Personal trainer and weight loss coach Stephanie Mansour has spent years helping clients prevent holiday weight gain and other unwanted side effects of the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And it all starts with the 50% rule. It’s pretty simple - you take your goal, whatever it is, and only put half the effort into reaching it.
The 50% rule is a way to give yourself a break over the holidays, without totally giving up on your goal. Since you’re not asking as much of yourself, you’re more likely to achieve your goal and that helps keep you motivated to stick with it, instead of throwing in the towel until January. And the great thing about it is that the rule works for everything from exercise to enjoying indulgences during the holidays, like comfort foods and festive cocktails.
These are some unrealistic holiday health rules and how you can modify them with the 50% rule to actually work for you, without feeling guilty.
- “I won’t eat any dessert at holiday parties” - It’s hard to pass up those platters of Christmas cookies and tempting fudge, so instead of feeling deprived or guilty if you do eat the treats, just eat half of what you normally would. This way you still get to enjoy it without overdoing it.
- “If I don’t have 30 minutes for a workout, it’s not worth it” - Lots of us feel this way, but remember: 15 minutes is better than zero. Just because you can’t get a full sweat sesh in doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. You’ll still get the “feel good” endorphins with a short workout and you can be proud of yourself for sticking to your goal, with just 50% less effort.
- “Holiday cocktails are unavoidable, I’ll just start over for Dry January” - Instead of giving up for the rest of this year, plan ahead to only have half the amount of drinks you typically would. It allows you to enjoy the eggnog or wine you want, but by only drinking half as much, you’ll avoid waking up with a headache or feeling sluggish the next day.