You Have Control over Your Fitness this Christmas
The holiday season is in full swing, and Christmas is THIS WEEK! This year has been all kinds of weird, and the holidays look and feel different. Not traveling, not sitting across the dinner table from loved ones we might only see sparingly as it is, no mall Santas with accessible laps, no company Christmas parties…or any Christmas parties for that matter…this Christmas is unYULEsual to say the least.
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I’m not going to say “Don’t worry, be happy!” or “Suck it up, buttercup.” or “Look on the bright side.” You are allowed to worry, be sad, and feel gloomy about the circumstances surrounding this holiday season. In fact, if more people sat with their feelings – and I mean let themselves really feel them – then went on to share them with a friend, partner, family member, and/or professional, the world would be a better place.
Reflecting on and processing emotions normalizes them. Acknowledging our feelings and knowing it’s okay to have them is incredibly freeing. You should try it.
So feel, express, and share all the things – you’ll feel yourself moving forward as soon as you get over the initial hump of facing your fears and allowing yourself to feel. The best part: this frees up headspace to also feel the good.
And there is still good to be felt this Christmas: making gingerbread houses, baking (& eating!) Christmas cookies, video chats with friends and family, the joy of giving, the magic of believing, looking at Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies, drinking hot cocoa with a mountain of mallows…yes, there’s plenty of good to be felt.
So, while I whole-heartedly acknowledge that COVID sucks, and any negative thoughts I have about the challenges that have come along with it are valid, this is life as we know it, and the show must go on. And right now the main attraction is Christmas!
The Christmas season is hard enough to navigate on a fitness journey all by itself. Throw some COVID into the mix and you have a whole new, unique set of challenges standing between you and your fitness goals. During these uncertain, unprecedented, undeniably difficult times, it is helpful to ask yourself, “what can I control?” and focus your energy there.
Making myself proud through fitness and productivity became my hobby, my “me” time, and my sanity 2 years ago when I started my fitness journey. And I’m clinging to it just as hard now as I did back then. My mantra of focusing on what I can control has gone from keeping me grounded every day, to being a ray of light shining through the clouds of COVID that overshadow this year and holiday season.
Of course, there are many holiday traditions we can’t do this year – ride the holiday train, see Santa, travel, embarrass ourselves at the company holiday party, etc. But, there are still so many things we can do. Mourn the loss of some of your most cherished holiday traditions because of things out of your control, thanks to COVID, while focusing on what you can control to make the holiday great!
Beyond Christmas traditions, I also know I’m happiest when I feel my best. I feel my best when I’m active, comfortable, and accomplished. Moving my body, fueling it properly (and allowing it treats!), and getting shit done brings me joy and contentment. And best of all, these things are within my control – even during the Christmas season.
And remember, Christmas is, actually, just ONE day. One. One day of indulging and doing nothing but sitting on the couch with spiked eggnog is A-okay. Just don’t YOLO all Yuletide – the weeks before and after Christmas don’t need to be a free-for-all!
So what can you control this Yuletide to come out smelling like a rose and feeling healthy, happy, and strong come January 1st?
- How you move your body. Plan your week of workouts, and/or continue with your typical, quarantine exercise routine. The good thing about this winter break is that you’re already used to everyone being home all the time and making things work around the other members of your household. This winter break won’t be all that different from what we’ve had going on since March.
As for Christmas day, whether you choose to squeeze in a dedicated workout, go for a snowy day walk, run around the house locating batteries all day, or just snuggle up in your PJs watching Christmas movies, know there’s no wrong answer. Do what makes you happy and feel your best. While getting in a killer workout, a long run, or a refreshing yoga session may make you happy and feel your best on a typical Friday, maybe rest will make you happy and feel your best this Christmas Friday.
And that’s fine. I honestly don’t know what my training plans are for Christmas Day, but I do know that Monday will be Leg day, Tuesday will be Back and Biceps, Wednesday will be Rest or LISS, and Thursday will be Glutes and Hamstrings. Knowing that, whatever happens or doesn’t happen on Christmas day is no biggie.
