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve Calorie Counter while you’re there. I’ve decided it’s going into my tool box of strategies as a pre-planning tool. Total up your calories and a handy-dandy calculator will tell you how long you’ll have to walk to burn it off.  I did a fantasy meal (things I used to eat in the past ) and YIKES! What an eye opener.

Have a lovely day and for those of you living here in the U.S. have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!