Get Ahead Of It

Fall is my favorite season of the year! When I was a little kid, I couldn’t wait to get back to school and see my friends, go camping, and seeing all the leaves fall and the trees turn beautiful colors. I also really enjoyed the change in weather and that refreshing chill in the air. Labor Day starts it all, then it's Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and then capped by New Years. The months were packed with endless fun activities! Nowadays the season still represents endless fun and activities, but with it comes tons of food, stress, and did I mention TONS of FOOD? There is a plethora of candy, cakes, desserts, treats, festive food, parties and traffic! Oh, and now the food industry is jumping on the bandwagon too by pushing holiday themed foods earlier and earlier (as if the toys, clothes, and gadgets weren't enough). In fact, I was just shopping a few weeks ago at my local grocer and they had pumpkin themed everything and everywhere. They had pumpkin flavored bagels, pumpkin granola, pumpkin flavored ice cream, pumpkin spiced coffee, and even pumpkin flavored cream cheese. Talk about overkill! I even saw the first Christmas tree and Friendship Cake at one of the mega big box retailers just the other day. Yikes – SO SOON! So, not only is there access to tons of food, but also strong subliminal messages to eat and eat and eat!

Each year I have clients that ask me what they can do around this time of year! They ask me “How do I keep the pounds from creeping on”, or “How do we navigate this time of year and avoid those extra unwanted pounds”. Oftentimes people are looking for the “magic pill,” or that secrete plan that will keep them from going over board, but actually it’s much simpler than that. I tell clients that it’s about “getting ahead of it”! It’s about getting ahead of the season and incorporating just ONE small change that can make the biggest impact. In other words, think BIG but act small and consistent. For example, one of my clients started walking for just 5 minutes everyday, and now he’s walking with his wife and dog for 30 minutes. He started small but he found ways to increase the walks over time. The walking helped keep him from eating out of boredom, grabbing a beer or drink to ease the tension of the day, and the walks helped with his sleep. It's the small things that really add up over time! So, not getting ahead means relying on New Years Resolutions with unreachable and unrealistic goals like exercising everyday, eatting clean, sleeping early, and saving more money. Yea, we know how that goes! GET AHEAD OF IT! Think BIG but act SMALL and let the consistency of change really take place. We know change is hard, but we adapt to small changes so much better.

Take a look at my 5 main “Get Ahead of It” season ideas.

  1. Make One Healthy Meal – Make at least one healthy meal in bulk each week. This helps me get ahead of the week and have leftovers that I can mix and match with other food options during the week. My wife and I often make something healthy in the crock-pot on Sundays like BBQ chicken breast (see my Alma del Sur recipe) and pair it with rice and broccoli one night, quinoa and kale chips another night, or add on top of a salad or sandwich bread. Simple and quick recipes in the slow-cooker are a great way to get ahead of the week.
  2. Invert Your Funnel – You may remember from my Invert Your Funnel blog I talked about starting the day with a balanced breakfast, and how research shows that a balanced breakfast helps start the body’s metabolism, avoid mood swings, and helps people reduce strong urges, cravings, and desires. Take a look at some of my great breakfast ideas.
  3. Pause – Take a 5-20min break each day to just relax, read a book, take a nap, go for a walk, do some meditation, deep breaths, or just spend some quality time with your family and friends. Research shows that taking breaks often allows us to regroup, freshen our thoughts, rationalize, and better react to problems and changes in a day. It’s a way of getting ahead of the season!
  4. Play Time – Find ways to have fun. Go out with family or friends to non-food related events. Do a tour-of-homes, go to the museum, go see a comedy show, volunteer with a home-building group, or a soup kitchen, or go on a hike. Do something fun and active and get away from the day-to-day grind especially this time of year.
  5. Move – Often people think they have to go to the gym or do some crazy boot-camp and sweat, but less is more. Look, I love my spin class, 20 mile hikes, and Aikido, but I also enjoy walking the dog or parking in the farthest parking spot. The body prefers movement to extremes. Research shows that more physical activity only increases hunger and the likelihood of injury. Try 5-15 minutes a day, but everyday.

As for me, I started a Hike To Healthy campaign. On the first Saturday of the month I plan to hike/walk a new metro Atlanta path. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to find out the location and come join me. It’s the first Saturday of each month at 8am. And remember – “tell yourself you can and you will.”