“How to Survive Holiday Parties.” “Tips to Stay On Track This Season.” Tis the season for helpful holiday blog posts, right? It’s hard to tell sarcasm online, especially from a non-sarcastic girl like me…but maybe you can tell I don’t love these kind of tips. It’s funny, because I used to write these posts with tips and tricks to help avoid weight-gain, overindulging at parties or slacking on workouts. I’m not sure what’s changed me, but over the years I’ve grown to take the more moderate road.
I really don’t think those kind of posts or articles are BAD, but they don’t work for me anymore. Like Lindsay posted about this week, I don’t think it’s helpful to cultivate habits of trying to “burn off” extra foods or not eating all day when there’s a party coming up later that day. Moreover, I’m in the camp with Kindal, who doesn’t like the pre-holiday party suggestions either. 😉 If that way of approaching the holidays is helpful for you or others out there, that’s great! Take what you need and can use effectively in your life from those suggestions. But if you’re like me and you don’t connect to these posts, I thought I’d offer my “approach” to this fun (and sometimes fattening) season.
(Which road will you take this season?)
So. My top tips? Here they are:
Relax. It’s a few weeks of fun, it’s not every night, and what fun is it if we don’t enjoy it? Fitness is the same here too – maybe you need to allow your body to break for a week, or to walk and back off of heavy lifting. Or maybe you’re like me – I get after short workouts over the holidays so that I can enjoy time with family and keep my fitness levels up. But my routine changes and I’m okay with flexibility in my training because life happens! Relaxing about all that helps to enjoy the season. 😉
Adopt an abundance rather than a scarcity mindset. This one pertains to food more than fitness, and I learned about the concept from Jill Coleman. We live in a world in North America where we can basically get whatever we want to eat whenever we want. So why do we live like that box of cookies or bottle of wine is about to run out, opting not to eat just one or two cookies but the whole thing, not just one glass of wine but multiple glasses? This is especially true at parties, where we often hover around the food table and munch, munch, munch until the evening’s done and we’re feeling bloated and regretful. Scarcity says “Eat it all, now! You will never have this chance again to enjoy some snacks!” but an abundance mindset says, “This food will always be here; I can get wine or chips or fudge whenever I want.” Jill says, “Food anxiety is an elaborate interplay of brain chemistry, triggers + resulting habit loops, scarcity vs. abundance mindset and misguided stress management (including physiological factors).” Let’s not have a FOMO (fear of missing out) approach to the holidays dominate our perspective – there’s NYE, birthdays, summer BBQs, Thanksgiving, and just normal days during the week to enjoy food too!
Think long-term. No quick fixes, no burning off food, no regrets, no crazy resolutions or day-after plans. Enjoy the food, the people, the moments, and know that you have the rest of your days to keep that focus on fueling well and living better. I’m not saying to go nuts one night (see above), but remember the reality that one “off” night of eating won’t derail you from your goals just like one perfect night of eating won’t jump you far ahead. The key is relaxing, enjoying and then getting back in the swing of things the next day – not the weekend later or at the end of the whole Christmas season. (Here’s a great post about habit being the key to weight loss and not quick-fix solutions along this same vein of thinking by Go Kaleo.)
And that’s all I really think about when I go into this season. It’s been a process, a change, a slow and gradual evolution for me to think like this and approach this season in such a manner. And you know what? It feels good! And I’m excited about what’s to come celebrating with friends and family this season, and it’s further motivation to eat well and keep up with my workouts while the motivation is high until I hit those celebration nights and hibernate on my days off. 😉
How do you approach the holidays? I’d love to know what works for you – this is an individual thing! – and any tips you might have to share with readers! Live well & be well, and happy Friday friends,