Avoiding the December Dip

Reclaiming a Fit and Healthy Routine

by: Leslie Dobbins

While many disciplined people channeled the stress and challenges of 2020 into impressive fitness and nutrition regiments, others found ourselves eating and drinking our feelings while we neglected our exercise intentions. Fitness expert Leslie Dobbins shares tips to turn your health around to meet 2021 with results-oriented resolutions you’ll look forward to keeping.

The real struggle during quarantine was which Netflix series to binge while the exercise equipment people ordered sat unattended in the corner. I feel the majority of people who normally exercise daily truly tried to stick to a workout regimen. However, lack of a “normal” day left people out of their routines, making it hard to stay motivated. Throw in everyone working from home and becoming full-time educators, while simultaneously trying not to harm our significant others…it was a recipe for not a lot of alone time to exercise. Even those who didn’t experience weight gain likely lost muscle mass, motivation and sanity.

The 3 Keys

- Find a Routine. The key to getting back on track is finding a routine you can maintain consistently. Implement manageable changes one at a time to allow them to become habits and to celebrate your triumphs, no matter how small. When healthy habits are formed, positive changes will be noticed. Those outcomes become motivation that can fuel people to keep pushing for even more progress.

- Find a Friend. Get a friend or family member with common goals to join forces and help you stay motivated. Having an accountability partner is extremely helpful and can make working out much more fun. Ask that friend who makes you laugh to meet you at the gym.

- Find some Fun. Exercise does not have to be so serious. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it! Not able to attend a gym? Throw a dance party in the den after dinner! One song will turn into three, and you’ll be at ten before you know it.

5 Healthy Habits for the Holidays

1) Set yourself up for success! If you exercise after work, be sure to pack your gym bag the night before and put it in your car. With the days being shorter, going home to change is the kiss of death. No one wants to get back out when it’s dark and cold. Do not fall victim to the couch!

2) DO NOT wait until January 1st to start! You can start now and spare yourself the evil eye from gym regulars come the first of the year! If you plan on joining a new gym, you can beat the New Year’s resolution group and familiarize yourself with the facility so you won’t feel like the freshman on campus!

3) Plan for reality. Let’s be honest, everyone is going to eat more during the holidays. You can still work out even if you are enjoying more treats. You might be surprised to find that extra cookie less enticing if you exercise going into the holiday season.

4) You deserve “me” time too! Speaking of cookies, moms, do not neglect your workout because you are helping with multiple class parties! As a teacher of twelve years, I can assure you the children do not care if cupcakes are store-bought over homemade.

5) Tomorrow is a new day! If today you ate badly and did not work out, you don’t have to wait until the next Monday to start over! Your body does not care if you start midweek.

When it comes to nutrition >

1) Portion control is imperative. Have that cookie at the party…just maybe not ten. I also recommend eating small frequent meals or snacks throughout the day so you never become ravenous.

2) Keep the tempting snacks out of the house and give yourself grace when you fall short. One bad day of eating does not mean your efforts are ruined. Just start fresh in the morning.