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We are almost fully submerged into the holiday season and while it’s too easy to get lost in the parties, shopping sales, gift exchanges, who’s hosting what and (of course) all the delicious food, I want to remind you of one simple thing. Do not forget about YOU. While I absolutely believe in the spirit of giving during the holidays and fully wrapping myself in the joy and love that comes with celebrating, it’s important to remember that health and fitness does not move to the back burner.

Putting yourself first is not being selfish or self-centered, but rather, productive and proactive. By putting in the extra effort to stay on track and consistent with nutrition and physical activity during the holidays, you are ensuring a better start to the new year, but also being a better person for those around you.

Before schedules get too hectic and you find yourself drowning in errands and “to dos” for the next get together, take a few minutes and consider following my suggestions for setting yourself up for a productive holiday season.

Develop A Routine and Stick To It

The weekends can be uncertain, but during the week most of us have set responsibilities and obligations (like work) that force us into some kind of a routine. Make pieces of your days, like drinking a glass of water when you wake, going to the gym after work, or having the next day’s meals prepared, apart of that routine.

Set Goals

Not only important during the holidays, but year round, setting goals for ourselves offers focus, accountability, and motivation. There is no goal too small or too big. For the next two months, start simple. This may look like committing to a certain number of days you will get to the gym or a certain number of meals you will make sure are free of processed foods and excess sugar. Get crazy and have more than one! The key is for your goal to be achievable and something that is making you better than before.

Eat Well

Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite treats because no one can be perfect 24/7. However, knowing a delicious temptation is going to be around almost every corner, be mindful of which treats you choose. Don’t eat the crap you don’t really care about just because it’s there. Try to commit to eating really well 85-90% of the time, including vegetables with every meal and drinking lots of water throughout the day.

Say No

It is the season of giving and gluttony, but you don’t need to be everywhere or everything to everyone. Remember, once this is over, it is better for you and the people around you that you’re happy and healthy. Decide how much is enough and then don’t be afraid to decline some invites. Money and time is tight for everyone this time of year, they will get over it.

Be Kind To Yourself

You may have a bad day. You may slip up. You may miss a workout. You may eat one too many mini pumpkin cheesecakes from Truffles & Tortes. In the words of a great man I know, “It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.” Forgive yourself, remember the goals you’ve chosen, and get back on the horse. Don’t throw your hands up like everything you’ve done so far is ruined.

Of course this is not going to be easy. Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, someone will throw a wrench in it all. I will be right there with you. More than ever, I feel our community is strong. Lean on us for support. Ask for help from a coach, a member, or within the Members’ group and they will not disappoint.

— Coach Stacey