i don’t necessarily love halloween. maybe it’s because i don’t dig spending $100 on a silly costume i’ll never wear again. or perhaps it’s because i never have and never will like anything scary. why, i often wonder, do people intentionally scare themselves? and quite possibly i don’t heart halloween because it’s the beginning of the holiday mayhem that will consistently wreak health-havoc on us. in january everyone is gung-ho goal-getters. motivation waivers but re-surfaces in april/may pre-bathing suit season and stays fairly high through the end of the summer. and then halloween kicks off the spiral into health-hell with candy galore, and more often than not, sugary-spiked beverages. that slides right into turkey day which has created a culture of “it’s okay, it’s just one day” which then becomes a 4-day stuff-fest that consists of consuming a month’s worth of calories in just one holiday weekend. then christmas, albeit my favorite holiday, brings with it parties packed with food and festivities right up until new years eve where inevitably a majority of the population will imbibe to the point where they wake up on new year’s day with a hangover and a muffin top earned after two-months’ worth of indulgence. but, i digress.
it’s tough for even the most health-minded individual to stay on track during the holidays. and to some extent, you should enjoy yourself! but my question i want you to ask yourself is, how good will you feel come january 1st with an extra 5-10lbs to show for the “fun” you didn’t want to miss out on? now, i’m a fun person, if i might say so myself. and yet, i’ve learned how to partake in the festivities (in moderation). so maybe you don’t make substantial strides toward a 6-pack, but the goal is to maintain not gain!
so it’s one week til’ halloween. i have no costume. i have no party plans. and i am absolutely okay with it. but what i do have is a plan to rock this last week til’ halloween to kickstart the holiday season. for me it’s a momentum thing. some people take a slow and steady approach. that’s so not me. i’m all or nothing. black or white. and when i do something, i’m all in. the way i see the week ahead is kinda like getting a running start into the holiday season. while motivation is high, hit it hard, and when you see quick results, that’s what will keep you going on tough days. you can apply this to halloween or actually any week where you’re craving a “1-week-to-lean” kickstart. i hear all the time: “i have XXX event and i wanna drop 5lbs – what do i do?” ok first of all, keyword here is “healthy,” people. you can’t expect to put 5lbs on over the course of 6 months and lose it in 1-week. i’m all about (healthy), realistic results. and that said there are TRICKS to trigger your body and mind. while some of these may seem extreme, they are all healthy and actually sustainable. that said, i dare you to try these for one week and tell me how you feel. consider it an experiment: “what if i committed to this and it actually worked?” don’t just be a blog-pursuer, be a do-er!
i dare you.
GO PALEO: maybe it’s not a long-term choice for you, but i can personally attest to the quick results i see in my body when i eliminate grains completely and then slowly add back in oats and quinoa. feeling crazy? step it up a notch and knock-out any dairy and fruit for the week. so your meals are pretty much eggs/meat/protein, healthy fats, and tons of veggies. can’t bear to forgo your fruit? make different choices like opting for berries or grapefruit with your breakfast but getting in those natural sugars in either earlier in the day or right after your workout. not up for ditching grains cold turkey, check out the zone/block plan, but frankly it gets complicated!
FORGO VINO: except for 1 day. say you have a halloween party this saturday. plan on having 2 drinks max and opt for health(ier) options like wine or champagne, light beer, or a [insert liquor here - my fave is blueberry stoli] and soda so you’re not taking in crazy amounts of sugars. but that’s it! for one week, can you hang? i mean if you can’t forgo the adult beverages for a week just to see how your body responds, well you may want to see somebody for that! trust me, i enjoy my wine, but i also love to see results (more). then at the same time, make it a point to imbibe in some h20…agua…water. (i’m horrible at this FYI, so i’m holding myself accountable to doing this for a week!)
TRICK? NO TREAT: for one-week only, NO dessert. yes, this includes my beloved golden spoon. instead prepare to kill those sugar cravings with pre-made pumpkin protein muffins (make and freeze). lick those salty cravings with my recent obsession: pumpkin seeds. one good-size bag was only 230 calories, 22g fat, and 15g protein, and in all its salty yumminess i was expecting to see sodium out the wazoo, but it was only 20mg. what? the healthy fat and salt combo zapped my craving and filled me up so fast that i only finished half the bag. sweet craving hit around 8pm tonight actually operating on no sleep and (knowing me) not enough water. i literally meandered around target wanting to find just a square of dark chocolate. i put a full-size bar in my basket, went to check out, and all i could think of was that the short-term pleasure wasn’t worth derailing my long-term goal. bam – back it went! what? i impressed myself. me: 1, chocolate: 0.
BURN BABY BURN: scare the you-know-what outta any extra fat you’re packing by breaking a sweat. let me tell you this once-and-for-all: you will not get a 6-pack by doing crunches when those love handles and beer bellies are covering up any muscle you have under there! for 7 days commit to the following: 3 days of 30-45min cardio per day (maybe this is a class, the stepmill, a bike ride, whatever), 3 days of intense 20-25min heart-pumping interval sessions (so sprints, intervals on a machine, or even circuit training), and 1 day of active rest. what? you’re going to move every day? yes. yes you will survive. and yes, you will see results. that active day of rest can be a leisurely walk with the dog or an easy hike, but your body needs to recover.
GO TO FAILURE: 3 sets of 10 at a weight you’ve been doing for the past 3 years will be about as effective as 2 presidential candidates trying to make points over each other so neither one is heard. yes, something’s being said, but nothing’s being accomplished. so step it up. for 7 days i’m giving you permission to fail. and that means your workouts should be so tough that you shouldn’t be able to complete the last set of each exercise. get this guide with my fave 5 moves for each muscle group and plan it out. when really hittin’ the weights i love to just do one body part per session so i can totally focus on exhausting that one muscle group!
BUDDY UP: forward this blog post, tweet it, facebook it, pin it, or whatever else you can do with it and tag a friend with the words “i dare you.” get someone on board, not only to hold each other accountable but to push each other. my workouts have been rather blah for the past um, long time. and working out just the past few weeks with someone has not only stepped up the intensity of my workouts, but it has me excited to hit the gym again. it doesn’t hurt that he’s an amazing trainer and he’s easy to look at, but hey – whatever it takes, right?
WRITE IT ALL DOWN: yes, the creator of fitbook i might be, but first and foremost i’m human so i slip every now and then. and then i found this article stating that food journaling and goal-setting is still highly effective if you do it the “majority” of the time. so miss a day or a few meals? you’re good – just get back on it. but for this week, go a little OCD on your fitbook. i have a rule that i won’t eat my next meal until i’ve written down the last one. sometimes i forget later on and that’s when calorie-creep occurs. so just for 1 week, write it all down. set your goals, plan your workouts, and even go a step further and plan your meals if you’re really wanting to dial it in. then at the end of the 7 days go back and see how your meals, water-intake, and sleep all affected your workouts and subsequent results.
so start tomorrow – embrace these 7 tips for 7 days and by the time halloween gets here this time next week, you’re be sportin’ a svelte, scary-sexy, slightly leaner self. then we’ll use the motivation behind seeing those results to catapult us into a (healthy) holiday season.
who’s with me? make your commitment in the comments section and i WILL hold you accountable. who’s on board?
cheers to a BOOtiful YOU!