It is barely the holiday season, really, but for me the tree has been up for two weeks and I’m sort of on holiday all the time anyway because I don’t have a job so I’m in the spirit.
And I actually really like the holidays – I have such a hard time relaxing most of the year but the lights, the smells, the cozy clothes of Christmas make me feel like yeah, I want to take it easy today.
The thing is I also really like working out and eating right.
So I’ve wound up bouncing back and forth unexpectedly – like the other day I had a healthy breakfast and did my marathon training then I was supposed to eat a meal, recover for a few hours, and do my strength training. Instead I had a beer then more beers then some cookies, played nostalgic video games then watched animated Christmas specials.
And the pie chart is I feel 20% guilty about it and 80% like hey, it’s the holidays, it’s what the holidays are for.
Because the truth is you can’t mess up a week’s progress in one day, you can’t mess up a month’s progress in a week, and you can’t mess up a year’s progress in a month. What matters is trending upwards over the long haul.
Where I think some will run into problems is if they typically view fitness as chore and exploit the holidays to take a break from it – ’cause you’re not getting back on track Monday, man, admit it. You’re gonna coast hard for a month and then at some point you’ll see your reflection (literally or metaphorically) and a lot of guilt and self-loathing is gonna hit you all at once. And that sucks. And all your positive habits will be broken and you’ll have to build up from scratch again with even less confidence you can be successful.
And the other side of that coin is the person so into their fitness they miss the holidays completely. Staying on-lock all the time and being a dick about your gains or your run-times or your energy or whatever makes you feel superior to friends and family who are merely having a good time and want you to join in.
I can’t say more because I honestly don’t know anyone like that – I don’t know anyone who under-indulges in anything – but I know they exist so if that’s you relax, take this time to dispel suspicion that you have an eating disorder. Or to maybe ask yourself if you have an eating disorder.
What matters is that you continue to not use exercise as a punishment. That’s the worst. If you’re having a big carby meal and bottles of wine don’t say I’ll work this off tomorrow or tell yourself it’s okay because you’ll do an extra class this week – it’s okay because it’s okay. It’s okay to eat and enjoy and celebrate. Then keep your gym schedule as normal and that should feel like a celebration too – body fueled up and mind relaxed.