The holidays kill me. I love Christmas but as a trainer it’s tough to watch your clients go through it. I will spend all of December listening to everyone complain (in private) how much they hate the endless parties, buffets, candy dishes, cookies in the break room, and gifts of fat dropped in their lap. Every place my girls turn it seems Christmas just equals a food fest. Then come January everyone is READY to do this because we know January 1st is full of MAGIC.
Let’s not forget how BUSY we are this time of year. You will commit to cooking this, going to a party for someone you roll your eyes about when their name is mentioned, kids plays, gift buying, etc.
You see, this time of year I see which clients are really dieting with me and the ones who are CREATING a lifestyle. Let me just rant and go over the differences a bit.
- Misses workouts because they are “busy”. For some reason they can’t get up early for a few weeks and they can’t seem to cut their workout schedule back to four days from five. If it ain’t five days then it ain’t happening. PERIOD.
- Grabs a few Christmas colored M and M’s each time she walks past the receptionist desk because those are SPECIAL. The red and green bag isn’t always out, Corinne! Oh, and this is on her way to refill her water…by the cookie plate in the kitchen…and so she grabs one of those because Lord knows when Martha will make some cookies again (next week).
- Skips lunch because she didn’t prep some meals on Sunday. Laying on the couch from being busy all week sounded better. Then she hits Pizza Hut on the way home because she’s got wrapping to do and cards to get out. Oh well, she’ll just have a slice until she realizes she’s starving from missing lunch! Damn, there goes three slices chased with the pie leftover from some gift of fat that dam husband brought home.
- HATES every minute of it but drags her butt out of bed at 4am knowing if she doesn’t workout then it CAN’T get done this week. She might be more tired at night but it teaches her to go to bed early and skip some TV.
- Does videos at home this week because the gym isn’t open and it’s cold outside, but realizes her body only knows her butt is moving and not where it is moving. Might not be her favorite or the schedule she follows, but she has a bunch of videos she got last Christmas for weeks just like this. She’s a smart cookie rather than eating cookies.
- Throws together easy food preps so that lunch and dinner can be ready within five minutes. That’s so much easier and healthier than stopping at a drive-thru.
- Has frozen dinners in the freezer just in case she runs out of prepped food. A Lean Cuisine isn’t clean but neither is a Big Mac.
- When she walks through the office she has gum in her mouth knowing food landmines are everywhere. She’s even told her close friends at the office her goal is to have a big Christmas dinner and fun night at the company party so she is giving up mindless nibbles of not-so-special Christmas junk food. Who’s with me?
- Researched a nursing home on the way home from work that she can drop off another plate of cookies. These people who truly appreciate it. She knows if she gets Suzie’s cookies home all she will do is eat them and then cry when the pants don’t fit January 1. Besides, Suzie’s cookies aren’t like Momma’s and those are the cookies she wants to have Christmas Eve.
See, I believe we should all go into the holidays knowing we will be busy but ABSOLUTELY refusing to use it as an excuse to give up. If you want to maintain I think that’s awesome. Maintaining is less stressful and doesn’t start BAD HABITS. It means you MAINTAIN a healthy lifestyle…not give up and go nuts. Part of maintenance is watching your bites, licks, tastes, exercising, enjoying TRUE treats, and limiting your silly spur of the moment cookie standing in your kitchen.
Maintenance exercise is similar. You fit in what you can through the week. Bust out a video, grab a short walk when you are just waiting on the kids to finish practice (amazing how a parking lot can be walked around if you just keep a pair of running shoes in the trunk), go on Pinterest to find those TV commercial workouts, or keep your regular schedule but do it at irregular times.
But the WORST thing I see at the holidays is not so much someone who is dieting versus lifestyling. It’s the women who neglect themselves in an effort to try and make the season PERFECT for everyone but them. They typically end up burned out and on the short end of the stick. Don’t be that girl or woman. Taking care of you is not a sin or shameful but many of you feel like it is and that is heightened during the holidays.
I leave you with this from the Weightless Blog…enjoy and let me know what you think.
During this time, we can get caught up in what other people want and need — while depriving ourselves of the bare essentials and the activities and habits that makes us feel nourished and satisfied.
We tend to abandon self-care in hopes of checking off one more thing from our expanding to-do lists.
That’s why, before the holidays arrive, it’s so important to think through your needs, wants and wishes — and to remind yourself to honor them.
Here are some ways you might give yourself permission this holiday season:
- I give myself permission to spend some alone time.
- I give myself permission to decline invitations that leave me feeling stressed or over-scheduled.
- I give myself permission to slow down and shrink my to-do list.
- I give myself permission to prepare fewer foods if it means I’m less stressed.
- I give myself permission to maintain my boundaries with loved ones.
- I give myself permission to speak up when my boundaries have been crossed.
- I give myself permission to make time to move my body.
- I give myself permission to focus on one thing at a time.
- I give myself permission to eat foods I love.
- I give myself permission not to feel guilty about what I eat. But if I do, that’s OK. I’ll practice self-compassion.
- I give myself permission to set a gift budget and follow it.
- I give myself permission to sleep in.
- I give myself permission to be thankful for my body in its current, glorious shape and size.
- I give myself permission to celebrate the holidays on my own terms.
Giving yourself permission to do something that honors your needs is incredibly liberating. It might feel strange at first, but remember that your well-being is vital.