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Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

We have all probably faced some guilt around health and exercise through the holidays. We ate way too much pumpkin pie, we feel like crap, but more than anything, we feel bad because we feel like we've just set back all of our weight loss progress that we made the last two months. Or, Christmas rolls around, we have a vacation planned, we don't know when or how we're going to work out, so we don't and then we can't even be present with our family because we are thinking about the workouts we are missing.

The holidays can be a stressful time to go through. They can be especially hard if we have health and fitness related goals that we want to hit. Maybe even harder if we've hit our goals, because we don't want to lose our progress. It might actually be less stressful for people with no progress on their goals because going backwards wouldn't mean that much. However, that is all beside the point. The question is two-fold: how do we not lose all of the progress we have made, and how do we not go insane and still enjoy the holidays at the same time?

Zoom Out

It is important to remember that what we call "the holidays" is a very small amount of time out of the whole year. Two weeks, maybe three weeks at most. Thats 3-5% out of the entire year. Even if you did the worst possible things to your body during that time, which I'm sure you won't, that's not enough time to completely screw up all of your gains. I just had a few really good friends that I grew up with come visit me. We drank entirely way too much this Saturday. I live like that maybe once a year. This one day isn't going to effect my health long-term at all, and even this year. Now, if I started turning it into an every weekend thing, that would change things.

So, during the holidays this season, zoom out on your perspective and realize 3-5% of the entire year isn't enough to throw your health and fitness goals into turmoil. Only unless you let the 3-5% turn into 50%. Then, you may have a problem.

Win Where You Can

Nobody is perfect. And nobody is especially perfect during the holidays. You are probably going to eat a cookie or two, have a few days where you don't exercise, and spend a bit more time on the couch than you usually would. If this doesn't sound like you and you are that disciplined through the holidays then this post isn't for you.

If this does sound a bit like your life, no sweat, there are still ways you can "win" during this time of the year. Find small ways where you can potentially eat a bit healthier or exercise when you wouldn't. On the same mentality above, don't let two cookies turn into 5 and don't let one day of exercise turn into two weeks of not exercising. Your environment may look a lot different during the holidays so don't let the change in pace effect what you can and cannot do. Go for a 30 minute walk when you get bored. Just because you're not in the gym doesn't mean you can't find other ways to stay active. Rather than snacking a lot try replacing the snacks with water or something that is lower calorie. Find active ways to hang out with your family. We love being with family this time of the year, but that doesn't mean we have to sit on the couch and watch movies. There are plenty of ways where you and your family can be together that isn't sedentary. Reminder, walking for long periods of time is one of the most underrated forms of exercise.