December is a tough time for those of us in the weight loss biz. We know you’re all out there eating and drinking your way up to Christmas and that when that’s done there’ll be a rush for help on January 1st. Imagine Black Friday multiplied by the Battle of Balin’s Tomb and you’ll have a good idea of what it’s like for us. This post is for anyone who knows they will definitely be dieting on January 1st, but for the moment just doesn’t have the time or effort to stay on plan. Don’t worry, simply by doing a bit of groundwork and planning you can give yourself a huge headstart come January.
#1 – Don’t Go SUPERCRAZY
Sorry to get all Dad on you from the start but let’s not go SUPERCRAZY during December. Yes, it’s a time to eat, drink and be merry and yes your “mince pies offered” stats are going to go through the roof in the next few weeks but that doesn’t mean you have to get SUPERCRAZY. We all have our own private definition of what this means. For me it was three catering packs of Tangfastics in a single session, and – trust me – you’ve not even known what a headache is until you’ve done that. So enjoy yourself, but do it with love and merriness, not destruction in mind.
#2 – Study how you binge
You’ve got some time ahead when you can really figure out what your triggers are for bingeing. Try and identify three things over Christmas that leads to you eating or drinking more than you usually would. These are precious pieces of information because if you know that once you pop, you can’t stop (other tubed brands of crisps are available) then that means that when you’re dieting you will have to address your Pringles issues. Or maybe you’ll see that once you’ve had a beer your food choices get wilder than a Bunga Bunga party. All of this information is vital to your success.
#3 – Get your head right
Understanding why you are fat and addressing that is hands down the most important issue there is in weight loss. Without getting your head right then you’re filling a bath with the plug out. This is such a big area – the MAN v FAT book goes into this in detail and it’s worth getting hold of a copy, but even just taking a good long look at your eating and drinking habits and spotting why they go wrong will be valuable information. If you can understand why you’re making those choices then you can start looking at reprogramming your mind with a more helpful operating system.
#4 – Start to gather your support network
Pick a mentor. Maybe someone who has lost weight already, or just someone who you respect who has got their eating and drinking figured out. Approach them about helping you in the New Year. You’ll often find that they’ll be only too happy to help, because they probably had help when they were getting their weight sorted out. You also need a team. Find others who want to shift some weight and get together – make plans to meet up in the New Year and put a date in the diary.
#5 – Get planning
Three very simple things you can start planning now.
1) What “diet” you’ll do. Check out the Diet Wiki and read up on what diets are out there and which one will suit you. Forget short-term radical changes (“I’m going to do 500 pull-ups a day”) and focus on a reasonable plan that will give you a steady weight loss that you can stick to. Sticking to the diet is way more important than what diet you choose and you have my permission to ignore anyone who says that it’s all about carbs.
2) Plan out your activity. Again – get things in the diary. Work out how you’re going to up your activity levels both in normal life (improving your commute, getting your bike fixed, etc) and your optional movement. Sign up for the squash league, book the football pitch for a five-a-side, get things set in stone.
3) Find your tracking options. Research some of the tracking options out there and pick one you can use all the time. Whether it’s a page a day diary or an app you love to use – find what works for you.
If you’re looking for a guide for all of this preparation then take a look at the MAN v FAT book. It takes you through all of this in detail and gives you plenty of help in getting your dietary shiz together. Just remember it doesn’t matter whether you do all of this research and planning with a sherry in one hand and your face buried in a bowl of salted peanuts – what matters is that you do it. What does the cliche say? Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. True dat.