By: Dave McGillivray, for Rainier Fruit

With the holidays now upon us, many of us find it increasingly challenging to stay focused on our fitness schedule, our health habits, our diet and our daily workout routines.  Let’s face it, we are all busy and daily life just seems to get in the way and sometimes can derail our best intentions and what we started way back in the spring and were doing so well with.

How do you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of getting a little lackadaisical and consuming way more calories and eating food “pleasing to the eye” which seems to be all around us and everywhere we go?  With all the parties, celebrations and functions you are obligated to attend, how do you keep up with your exercising and fitness routine?  For most, this is the time of year everything starts to fall apart at the seams. So, how do you prevent all this from happening to you?

It’s called DISCIPLINE. You need to think beyond today and where you want to be a few weeks or months down the road. You are not going to get there if you break the rules today. Believe that anything is possible but you have to be willing to accept the sacrifices involved to get there.

A few tips, personal experiences, and suggestions:

  • It’s about making a commitment and sticking to it. One thing that I do is not only make a commitment to myself, but when I truly decide that I want to do something, I tell a few folks close to me that I am doing it and that pretty much seals the deal!
  • Be realistic about your goals and be patient throughout the process. If you are not ready, then hold off until you are ready. You need to set yourself up for success, not failure.
  • Take a holistic approach to everything you do. Most just focus on physical improvements but you should not neglect how things affect you mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Feeling good about yourself during the holiday season is important, too. Performing a few acts of kindness and not just buying gifts is a way of giving back and receiving even more in return.
  • By having a plan and staying ahead of things, you reduce the level of stress that most people become victims of, especially this time of year.
  • If you are going to parties or functions, get there early, stand near the door and say hi to everyone as they come in. In only a short time, you have said hi to just about everyone in the room. Then you are free to leave more on the early side, thus not staying up until all hours of the night. Maintaining proper rest and sleep is always important.
  • If you can avoid it, try not drinking alcohol. And if you have to, you should limit yourself to one or two at the most. I have found that this alone is what can totally disrupt your routine.
  • Before you go to a party or function, I would suggest you have your meal before you go. Eat what you normally eat because once you get to where you are going, they most likely will not be providing what you want or what is necessarily healthy food. If you haven’t eaten and you are starving, you succumb to eating almost anything put in front of you.
  • As with everything, let your conscience be your guide. Most people know what is good for them and what is not.  If you know it is not good, don’t do it.
  • Don’t break the rules. I did that for most of my life and paid the price for it when I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. However, since I got this warning I have made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle and have not swayed once from that commitment thus saving myself. I am now as fit and as healthy as I ever have been in my entire life.

The bottom line is even though it is the holiday season and there are many distractions that make it challenging to maintain your routines, there is always a way to get it done and there really are no excuses why you can’t do it.  Even if you have to modify things a bit, you can do it if you want it bad enough.

Happy Healthy Holidays!