Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of anxiety about how the holidays can interrupt our workout routines. In her blog, a friend recently discussed how, for years, she used to engage in preemptive workouts to “make up” for the workouts she would miss due to travel or the extra calories she’d be eating at holiday celebrations. For quite a while, I used to do the same thing. I would make sure that my workouts were extra rigorous on holidays. And then I would starve myself all day until the holiday dinner. Another acquaintance proposed that, in order to avoid gaining weight during the holidays, it’s best to schedule a workout after a holiday meal to burn it off.
This year, however, I am approaching the holiday season with a different attitude. I run every day because I love it, and on typical days, I eat a healthy diet. Therefore, I know that I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If I allow myself to indulge at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and perhaps one or two additional holiday parties, that is not enough to derail me.
Rather than allowing guilt to hijack my holidays and “making up” for extra calories with additional workouts, I am going to allow myself to enjoy the holidays, secure in the knowledge that I will not gain weight, nor will I fall out of shape due to a few celebratory meals spread over two months. The key is maintaining a healthy lifestyle all year. This allows room for a little indulgence. Of course, this doesn’t give me free reign to constantly snack on those red and green M&M’s that seem to be ubiquitous in many offices this time of year. Or to replace the eight glasses of water I drink daily with egg nog. But a couple of holiday parties, along with family gatherings, simply won’t have a significant impact on my weight or health as long as I otherwise maintain the same healthy habits I exercise all year.