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HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES

Holiday Fitness Survival

It’s two days after Halloween. You probably have plenty of left over candy in your house. Candy apples and popcorn balls are all over the grocery stores, and Thanksgiving is around the corner. 
 
            The holiday season can be both joyful and terribly stressful particularly for people trying to eat well and stay fit. There can be a lot of pressure to both eat and not eat. Over the years, I have observed people who sail through the holidays without a blip and people who fall into a pit. Here are some of my observations of people who get from October 31 to January 2 without tipping the scale:
 
  1. Joe Fit does not accept conventional thought about food and the holidays. He does not believe that he has to eat pie after dinner. He does not believe he has to eat anything to please his wife, mother, or mother-in-law. He enjoys everything he chooses to eat, but he does not eat any particular food simply to follow tradition or please others. 
 
  1. Joes Fit does not widely vary his exercise or eating habits during the holidays. He eats breakfast and lunch even though he knows he will go to a party at night. He might eat a couple extra bites of meat, have half a beer, and eat a few bites of dessert, but he does not eat too much food he would not normally eat. 
 
  1. Joe Fit uses his time off of work to be active. He takes his kids sledding. He goes on a ski trip with his buddies. He participates in the company reindeer run/walk. He spends hours on Christmas Eve assembling bikes and toys. If he ate a bit extra, he definitely works off the extra calories. The holidays are as much a time for re-creation with family and friends as it is a time to enjoy food.
 
  1. Joes Fit might skip the buffet altogether. He has been there and done that. The buffet is not a big deal. He makes sure he socializes with everyone. He eats at home before or after the party. He wants to feel good tomorrow and does not need a brick of cheese sitting in his stomach at 10 pm. 
 
  1. Joe Fit sees the big picture. He knows how to have fun without compromising his health. He sees more than food when he thinks about the holidays. It is a time to end the old year on a positive note and plan for the new year. He would rather start the new year refreshed from a holiday break than making up lost ground from too much eating, sitting, and spending.
 
Early November is a good time to think about how you want to handle the holidays. Food and leisure is a big part of that planning. Like any other area of your life, if you plan for success, you will feel great on January 2. Perhaps your plan is to eat small portions of certain desserts and skip others. Perhaps your plan is to skip dessert altogether and find another way to treat yourself. Maybe you want to schedule a few more hours of exercise. You have plenty of options. Most importantly, think about your thoughts about food and the holidays. What do you believe about food? Does it benefit you to keep that belief, or is it better for you to change it. 
 
Set up a simple plan and follow through. Every time you reach your nutrition and fitness goal, not matter how small it may seem, you build your confidence. It will be easier for you to reach your next goal. Recruit a team. You might have to discuss your plan with your family and friends so they support you rather than pull you away from your goals. Hire a trainer, nutritionist or other professional to guide you and make the journey easier. You can both enjoy the holidays and stay fit. The two belong together. 
 
Lastly, keep in mind that the positive lessons you learn on your fitness journey applies to all other areas of your life such as your finances, your career, and your relationships. Think about what is holding you back, create a plan to overcome your issues, and execute your plan. You do not need to be perfect. Forgive your mistakes and keep moving.
 
References:
Bauer, Kathleen and Sokolik, Carol. “Making Behavior Change Last,” Basic Nutrition Counseling Skill Development. Wadsworth Group. 2002. pg. 148-152.

This article was provided by Free Movement Fitness Inc.
For more information on Free Movement Fitness Inc., check out their full profile here.
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