A mid-point check in for a Healthy Holiday program
Catching Up on the Plan
If you are new to my blog or the series, please take a look at my week 1 post and subsequent posts to catch up on my plan and how it has been going. Week 1 will also outline some ideas for you to make your own plan, if you would like to join in!
How has it been going?
My healthy holiday plan included going the following guidelines:
- Tracking physical measurements: Weight, Waist Circumference, Photos (monthly)
- During Weekdays, Elimination of Grain, Added Sugar, Refined Oils, Alcohol
- At all times (aside from Holidays) Elimination of Pizza, Fried Food, Refined Oils
- Practice Intermittent Fasting, use as a tool pre and post Holiday Celebrations
- Attempt a Multi-Day Fast
- Exercise 5 Days per week
- Focus on Mobility
I can honestly say that for the most part, I can give myself very high marks for compliance with my plan. The one point I slipped on was having some fried food on the weekends, which I was hoping to avoid entirely leading up to Holidays. One point of pride for me was adherence to guidelines during weekdays, in particular elimination of grains, and therefor cutting out all processed snack foods!
My focus not only on exercise, but also mobility work truly helped me feel better physically. I had written at the start of my post that I was experiencing some significant tightness in my neck/upper back, which I partially attributed to neglecting my stretching and mobility work in various degrees during the past year. I am pleased to report that with a daily commitment to mobility, and also a few professional massages, the tension and pain is gone from my neck, and movement is much more free.
I have written previous blog posts on stretching and mobility, if you are interested in some sample ideas you can work into your own routine.
Stretching and corrective exercises for sitting.
Foam Rolling principles.
A Word on Fasting
I posted a Youtube video to report back on my multi-day fast, and some basic tips on the topic based on my own experience.
Thanksgiving Week Day by Day
Monday exercise was 40 minutes on the Nordic Track, with around 30 minutes of stretching beforehand. For nutrition, Monday started day one of a planned multi-day fast. My basic strategy for a multi-day fast is that water, black coffee, tea, seltzer are allowed, but anything with calories or artificial sweetener is not allowed. When on a multi-day fast, I have also found it helpful to add some salt to beverages, since I am not getting any sodium intake from food.
Exercise included 3 working sets of Kettlebell Front Squats, Total Gym Rows, Curls, Chest presses and flies, and also Reserve Crunches. I was also able to include plenty of stretching and foam roll activities, for around an hour of total exercise. Given that this was day 2 of my fast, I was happy with my workout and energy levels. 6 pm on Tuesday marked 48 hours of fasting.
Exercise was 40 minutes on my Nordic Track machine for cardio, with around 30 minutes of stretching beforehand. Wednesday morning was starting at 60 hours of fasting as of 6 am, total fast was 68 hours! I broke the fast with a smaller meal following my guidelines of grain, sugar, and processed oil free food choices. I felt good enough to keep the fast going, but did not want the Thanksgiving feast to be the meal I break my longer fast with.
Thursday is Thanksgiving! Delicious holiday food and drink was enjoyed, but I did not skip my workout. In the morning, I did one hour of alternating sets of Kettlebell Swings, Push Ups, and Reverse Crunches.
I am finishing the plan strong with 60 minutes of cardio this morning on the Nordic track, with 30 minutes of stretching and mobility work before hand. I will also fast for at least 18 hours coming off of the Thanksgiving feast. This is in line with one of my tips, to plan some exercise the day after any Holiday to help you keep positive momentum going!
Thanksgiving Week Top Tips
Have a plan for your Holidays, including the days leading up. You should be able to enjoy your Holiday meal, have all your favorite foods and not have to worry about portions or guidelines. In order to set myself up for success in this area, I made sure that I did not stray from my weekday nutrition guidelines, and did not skip any planned workouts.
Use the day after a Holiday as an opportunity to get back on track! Schedule yourself some exercise the day after a big Holiday meal, and make sure you eat wholesome foods to help you get back on track with your nutrition. For example, leftovers can be very temping, but they don’t need to be an excuse to continue your decadent eating from Thursday through an entire weekend after Thanksgiving. Perhaps you could use left over Turkey to make something lighter like Turkey soup. Eating three meals a day of Thanksgiving left overs, at Thanksgiving size portions, for three days in a row, is a sure fire way to start Monday morning feeling sluggish and unmotivated to continue any type of exercise or nutrition plan.
Weight: Before 205.4 lbs
After 203.0 lbs. This was not intended as a weight loss program, more a healthy eating and maintenance program. Based on the overall picture, I am happy with the results and stats taken at the beginning and end of November.
Waist Circumference: Before- Rather than using a tape measure, I use my belt that I wear to work as an indicator of my waist circumference. When I am feeling my best and have my routine dialed in, I use the 5th loop on my belt. As I started this program, I was using the 4th belt loop.
After: 5th belt loop. While I do feel good about what my belt is telling me, a slight caveat is that I did not go to work on Friday after Thanksgiving. It is entirely possible that my belt may need to be loosened back to the 4th loop Thursday/Friday after Thanksgiving, however I will take the progress!
What is Next?
I intend to create myself a new plan, and blog series to finish out the year strong! I will use many of the same principles and guidelines I found success with during November, and think of a new theme to keep the motivation for December. Until next time!