On Monday, I shared with you all 11 tips to help stick to your workouts during the holiday season. I’m thrilled to see that so many of you appreciated that post. Of course, workouts aren’t the only thing we need to consider when it comes to maintaining our health during this time of year. A few of you expressed that workouts aren’t ever the problem for you; it’s the FOOD. Oh, I feel you there. This mama has a sweet tooth that could rival anybody’s and I love me some holiday eats.
When thinking about the food side of things, I was reminded of a conversation I recently heard on the radio. The two hosts were discussing an article with the statistic that more than half of Americans say they expect to gain weight over the holidays. The hosts sounded so confused and almost annoyed. My immediate thought was, “What’s wrong with that?”.
After thinking about it a bit more, I can see the problem when it causes a mentality of “screw it” and a complete lack of balance for that period of a month or two. I can see how it’s a problem when it leads to a ten pound weight gain year after year with nothing done to reverse it. I can see how it can add to feelings of hopelessness. I can see it creating the “I’ll start tomorrow/Monday/next month/New Year’s Day” type of thinking that can put so many action steps towards better health on hold. And that is not something I would ever want to promote.
BUT the things is…what about those of us who know about health and wellness and who are already making steps to live a healthy lifestyle? I believe many of you reading this blog likely fit into that category, so to you I want to say that perhaps it’s okay and even, dare I say, GOOD to approach the holidays with an expectation to gain a couple of pounds. Could it really be okay?
I’m not suggesting you throw any semblance of healthy eating out the window. I’m saying you don’t have to analyze it so much to avoid seeing a small change on the scale.
I’m not suggesting you gorge yourself at every party you attend or every time you walk into the office break room filled with cookies. I’m saying pick things you truly enjoy, then enjoy them.
I’m not suggesting that workouts are more important than healthy eating. I’m saying that just as we adjust our expectations with our workouts, perhaps we also need to adjust our expectations with our diets.
I’m not suggesting you forget good habits and gain ten pounds this month. I’m saying you will probably be okay if 2-3 creep on over the month, because those few pounds will come off naturally for most people after returning to normal habits.
I’m not suggesting the holidays are all about the food. I’m saying that part of the way we socialize and commune together does relate to food – so don’t let worrying about food keep you from really living.
I’m not suggesting it’s wrong to try to eat healthy foods or continue working on positive changes in your regular diet, whether for health purposes or weight loss or whatever. I’m saying that it’s okay to indulge a little bit more than normal.
I believe in balance and moderation. I believe in making health a LIFESTYLE. And part of making health a lifestyle, whether through diet or fitness or any other decisions which impact it, is to approach it realistically. Again – this isn’t meant for everyone. For some, realistically is making small changes to get healthier now and not letting the holidays be an excuse. For others of us, including myself, realistically is letting go of the reigns a bit and remembering that our diets and workouts don’t have to be perfect in order to be healthy.
So, do you think it’s okay for some people to plan for a bit of weight gain over the holidays? Or not ever a good thing to expect (unless needed for medical/personal reasons)? I would love to hear your thoughts!