A Holiday Recipe for Abs
The next several weeks promise to be a whirlwind of festivities, from company celebrations to Secret Santas, gift baskets, family dinners, and parties with friends. All your favorite seasonal treats are on the menu, and if you're like me, you might be planning to bake a few too! This is my favorite time of year. But while I fully plan on taking advantage of all this season has to offer, I'm also mindful of my nutrition and fitness goals.
There's something you need to know: "abs are made in the kitchen." What I mean is, the foundation of that six pack and lean bod you've been striving for is based on what you eat! Exercise is important (I would say vital) but it is the 20%, not the 80% of how you look. I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer over here, but . . . you can't outwork a bad diet.
While you're still absorbing the shock of that knowledge bomb, let me help you with your next question. How do I stick to plan when plied with all those treats on the daily?! True fact: you have only so much will power. Mindful control requires energy, and there is a finite source of it that eventually runs out. That's why habits are so important. Habits shape behaviors that are automatic. If you make good nutrition and fitness a habit, you spend less energy controlling cravings because it becomes second nature to you. If you don't believe me, you can check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and let him persuade you.
So, over the next several weeks, here are a few habits I'd recommend. Ready? We can practice them together.
1. Save macros for occasions and treats that truly matter to you rather than mindlessly noshing on whatever foods can be found around the office. For me, I'd so much rather enjoy homemade Christmas cookies in my best friend's kitchen than the office donuts someone brought from the local Top Pot! If it helps, buddy up with a friend in the office who can help you stay accountable.
2. Plan ahead. If you have multiple events in a given week, decide which events you're going to ease up and which events you're going to stick to plan. I have five parties in two weeks, so I know I have some decisions to make!
3. Don't show up hungry. Trust me, I've been there. Eat a filling and satisfying snack or meal depending on your goals prior to showing up to the event. Remember, solid foods, protein, fat, and fiber take longer for your stomach to digest, so these foods will keep you feeling full for longer.
4. Input your treats at the beginning of the day so that you save macros for them. Maybe it's not social situations that are your downfall. Maybe it's coming home at the end of a long day and seeing that tin of freshly baked ginger molasses cookies staring you in the face. That's ok. If you know that's a temptation for you, put one or two in your macros at the beginning of the day before you've even eaten them. Instead of a temptation at the end of the day, those cookies become a treat to look forward to!
5. If you fall off the wagon, don't throw up your hands in despair and surrender (even if only for the rest of the day). I once heard someone say this response is similar to a paint scratch, followed by repeatedly ramming your car. I had to laugh at the absurdity of it, and when you think about it, it's just as absurd to respond this way with your nutrition. Shake it off, put on your big girl panties, and get back on track with your next meal.
6. Work out regularly. Because it's good for you in so many ways. Because when you work out, you can eat more. Your body needs more fuel in order to withstand all that activity. Don't take this the wrong way--what I mean is that working out means more macros. What you eat should still fit into them.
And because working out relieves stress and gives you feel-good endorphins. It's like giving yourself (and everyone else) the gift of the best version of you every day. Could you ask for anything more?
So there you have it babes; my holiday recipe for rock hard abs! We're in this together, so let me know if there's any habits you typically incorporate and if any of these work for you. Cheers!