The holiday season is upon us, and that means more eating, drinking, and being merry. All of this extra merriment can make it hard to stick with your regular exercise and eating routines. It can be hard to stick with any routine with all of the parting and shopping.
My business always picks up during the holiday season due to everyone hurting themselves from getting all stressed out from doing to much.
If you are trying to eat healthy or follow a diet plan, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stick with. There can be temptations around every corner. From the treats at the receptionists desk, to the snacks in the office kitchen, to the cookies at home, we are surrounded by treats and temptation.
That is why it is important to eat some of the foods that you love. If you really love cookies then have a cookie, but no cake. If you love bacon then eat the bacon and avoid the salami. Have 1 less drink to have an extra cookie.
If you can moderate what you eat, then you can eat what you want, within reason.
About 5 years ago, before the holidays, I decided to give up animal products except fish and cheese. I did this as a way to cut back on what I ate throughout the holidays. I thought that I would eat animal products again after the holidays. But I never did.
I liked eating this way, and felt so good, that I never went back to eating meat or most animal products. I didn’t miss meat and other animal products enough to go back to eating them. The longer I stay away from them, the less I crave them and the less I miss them.
This turned out to be a much better way to cut back on calories than what I had ever intended. Research shows that animal protein consumption is linked to obesity. The more research I read about animal products and protein consumption, the less I want of it.
I don’t advise my patients to completely cut out all animal products like I did. For most of us, it is more realistic to reduce the amount of animal products that you eat throughout the holiday season. Who knows, you might like it so much that you don’t go back to eating animal products.
The holiday season is cumulative, it lasts 4-5 weeks. Most people will gain 2-4 pounds over the holiday season. And most of those people will not take it off afterwards. This weight slowly builds up over time. After 10 – 20 years of this, that can be 20- 40 pounds of weight gain that will take years to get rid of.
If you know that you are going to a holiday party later in the day or evening, then don’t start the say with bacon and eggs. Start the day with oatmeal and berries or whole wheat toast, nut butter, and a banana. Have a lunch with no meat, fish, chicken or cheese. Then have what you want at the holiday party, within reason. Don’t go crazy eating then, but enjoy yourself.
Make sure to exercise as well throughout the holiday season. I always take the month of December easy with exercise. I know that events will come up and make it hard for me to stick with my regular routine. So I exercise throughout the month, but I don’t stress if I miss a kettlebell workout or if I can’t get enough time in on the bike or have to miss a day of yoga.
I like to do this also for another reason. It is good to take some time easy. You can’t go hard all of time. Professional athletes will take up to a month off from exercising after a season ends. This is to allow their bodies to heal and recover.
We need this time off periodically as well. I recommend at least 1 full day off per week. 1 full week easy per month (half the hours of exercise that you usually do). And 1 full easy month per year.
This will allow you to recover and heal so that you can continue to exercise and minimize your chances of injury.
You can come out of the holiday season without any extra weight gain. Eat intelligently. Exercise consistently. And enjoy the holidays. This is the Pain Free Way.
Here are a few other articles that I wrote on how to navigate the holiday season: