As the holidays wind down, you may be noticing a few extra inches around your midsection. You may also be thinking about New Year’s resolutions to make them go away. Sometimes it feels like it should suddenly become easy to stop the binge sessions after the holiday treats are gone. But it’s still winter. You’re still probably craving warm, carb heavy meals. You’re still probably dreading going out in the cold to make it to the gym or run around the block after a little too much comfort eating. We’re here to tell you there is hope! Here are some simple ideas to help you keep your eating on track so you can keep up with your running schedule.
1. Plan your workout, including your pre-workout food. You don’t have to go too planner crazy here. Simply have a plan of when you’re working out and how you’re managing your food before hand. If you don’t have it planned, you’re not going to get it done. And if you don’t plan your food, you’re much more likely to get thrown off course, even if you’ve made a plan for your workout. If you’re heading to the gym first thing in the morning, this is pretty easy to do. Just have something ready to grab when you wake up. If you’re working out later in the day, arrange your lunch or dinner times to give your stomach time to settle before your workout. Make sure you also know whether or not it will be a while after a meal before you can workout. Have something with you that you can eat closer to your workout so you still have energy. Make sure to plan accordingly so you can’t use a full stomach or an empty stomach as a way out of your workout. That’s the biggest take-away here. Having a plan gives you less excuses to skip your workout.
2. Clean out your pantry. After the holidays you probably have some goodies laying around. Unless you have crazy willpower, it’s incredibly difficult to stay on track when you have your favorite cheat foods around the house. Go through your house, your cupboards, your pantry, your nightstand… wherever you tend to stash treats and just get rid of them. Then, do not restock. If there are foods you just can’t resist or you just can’t stop eating once you’ve started, don’t even bring them into the house. It’s much easier to hold yourself accountable if you remove temptation.
3. Find healthier alternatives to what you’re craving. This can sound scary at first, but you can tailor it however you want. If you know you’ve been craving baked goods and just can’t get over it, find a recipe that uses less sugar and hides fruits or veggies inside, then decide what your limit is. Wait until after you’ve eaten a meal so your stomach is more full. The more full you are, the more satisfied you will be after your treat instead of craving more. You’re much less likely to overindulge if you give yourself what you want, but have a limit and eat slowly so you enjoy it. If you just want something warm and filling, find a healthy soup and bread recipe. Switch your hot chocolate or warm latte for a regular coffee or herbal tea. Play around and find things that give you the same satisfaction with less calories and more nutrition.
4. Tell someone close to you about your goals. Don’t do this alone. Tell someone you live with or see daily what your goals are and ask them to help you hold yourself to them. Make sure it’s someone who can be real with you and tell you when you need to get it together. You’re much more likely to stick to something if someone knows that you’re doing it and will ask you about it regularly.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. So many of us end up giving up on goals, resolutions, eating plans, workout plans, etc. because of guilt. We miss a few runs and then use those missed runs to justify missing more runs since we’re already ‘failing’ in our own eyes. Or we go a little crazy at the buffet for lunch and then continue it through dinner and then throughout the next week because we already ruined our diet anyway. Not. Worth. It. It’s fine to miss days here and there. It’s fine to indulge every once in awhile. What’s not okay is continuing to beat ourselves down because we aren’t perfect. Nobody is. Think of the most fit, put together person you know. They’ve missed days too. They’ve gone crazy at dinner too. The difference is, they got over it and moved on with their plan. Just because you didn’t do what you wanted yesterday, doesn’t mean that today is already ruined. Guess what, tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. Your life is in your hands. Pick yourself back up, forgive yourself and move on.
How do you keep yourself on track during the winter months? Let us know on Facebook! And of course, when these tips help you get to the starting line of your next race, be prepared with Race Bib Tape.