- How you eat. Continue to meal prep the week of and after Christmas, if that’s your jam, or simply plan your meals. This is crock pot season (every season is crock pot season, IMO), so take full advantage with low-maintenance, healthy crockpot recipes you can eat off of all week long, or freeze leftovers to enjoy again down the road.
There will likely be more treats lying around, but let’s face it – you’ve been looking this kind of temptation in the eyes since Halloween! It’s not new. Treats will always be there, so there’s no need for this “but it’s Christmas!” garbage. I’m not saying don’t eat them, because hell, it’s Christmas!, but I am saying maybe don’t eat ALL the cookies on the tray, EVERY single red and green M&M in the candy dish, or like, an entire pie. Showing some restraint and restricting yourself are not one and the same. Enjoying everything in moderation is not the same as depriving yourself.
I’m not saying you’re gonna nail your nutrition all the time, lose a bunch of weight, and be the leanest you’ve ever been on the first day of 2021. Maybe you’ll weigh exactly the same, maybe you’ll even put on a few pounds. It’s important to have realistic goals and expectations, and even more important to allow yourself to enjoy the holidays without pegging yourself out at either end, or both ends, of the restrict-binge spectrum. There’s a whole range in between, and your happy medium is in there – all you gotta do is find it and respect it.
This Feliz COVIDad, maybe you’re finding yourself in the unique position of preparing your own Christmas treats, meals, and snacks. Use this to your advantage. Never been one for green bean casserole? Find a recipe and make your own healthier alternative to getting some greens. Prefer a low maintenance holiday meal rather than spend all day in the kitchen? Make a hearty Christmas soup in the crock pot. Love pumpkin pie but think the calorie count is just outrageous? Make your own, lighter version. Ain’t nothing about this holiday season normal, so roll with it. Shake things up, try something new.
- How you talk to yourself. What you tell yourself on a daily basis matters. If you’re constantly belittling yourself, you’re not gonna accomplish shit. If you’re attacking yourself and your weight from a place of negativity, you’re not gonna get very far.
Give yourself grace when things don’t go as planned – everything will work out. Show yourself love even when your mind tricks you into thinking you don’t deserve it – you do. Give yourself credit for everything you do for yourself, your family, and your friends – trust me, it’s more than you realize.
Telling yourself it’s okay to take a rest day, or calling yourself out on your bullshit excuses and getting a workout done are equally important and necessary. Some days require the former, some days require the latter. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and motivation to workout – sometimes it’s forcing yourself to put on the sports bra and sneakers when there’s 1000 other things you need to do, or would rather be doing. It’s not always easy to enjoy just one soft, warm crescent roll with dinner or to stop after 2 cookies – sometimes it’s reminding yourself how much better you feel when you aren’t uncomfortably full and painfully bloated.
Skipping a workout is easy, and sometimes necessary. Coping with skipping a workout can be hard. Binging on Muddy Buddies happens, y’all – that shit is delicious. Dealing with the mental aftermath of a binge can be taxing. Feelings of guilt can spiral out of control, causing more missed workouts and lowered inhibitions when it comes to food choices. Practicing grace and recognizing the world doesn’t end with one meal or workout will get you a lot farther in your journey, both mentally and physically.
For some reason the holidays come around and we use it as a “Get Out Of Diet Free” Card, only to have a massive hole to dig ourselves out of after the new year hits. This is my 3rd holiday season since I started my fitness journey with the SWEAT app, and honestly, I’m still figuring out what works. The last 2 years, my attitude on January 1st has ranged from discouraged and regretful over how my body looked, to a little bummed out about my appearance, but also kinda proud of my self-control. A couple weeks from now I expect to feel proud as hell for treating my body with the respect it deserves, and the physical benefits will be the figgy on the pudding.
Of course, this is aimed toward those with fitness and/or weight-loss goals, even through the holidays. If you eat whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, and have no intentions or desire to change that, I’m not really sure how you wound up on my blog in the first place. LOL. But, nevertheless, I’m glad you’re here. So many of us do want to feel our best both during the holidays, and after. Unfortunately, a “Go nuts! It’s Christmas!” attitude may not support that desire in the long run.
Follow me on Instagram to watch my fitness journey, and see how I navigate nutrition during the holidays, and every day, in my daily food diary stories.
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