Jingle (Kettle)Bells!

A Plan to Break the Holiday Cycle and End 2020 Healthy and Fit!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

Introduction

If you are brand new to my blog or this Holiday posting series, welcome! This post starts the final leg in a series about breaking the Holiday Cycle of adding pounds and inches to our waist from October- January 1, and making a New Year’s resolution to essentially undo the damage. If we are not careful, this can be an annual occurrence. For more information on this topic and ideas to make your own plan, please see my previous post.

Why Jingle (Kettle)Bells?

This is a wordplay off of the Christmas song “Jingle Bells”. Recognizing that there are many Holidays celebrated during this time of year, my family and I celebrate Christmas, so this is the theme that resonated for me and will motivate me. Additionally, I plan to theme my weightlifting routines around Kettlebells and Barbells during the month.

*Pro-tip, themed workouts can add meaning and motivation to your plan! I will include my themed workouts leading in to Christmas as examples of how you can have fun with the topic and motivate yourself.

Finishing Strong

If you are reading this post right now and are interested in breaking the Holiday cycle, here are the two tracks/trajectories I see you as most likely on:

  1. You have been crushing it! You made a plan in October or November, and successfully navigated Thanksgiving without it derailing your health and fitness goals. You are looking for motivation and ideas to finish 2020 strong.
  2. You did not make plan, you feel tired and sluggish due to over indulgence. You are already feeling like you will need a New Years resolution to start undoing some of the damage from the Holidays.

If you are in situation #2, DO NOT WAIT!! Make a December 12 resolution, you will be amazed what you can accomplish before January…you will also be amazed how much further behind you can set yourself by continuing to over indulge and not exercise between now and January 1, get after it now!

Make your Plan

When making a plan to end 2020 making improvements to your health and fitness, start with where you are. What are your current exercise/activity levels, what does a week of food journaling look like for you? Once you have established where you are, make some specific health and fitness goals you would like to accomplish before January 1.

Tips on Getting Started (adapted from previous post)

  1. Make this winnable! I am using my plan as an example, not as a template for you. Start with where you are, make goals to be better in certain areas, execute your specific goals. Make your plan realistic so you can win. If you drink soda every day and your goal is to eliminate soda by January 1, that is winnable and you should go for it! If you do not exercise and your goal is to run a marathon by January 1, if I were you, I would reassess whether or not that is realistic/winnable in the time frame you are working with.
  2. Write it down! You have to write down your goals, and write down your progress towards them. Make yourself a daily, or minimally a weekly journal to help you measure progress towards your goals. If you do not track goals and progress, you won’t have a sense of direction or accomplishment, and most likely lack motivation. You won’t hit a target that you cannot see.
  3. Make time! You need to make time in your week to grocery shop, meal plan, meal prep, and exercise. Add this to your calendar like you do a work appointment, or it will not happen. If you need help finding time for any of these important areas, map out your week on a calendar. Account for every hour of every day, and include everything you do, including sleep and TV (for example). You may need to make some sacrifices (like TV/screen time), but I bet you can carve yourself out an hour each day to take care of your health and fitness goals.

My Plan (as an example)

My plan is to focus on maintaining my frequency and intensity of exercise through the Holiday season, and to not gain weight or belt loop holes in between November-January (kept from my Thanksgiving plan).

My Specific Goals

I made myself some specific, measurable, realistic goals to hold myself accountable (goals made November 9, 2020).

  1. Make sure that added Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol stay in the treat category (once per week max), focus on whole, unprocessed food being dietary staples.
  2. Keep weight on the scale, and belt loop position (waist circumference) the same, or improve them (I don’t want to have to loosen my belt on January 1, compared to November).
  3. Assure that my weekly frequency of cardio exercise stays the same, even when the weather gets colder. For December, I want to set the goals of working my routine up to 1 hour sessions, 3 times per week.
  4. Assure that each weight training day features a Barbell, and/or a Kettlbell exercise, increase the total volume (weight moved/lifted) of these lifts during December.
  5. Assure to wear blue light glasses before bed each night, consistent bed time, strive for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

The plan will also include a weekly check in on these major goals, to see how I am doing, and any adjustments I may have to make to stay on track.

Before the Jingle

These are some stats I am going to keep track of weekly during the 4 week program to see how I am doing and stay accountable. Stats and photo as of December 4, coming off my Thanksgiving plan.

Weight: 196.2 pounds

Photo:

Belt Loop: 5th (for me, 4th is ok, 5th is better, 3rd is not good…higher belt loops=lower waist circumference)

Cardio Frequency: 3 Nordic track sessions per week; I have hit 2 one hour sessions, and one 47 minute session in a week as my high bench mark.

