How to get back in shape after the holidays

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If sugary treats and high-calorie drinks were what it took to unify people at the dinner table and create beautiful moments of togetherness, then those little extra inches you pile up on after the holidays are much less to worry about than you think!

Getting back to form after a long period of homestay is more about sporting a mentally sound persona free of rest inertia and brain fog, than it is about having a perfect bikini body to flaunt.

 With that said, whether your intention it is to shed extra weight, gain the motivation to work out, or simply reset your sleeping habits,  we believe the following tips could help:

  • Eat well

     Purgatory behaviours almost always following periods of binging. Punishing your body by eliminating foods that you have grown up eating, like dairy, wheat and fruits may serve you in the short term, but whatever weight you lose is likely to be water weight that will bounce right back up in no time. The solution? Eat three proper meals a day; no snacks, and cut out junk, processed foods. Just quit them cold-turkey. Here’s a great starting point. Remember, you’ll then have massive cravings and the only way to navigate through them is by keeping your tummy full with healthy foods at all time. Cravings that are driven by real hunger are impossible to resist. On the other hand, images of food that crop up in the mind when you’re bored can always be done away with.

  • Fast, but don’t diet

As a follow-up to the above point, dieting, however you see it as, is purgatory. It’s a stress signal for the body. The hypothalamus reacts by increasing hunger signals and reducing satiety hormones over time. Unless you’re slated to participate in a beauty pageant come January, there’s no reason good enough to go on a diet. As they say, all diets work in the short time, no diets work in the long run. So what should we do? We incorporate intermittent fasting in our daily life. It’s easy and feels effortless. More about that here.

  • HIT the snooze button

No, hitting the snooze button doesn’t make you mentally weak. Resuming normal life after holidaying is hard enough as it is and the least you could do for yourself is afford that few minutes of extra sleep. The ROI is tremendous. Anyone who has hit the snooze button for an extra 10 minutes will tell you that they have then woken up to the most refreshing sleep ever. How many times have you hit the snooze button to hit the track for a 6:00 am run only to feel like a zombie come noon!

  • Listen to your body

    When it comes to hitting the reset button on your daily routine, it helps to work in sync with the body. Not feeling like you’re full unless you have something sweet after dinner? Go ahead and eat that cookie, but make sure it’s sugar-free. Don’t want to work out? Try a different time, like mid-morning when the core temperature is higher, or better still lift a few weights and do some squats. Not sure of quitting dairy, gluten and meat? Don’t do it. Anything unfamiliar in a time of stress will only bring back those cravings in full force. It’s not worth the risk.

  • Meditate before and after meals/Opt for nasal breathing

Meditating before meals is a great way to acknowledge and get in touch with your hunger. At the least, you close your eyes, take a few deep nasal breaths, and turn your focus to your belly to fully feel the impact of your hunger. Following the meal, you take notice of how the food you have eaten makes your body feel. Is your stomach acid churning upwards to your esophagus? That’s acidity, right there. Do you feel lulled into a sense of calm? That’s satiety right there. How full are you? Rate yourself mentally. Ask yourself these questions. What you’re doing is laying the groundwork for a seamless transition from viewing food as fun to viewing it as a fuel that nourishes the mind and body both.

  • Journaling

Think of it as therapy for the mind. There’s something incredibly satisfying about jotting down thoughts, feelings and lists of to-do’s, however disorganized they may be. It’s like giving voice to the most suppressed side of you, without any fear, shame or insecurities. Are you fearful of challenges at work that await you? Write them down one by one and you’ll instantly feel more sorted? What combination of workouts are giving you the best results? Is it running, or just steady-state cardio with some bodyweight moves? Again, jot them down for future reference.

  • Do something that is easy and effortless

Doing something enormously challenging is like a stupid way to break into the first few days of work. Why not try something that takes less time and still gives you that smug feeling of accomplishment! Rest inertia is the real enemy here. And the key is to get past it is by lowering the barrier to entry. In simpler words, you don’t start out by researching stats for your presentation; rather you create the first slide within 5 minutes by writing down the key takeways for your audience. Or to quote another example, you de-clutter your laptop and organize files in various folders in an orderwise fashion. That way you have simplified the first step; the rest will follow.

  • Plan out a worksheet for the week ahead

Oh worksheets! What would we do without them. Getting ready for work becomes easier when you have a wealth of worksheets at your disposal, complete with tasks to do for the week ahead. It gives you that extra boost to spring back in action starting Monday and gives you the confidence to make eye contact with your boss, despite reeling from the guilt of having wasted long hours in watching Netflix.

  • Set out 20 minutes for workouts

This one is a no-brainer. It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who has never worked out before. Even some light stretching or restorative yoga is enough to get the blood pumping to your brain. Even if you don’t quite intend to get back in shape, you could always use some of the endocannabinoids and endorphins (basically feel-happy neurochemicals) that go gushing into your brain when you indulge in just 20-minutes of heart-thumping, sweat-inducing activity. Try it for 2 days and you won’t regret

Commitment first, motivation later

Doing all of these is tough right? The good news is that you don’t need motivation to do any of them. Motivation is a myth. Why not commit yourself first, and wait, the little spark of happiness you get after writing your first page in your journal, and the boost of freshness you feel after doing five jumping jacks- now that’s motivation! That won’t come as long as you lie in your bed. Unfortunately, it’s not one of the things that come to those who wait. You have to go and make it yours, sometimes aggressively, by jumping out of the covers to hit the track, and sometimes passively, by avoiding that little voice of discouragement in your head and just doing what needs to be done. Your mind will thank you later.

Final thoughts

Anything you do to get back in form will pay dividends in the long run, even if they seem immaterial and pointless at the moment. If anything, the very act of thinking of getting disciplined and work-ready will make way for actions that facilitate such thoughts.

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