Happy Holidays – in Moderation

The holidays are upon us. We’re all busy running around, shopping, decorating, going to concerts and parties. Oh yes, and working. thumbnail

It’s hard to keep up with everything normally; this month it can seem impossible. Which is why there are constant magazine articles, news stories, posts, and tweets about how to not over-do it, not get burned out, not gain 20 lbs. And why in a few weeks, they’ll all be about New Years Resolutions, losing 20 lbs, and getting back in shape.

I would just like to say, “Stop!” I would love to change the conversation. So much of it is about somehow being perfect, and mostly about how much you weigh (or will weigh by the end of the year). How about we just think about being healthy? How about happy? So here’s my 2 cents about “surviving” the holidays.

Give up obsessing about your weight! Yes, if you eat a bunch of cookies, you might gain a few pounds. Who cares? Yes, I said that. Who cares? Health is about so much more than the number on your scale! A few pounds do not really matter. They will if you keep adding them and don’t get any exercise, but that’s something different. But my point is, quit worrying about each pound.

I am not a fan of attempting to resist all your urges for some of the yummy foods of the season. Look, they’re yummy – we all know that. And I’m pretty sure if you deny yourself all of it, you’ll be pretty unhappy. And also pretty unsuccessful. I don’t know anyone who actually can deny all the excessive food of the holidays. I’m more in favor of allowing myself a few things. That way I satisfy some of my urges so they don’t overwhelm me. Or maybe that’s just my excuse for not having great will power. But I see so many people struggling, denying everything, which leads to being more obsessed with it (think about 5 year olds when they’ve been told they can’t have something), and feeling like failures when they do give in and eat.

If you go to a party and overindulge, forget about it – that’s now the past. Don’t starve yourself the next day. When you do that you are so much more likely to overeat again when you do eat – because you’ll be really, really hungry (and probably cranky). Instead, just eat healthy foods. Eat more vegetables. But eat.

And get some exercise. OK, maybe you won’t be working out as regularly or as long as other months. Look, we’ve all got a lot going on. And if you add in an illness/injury/treatments, then it can be especially tough! But again, who cares? (yes, this is the fitness trainer saying this) Your overall health is about what you do most of the time. If you walk only 15 minutes tomorrow instead of 25, those 10 minutes are not going to make you a suddenly unhealthy person. Some exercise is always better than none. Do what you can. But stay active. It can help relieve stress, give you a boost of energy, and burn off a few calories – all good things during the holidays. Doing some and doing it regularly, even if it’s not your normal workout, will also keep you in the habit of exercise (so it will be that much easier to get back to your regular workouts!).

I think one of the big problems of the season is that from all the ads and articles, it can seem like we’re supposed to add in all these extra things, and do everything with the same energy and intensity. And that just isn’t reasonable. Then, when we inevitably fall off the back of the wagon, a whole lot of us tend to just give up. “Oh, what’s the point? I’ll just be healthy in January…”

My advice? Cut yourself some slack. Be reasonable with yourself. Keep up all of your healthy choices as much as possible. But give yourself some room to make mistakes. Give yourself room to take it easy. And enjoy yourself.

This all sounds like moderation, doesn’t it? (but what would all those magazines write about if they just said, “be moderate and enjoy?”)



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