Resolutions are often focused on breaking habits.
To quit smoking I used running. In 2003 I was still a smoker. My bad habit had been picked up through being a club kid in my teens and a bartender in my twenties. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2002, I started training Muay Thai seriously and became addicted to the sport. I knew my smoking and clubbing had to stop, and I should focus more on training.
I wasn’t a heavy smoker, but I was still in the habit of a two to three cigarettes in the evenings. Instead of smoking, I decide to go running more. Running made me feel accomplished and also reminded me how much I needed healthy lungs for Muay Thai. Eventually, I just stopped smoking altogether and built a life around training.
A couple of years ago I stumbled on a booked called How to Change Habit by Charles Duhigg. It describes how we can’t simply tell ourselves to stop a bad habit like eating sweets, smoking, drinking, or biting our nails. We need to REPLACE that habit with an action that gives the same reward. This is why so many people switch one bad habit for another, like eating more sweets when they quit smoking or smoking more when they quit drinking. But swapping one bad habit for another never quite addresses the bigger problem.
The time of year is fast approaching when people deal with a lot of temptation that may derail them from their fitness goals. But you don’t have to feel helpless when it comes staying on course. January guilt and re-written New Year’s resolutions is not a fate carved in stone. Now is a great time to strategize a holiday fitness survival plan that keeps you moving, motivated, eating clean, indulging a little and most importantly feeling sexy and dashing at your Holiday parties!
But before I get started, let’s debunk the myth that the average person gains 5-10 pounds over the holiday season. This just isn’t true. It’s estimated at 0.8, which isn’t a lot but can add up year after year and it’s not good that about 50% of the average yearly gain of 1.5 pounds is occurring over the Holidays. Realizing that you are not doomed to gain massive weight will alleviate unnecessary stress and help you think more clearly while strategizing a survival plan. A word of caution, though, overweight and obese test subjects (14%) gained an average of 5 lbs! So there was some variance. That also means that a portion of the test subjects must not have gained any weight or just a small fraction.