The holiday season is often seen as the proverbial ground zero for out-of-control food choices—choices which effectively ruin all the hard work you’ve been putting in at the gym and kitchen over the months leading up to it.
But while none of us here at Catalyst Fitness recommend going completely off the rails with your diet (who wants to feel bloated and icky?), we DO urge people to remember that your healthy lifestyle is just that – A LIFESTYLE.
And guess what? Lifestyles have natural ebbs and flow to them. No one should feel obligated to follow a 100% strict, clean, no-nonsense diet and exercise routine all the time, especially around the holidays, which are stuffed to the brim with homemade goodies, family traditions, and convivial get-togethers.
Seriously, life isn’t that stringent…so why should you be?
That said, we understand if you’re a little concerned about figuring out how to enjoy the holidays guilt-free without going totally overboard in gravy boats and decadent desserts.
To that end, we’re serving up a few things to think about as you prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) so you can bounce back from the “off-day” with aplomb…and plenty of leftover turkey.
3 Things to Consider for Getting Back on Track After Thanksgiving
1) Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
In the day or two after Thanksgiving, you may be tempted to pencil in a ton of workout sessions, workout classes, and meal prep days to “make up” for whatever you decided to indulge on during the big day.
The problem with trying to go from 0 to 60 is that you can easily overwhelm yourself and cause a major backfire—that is, your lofty schedule is unreasonable, so instead of chunking it down you just give up on it and slip back into those Thanksgiving pants à la Joey Tribbiani from Friends (Christmas is gonna be here soon, anyway, right?).
If you’re trying to get yourself back into a routine with your diet and exercise post-T Day, be realistic. Ramp up the intensity and frequency and try not to set your sights so high that you end up losing focus altogether.
2) Concrete > Abstract
Setting a goal between Thanksgiving and the end of the year can be a great way to keep you motivated and excited about your workouts (as if you aren’t already!). But instead of something vague like “I’ll work out more from now on” or “I’ll eat really clean until Christmas,” stick to a more specific goal that you can definitely answer “yes” or “no” if asked, “Did you achieve this?” Examples of concrete examples could be:
– I will go to the gym 3 times per week.
– I will not drink any soda.
– I will incorporate some veggies into every meal.
Again, be reasonable, but remember the classic management adage: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
3) Become a Self-Care Savant
No matter where you are on your journey with fitness and health, the holidays can dredge up a lot of guilt. I shouldn’t eat that. I should be able to stay clean. I should, should, should.
Listen: no one achieved greatness by being mean to themselves. So throughout the holiday season, commit to acting with self-compassion every day—or at least a couple times per week. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi, drink a LOT of water, write in a journal, watch funny movies (helloooo Elf!). Do whatever YOU think makes you feel loved, appreciated, and grateful.