The Challenge of Choices: December’s Eating and Work Out Plan

The Challenge of ChoicesI got all thrown off my eating plan the last few days. It was a combination of December gifts, a baby shower and going out to eat twice in one day. My work-outs have been light too.

In the 11 years since I’ve been working on getting more healthy and fit, I find this is a very normal occurrence in December. The trick is to get back on the plan and not say “Oh just forget it!! I’ll just start again in January.”

That’s the thought that used to get me in trouble. What does work for me is jumping back into my December plan. I’ve found that if I can restart again several times in December, my work in January is more like maintenance, not like starting over.

Here’s what happened:

On Friday, I had lunch with a friend and I made a reasonably healthy choice with a tabouli and hummus grilled pita wrap. After several hours of sitting in a work meeting, she and I walked around the town. It felt good to stretch my legs and it was good for the soul to enjoy the holiday decorations and festive lights. Special booths were set up where vendors displayed beautiful home made gifts. I indulged in some delicious gingerbread cookies with thick icing. German cookies, I forget their name (maybe Lebkuchen?)  but the taste was very intense. I’m sure pretty sure the recipe had molasses in it. I know it had brown sugar for sure and powdered sugar in the icing. I’ll pretend they were 200 calories each, but they tasted incredible.

Later that evening, after walking the track at the gym before dinner, I enjoyed a beer and split a Ruben sandwich with my husband for a Friday night date. Between the cookies, beer and grilled sandwich with corned beef/sourkraut, I was not surprised when I woke up Saturday morning with my finger joints feeling very swollen and very stiff.

On Saturday, my sister held a luncheon baby shower for my niece at her house. I brought the salad (spinach, feta and a variety of chopped veggies) to go with all the goodies she offered (pizza, jo-jo’s and beautifully decorated cupcakes!) Bonus – I loved that she had a huge tray of beautiful fruit for dessert as well as her lovely cupcakes.

When it was time to eat, I remembered some of the holiday party tips that Jill and I shared on the most recent podcast “Live Well to Eat Well” and navigated the tempting foods without guilt. Seconds on salad and fruit helped, but I enjoyed the pizza and jo-jo’s as well. There are definitely some challenges of choices, especially when there is fun and family involved.

A few hours later, I was back in the car for the hour ride back home. Between all the driving and party, I did a lot of sitting, but managed to get 13 flights of stairs in during the shower by offering to take the coats up to the bedroom. Without my FitBit I wouldn’t have realized that I did manage to add that to my exercise for the day.

Getting back to my plan:

After two days of indulging in foods that I usually don’t eat, I got back on track for my regular eating plan on Sunday and was happy to get a workout day in as well.

My workout was twenty minutes of strength training with weights with some other exercises, followed by an hour and fifteen minutes of gentle yoga, and several laps of walking the track.

The 20-minute workout looked like this:

  • 20 kettle bell swings
  • 20 KB squats
  • 20 KB push press
  • 20 KB dead lifts
  • wall sits
  • leg lift machine

Between each exercise, I rested about 20-30 seconds to get my heart rate down. It wasn’t a “huge, go-for-it” work out but a “get the muscles moving” work out. I find these are better to keep me coming back for more and not ending up with too sore or pulled muscles.

Sunday afternoon I prepared my food prep for the coming week: crock pot chicken cooked in olive oil and steamed/sauted vegetables (cabbage, carrots, celery, and onions) in chicken stock. I have plenty of go-to lunch or dinner starters by preparing this. Sticking to the plan during the next three or four days should be easier and that will help set me up for next week.

Next week will be an off plan week, since the gym will be closed for some of the days and there will be lots of family food, meeting friends out at restaurants and celebrations during Christmas week. I’m already thinking of ways to get more water, walking and work outs tucked into the week so I can start the new year in good shape.

How about you? What choices have you made this month? Do you modify your eating plan and workout plan for December?

2 thoughts on “The Challenge of Choices: December’s Eating and Work Out Plan”

  1. I’ve gotten better about watching what I eat because when I overindulge, I do pay for it. The other interesting thing I’ve found is how sugar makes me crave more. I never noticed it before, but since I don’t eat a lot of sweets, it’s pretty dramatic. Like a drug!

    1. I agree! I am trying to learn more about fats vs sugar. In particular, I’m trying to learn more about being insulin resistant and insulin sensitive as it applies to running. This is one of my action plan/goals for 2019. I think if I can figure it out, it’ll really help with my fueling challenges for the half marathons I’m working on. I go slowly between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hour to walk/run.

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