Today started with a donut and ended with a glass of wine and zero guilt. I don’t believe in depriving yourself and I have absolutely no willpower. Instead, I rely on my passion for movement and love of the outdoors to keep me motivated to do what I need to do to balance the good with the bad. I focus on finding things that are fun for me and set aside time to connect with my family and myself through exercise and good food. Don’t dread the holiday season. With these six super easy tricks, you can stay lean and healthy this holiday season- or any day for that matter.
Forget long duration sustained cardio. Instead, focus on short bursts of intense movement.
On this particular day, I happened to go for a six-miler with my son, but I rarely run that far. I only did it this time because it was a good excuse to spend time with him and that was his training plan for the day.
You are better off running twenty minutes at a faster pace than sixty minutes slow. If you are new to running, do intervals.
I also surfed that day. Surfing is highly anaerobic and a great way to stimulate growth hormone which will help to balance your hormones to keep you leaner. You can also try more traditional forms of HIIT training, but if you aren’t getting the results you want, it may be time to hire a trainer (I happen to be married to an incredible one).
I can’t emphasize enough how important fresh air and getting Vitamin D from natural sunlight is for your health. Even if I’m not exercising, I always get outside for at least an hour a day. For me, there is peace in movement, and therefore, I am always finding an excuse to walk, bike, or skate somewhere- to the store, the coffee shop, the bakery for donuts, you name it. For time efficiency, look for ways to incorporate your exercise and the fresh air. Connecting with nature does wonders for your health.
Be A Warrior
I am a firm believer in a warrior style eating plan. The premise behind this is to detox during the day by eating only small amounts of protein, veggies, and nuts, but then sitting down to eat a huge dinner at night.
This seems to cause a lot of resistance for people. Isn’t it bad to not eat breakfast? Isn’t it bad to go to bed full? No, actually it’s very good for you. I go into a lot more detail on this in my book A Playful Life or you can purchase Ori’s book The Warrior Diet here and learn all the scientific reasoning behind it. Or… you can just give it a try this holiday season and see for yourself that it really does work.
I don’t usually start the day with a donut. My typical day is started with organic black coffee and maybe one egg or a slice of bacon. Then I’m on the trail, in the water, or up a rock wall, followed by a few hours of computer work before I finally shift gears and spend the next few hours eating. Yep, for me, dinner is a few hour ordeal. I always have a beer or glass of wine while chopping veggies for dinner. There are often appetizers of cheese and olives on the table. Then it’s a huge serving of protein and veggies and a small serving of sourdough bread with grass-fed butter.
So when you head to all those holiday parties, think warrior…small breakfast of protein or fat (nuts), exercise intensely, start with a drink, followed by fat (cheese and olives), then fill up on protein and veggies, and last enjoy a cookie or two.
Splurge on Real Food
Donuts are a horrible splurge. More than likely they are fried in rancid fat and made with GMO flour. One percent of the time, I let that slide even though I know it’s bad. However, ninety-nine percent of my splurges are on food that I can trace back to its source.
We make pies, muffins, cakes, and cookies ourselves with organic and non-GMO ingredients. We use grass-fed butter and olive or coconut oil. We avoid buying products that contain soy, high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated fats. If you do splurge on packaged products occasionally, offset it with more homemade monster salads and soups filled with veggies.
My Eat to Play course is loaded with more tips and recipes like this. Victor’s strategy is to have a protein shake before he goes to parties. Try our favorite protein powder- BioTrust Low Carb.
Connect with Your Breath
The fresh air and exercise are great, but you need to find time to reconnect with your breath and quiet your mind. Meditation is one way to accomplish this, however, I have that silly mantra—In movement there is peace—and the only way I can shut down my mind enough is through yoga. There are many forms of yoga and it’s good to find one that matches what your body and mind need. When I’m surfing a lot, I need to offset all those anaerobic bursts and tight shoulders with more yin style classes. If I’m hiking a lot, I need more vinyasa classes so that I can open up my hips in a variety of angles and get a workout in my upper body at the same time with all the chatturangas. Yoga is not about burning calories. It’s about creating wellness in your body and I promise the more wellness you have, the better your body will be at metabolizing your food.
Have an Intention
At its root, the holiday season is wonderful—it’s about giving, connecting, and appreciating. But we are all too familiar with what it can turn into—a rat race of commercialism and stress.
Take a few moments when you are connecting with your breath and ask yourself:
What’s my purpose this holiday season? What do I want it to look, smell, and feel like? How do I want to feel on December 26th?
If you are going through the motions of your day and trying to make everyone else happy but not yourself, that frustration and anger is going to build inside you and in the end, you will probably see it in your waistline and aches and pains that just won’t go away. You can’t do it all, nor should you try to. Choose what’s important to you and set up boundaries for yourself ahead of time.
This holiday season (and every day), forget about willpower and instead, be proactive in your life so you can indulge with little guilt. We are all crunched for time, but we all want to live long, enjoyable lives so:
- Set aside at least thirty minutes a day for intense exercise (preferably outdoors). The more playful and fun, the better!
- Find a reason to walk or ride to run an errand.
- Once or twice a week, connect with your breath and tune in to your intention.
- Fill your fridge with lots of protein, veggies, and healthy fats.
- Eat only a small amount of fat or protein during the day, but end it with a huge, healthy meal for dinner.
- Then, raise your glass and toast Your Playful Life! while indulging a little.