Lets Talk About the Jingle [Video]

Video discussion on the Holiday cycle, making a plan, themes and why you should make your own, trigger foods.

Jingle (Kettle)BellsTime Frame

This blog post is documenting the time period of December 7, 2020-January 1, 2021. My plan is to assure complete focus on Health and Well-being leading up to, and immediately after Christmas, which my family and I celebrate. In my previous blog post, I outline the importance of enjoying the Holidays themselves, and also immediately getting back on your healthy plan. No one day is going to disrupt your health and fitness routine and progress, but developing unhealthy habits and patterns day after day, week after week will.

I am committed to a post each week, to serve as an example of how you could make and execute a plan, and also to help hold myself accountable. Let’s see how I did week 1!

Daily JournalsWeek 1

*A word about my daily journals and routine. The main reasons I include my daily journals in this series are as follows:

  1. To show an example of what a daily journal can look like and hopefully spark some creative thinking and ideas for readers.
  2. To hold myself accountable…writing down my food intake and exercise/activity on the internet is a big motivating factor for me to follow through on my goals.

My daily journals are not intended to be a prescriptive program for readers to follow, this is simply what works for me. Whether it be my exercise routine, what I eat, or when I eat…it falls under the umbrella of “this is what works for me”. If you are interested in any of my rationale behind my meal timing and planning, I would invite you to take a look at my Thanksgiving post, sub heading of “Dietary Strategies I Use“.

Monday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 47 minutes, 2.92 miles (no “ski poles)

*Note on finding the time, I have developed my routine so that I get to bed early enough to wake up before work and exercise. I have all of the exercise equipment I need at my home, which is ideal during COVID times. If you do not have equipment at home, never fear, you can still accomplish a LOT with body weight exercises…you have to make the time and find the way.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Tuesday

Exercise: Kettlebell bent over row 35 lbs- 10,10,10; Dips 7,9,10; Push ups 10,11,9; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10; Kettlebell Sumo deadlift 53 lbs- 10,10,10…with lots of hamstring and hip mobility work today.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bullet proof coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can salmon; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 4.01 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 135- 5,5,5 Double Kettlebell military press 35s- 10,10,10 Hanging leg raise 10,10,10

*Of note, had tightness in my lower back and hamstrings this week, so I needed to cut my workout short and do some stretching and foam roll in between sets.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bullet proof coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can salmon; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Friday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.94 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 5:30 pm: Take out Greek salad 🥗, 2 slices pepperoni pizza, scotch, 1 stout beer.

*Saturday is blog posting day, so will not appear in daily journals for the series.

My Weekly Progress Report

This is an update to see how I did on my goals/focus areas for the week.

  1. Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol were treats only, this strategy continues to help my overall energy levels and limit trigger foods.
  2. Weight on Friday was 195.0 pounds, which is about a pound less than last Friday under the same conditions (post morning cardio). Also 5th belt loop, so waist circumference is staying steady.
  3. I maintained my frequency of Cardio exercise, and worked towards my goal of 60 minutes, three days per week.
  4. I assured that each weight training day featured a kettlebells, and/or a barbell exercise.
  5. I wore blue light glasses every light at least 1 hour before bed, I had 1 great night of sleep, over 7 hours. Overall, kept a routine bed time of around 9 pm.

Challenges Faced this Week

You will always face challenges when trying to implement healthy lifestyle changes, so I have committed to include my weekly challenges as part of my journals each week. You will see notes on challenges, and how I addressed them (or, how I plan to address them next week). For week 1, my lone challenge was stiff, tight hamstrings and lower back. The way I addressed this challenge was to modify my exercise routine; I modified my routine so I was still able to exercise without aggravating the areas that bothered me. Another strategy I utilized was extra stretching and mobility work daily.

My suspicion is that my rapid change to the Nordic Track machine 3 times per week may have contributed to this challenge. I transitioned fairly rapidly from walking/running cardio to Nordic Track due to cold whether. This week, I did not use the “ski poles” part of the Nordic Track, as I felt it took some of the tension out of my back and hamstrings. I will monitor conditions next week.

Honestly, I did not face any challenges related to nutrition. I addressed a challenge from last week by making sure to spend time shopping and food prepping Sunday, so I did not need to rely so heavily on leftovers and my son’s snack foods.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Looking at the calendar, I have one more week to dial in my routine before a Holiday week starts. My 5 day work week routine has been very consistent and reliable during the Holiday season, so I am going to take advantage and make even more progress towards my goals before the Holidays kick off. I’ll make sure to start the week off right on Sunday with meal prep, and plan for meals and exercise during the week. I will continue to focus on stretching and foam rolling, and will hopefully hit my goal of 3 one hour cardio sessions this week.

Stay tuned, see you next week!

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