Thanksgiving and all its tempting sweet and savory goodness is finally behind you. Are you sitting there feeling sorry for yourself because you've eaten your weight in pie? Well, stop it. If you didn't exercise restraint this weekend, there's no point in beating yourself up about it. Guilt doesn't burn any calories.
We're not judging you, so stop judging yourself and follow these tips to get back on track.
Pack your bag ahead of time. Have your keys handy. Make sure you have your train or bus pass, your work ID and, perhaps most importantly, your morning coffee money. Figure out what you're wearing. Prepare a healthy lunch and bag it up so all you have to do in the morning is grab it out of the fridge. You'll thank yourself when you get to the office with matching shoes, a cup of Joe and the rest of those tasty (and healthy!) leftovers.
Did you spend the weekend sleeping in and staying up late? (We sure did.) But now it's time to get that body clock back to where it needs to be. Even if you're not sleepy, go to bed at a decent hour. Can't realistically do it at 10 p.m.? Then make it 11 p.m. Just go to bed. If you're having trouble getting to sleep, try the usual tricks: have a cup of chamomile tea, play some classical music or read a boring book.
It's getting colder. It's still very dark at 6 a.m. when many of us wake up. So we get how tempting it is to curl up under those cozy covers for 5 or 10 more minutes of coveted sleep. But don't do it. Pull that Band-Aid off in one go. Show no mercy and just get up. You'll actually feel less tired. The problem is that while you see it as an additional few minutes, your body sees it as a second round of sleep cycle that just got clipped off prematurely. Evil, right?
Don't have time or energy to work out in the morning? Stretch for a few minutes instead. Prepare your muscles and limbs for the day ahead, which will hopefully include some working-out time.
If you drive to work, park farther away and walk extra. If you take the train or bus, get out a few stops ahead of your usual and walk. Mind your form, too. You should be walking briskly, not like you're running an hour late to the big company meeting. Check your posture, take measured steps rather than long, sloppy strides and tighten your abs (engage your core). In an article for Prevention, Cambridge, Mass.-based fitness walking and race-walking coach Ken Mattsson explains that "when you step forward, your heel should strike the ground gently before your foot rolls forward and allows you to push off from your toes. You're stressing your feet and legs needlessly if you come down too hard." If you're clomping like a loud, galloping horse, you're actually doing the exact opposite of what you want to do: "You're not channeling enough energy forward," Mattsson says, "and you're stopping your momentum." Invest in a good pair of walking sneakers, too. Your feet will thank you for it.
You're busy. We get it. You may not have time to take a lunch break and run to the gym or do some brisk walking (even around the block a few times). But when you get up to make some coffee or grab some water, you can stretch your legs. Have a tennis ball handy? Stretch your feet under your desk. Unless your shoes are smelly, nobody will notice. And consider investing in a Backless Classic Balance Ball Chair. Whether you consider it "active sitting" or simply see it as trying to not fall off and embarrass yourself in front of the CEO, you'll correct your posture and give your core a good workout.
Do whatever works for you: cardio, weights, yoga, you name it. It should increase your heart rate without making you feel lightheaded or like you might have an asthma attack. Talk to your doctor to see what's right for you, especially if you have any medical conditions! Start slowly. If you can only do that cardio video for 5 minutes, so be it. Just don't skip the next day so you can start building toward 30 minutes. Make yourself a schedule and try your best to stick to it.
Whether you get a Fitbit or a cheap pedometer, track your steps and track the calories you've burned in a day. And consider keeping a food diary so you can track what you eat and drink (and this includes alcohol). Aim for 10,000 or 15,000 steps. Compete with yourself to beat your own records. Make it fun!
Now you're ready to get back in gear before the company holiday party and the rest of the foodpocalypse comes to tempt you with its high-calorie meals that scoff at the notion of portion control. What are you waiting for?