Oh, Thanksgiving. A time of joy. A time of fellowship! A time of a whole lot of eating food that will cause your dress size to increase!
Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Holly “Lil Bear” Lawson and I punch people in the face for a living. I’m a professional boxer that is ranked Top 5 in the world.
I am here to help you make it through Thanksgiving and all of the feasting that you certainly have lined up. Much of my time will be regulated to watching my loved ones eat pies, yams, stuffing, smothered turkey and so much more. Being a fighter is a lonely thing, full of hard work and sacrifice. For every knock out you see on television, hundreds of hours of training has been logged. For every six pack you see flexing as we throw a punch, that boxer has stood around watching somebody else eat something yummy.
Being a woman makes it even harder. On one hand, the athlete in me gets up to run at 5 am and loves the feeling of being at my physical prime. On the other hand, the woman in me likes it when she fills out her dress and is able to enjoy some of the things I bake for family and friends. It can be quite frustrating to have the same urges to eat as everybody else yet stick to a champion’s regiment.
In the last year I have been through 7 training camps of 4-6 weeks each. That means 42 weeks 294 days) of rationing food, only drinking alkaline water, running and training 6 days a week and most of a year spent gazing longingly at every one’s plates at holidays parties and BBQ’s. It hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t always been fun, but it has given me some insight on what it takes to stick to your diet, especially as you ease into the holidays.
It IS possible to have a good time, enjoy your friends and family and still make it through the holidays without destroying all the hard work and discipline you’ve put into your health and fitness in 2012.
Here are 5 ways to get you through Thanksgiving and the holiday season:
Set goals. This can sometimes seem too simple, it’s not. Even small goals held up as something to work towards, end up being motivation to stick to healthier food. It doesn’t have to be making weight for a title fight, it can be something small like buying a smaller dress for New Years, running a quarter mile faster by Christmas or simply not losing any of the gains you’ve made this year. I think there is something powerful in being able to see/hear/touch something, having your goals be tangible instead of just a number. A good idea for this holiday is to go out and buy a hot little dress and hang it in plain sight. Every time you get dressed for an event you’ll see that outfit you are going to be wearing and carry that image in your head for the evening. Sometimes knowing I have to wear a skintight dress will be the difference between eating one of those cookies or having a glass of water.
Drink water. Again seems simpler in type than it is in practice. You should be drinking a gallon of water a day, yes that seems like a lot to most of us, but only because we are chronically dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water before a meal will have you consume up to half the amount of food, we often think we are hungry when we are in fact simply dehydrated. Water also helps flush toxins from your system, so those couple extra drinks you have at the company party won’t hang around creating a hangover. I also have found that simply adhering to some of your regular fitness routine, will help encourage sounder decisions. Its less appealing to gorge on sweets if you were just drinking from your gym bottle, it may in fact encourage you to go for a walk.
Bring substitutions. Not always sexy but always practical. Take this from the girl who showed up to the 4th of July BBQ with a baggy of carrot sticks and some peanut butter. You don’t have to be as extreme, simply having an apple or protein bar on hand to eat instead of that plate of cookies, is a great alternative. It’s easier to pass on the plate full of calories when you have a healthier option on hand, it’s much more difficult when your only options are on that potluck table.
Stick to even a modified fitness plan. It doesn’t have to be your 3 spinning classes and session with a trainer. It can be something as simple as getting in 30 minutes of jogging before hitting the black Friday lines. 10 minutes of jump rope, push ups, sit ups and some burpies are a quick and simple workout that can be effective if you push yourself. It doesn’t have to be a lot, it just has to be something. Its easy to skip out on a workout if you already skipped out on one the day before.
Get a friend involved. Having someone to talk to while you’re on the elliptical machine, someone to also bring a healthy dish to the community potluck, an ear to vent to about how hard it was to break away from the television, always makes it easier. My friends know when I have a fight coming up, if I show up at a party I let them know that if they see a plate of BBQ in my hands, they need to come slap me. You don’t have to okay some slapping, but letting someone else know what you are trying to do and how hard it is for you, can give you some back up. It’s easier to be strong when you know you have a team behind you and I have found that simply being able to express how difficult it can be, has given my friends the space to step up and become my biggest cheerleaders.
Don’t forget what the holidays are about.
A great way to set a good example and not feel guilty for missing out on quality time, is to involve your whole family in some kind of fitness based activity. Nightly walks after dinner, dance or fitness video games with the kids or bringing your sister in law to the gym with you, is a good way to spend some oft missed quality time. Most chain gyms will give you a travel pass if you are out of town, they’ll also usually let you bring a guest for up to a week sometimes. The holidays are all about family, so turn off the tv and go soak up some time with your loved ones!
If you have any questions, comments or simply need someone to give you the tough love and tell you to put down the fruit cake, follow me on twitter at @lilbearlawson and Instagram lilbearlawson
Words By: By Holly “Lil Bear” Lawson