How to Stay Fit Over The Holidays and Still Have a Life
A lot of fitness-minded people think of holidays or special occasions like Thanksgiving as a minefield to be carefully navigated.
They come up with all kinds of special plans. Maybe it’s to perform extra workouts or train a little harder that week. Or, maybe they start eating a little less to balance out their calorie intake – even fasting around the holiday. Or, perhaps they just allow themselves a cheat meal (or a cheat day) because they’ve been eating “clean” enough lately. People come up with all kinds of clever ideas. And that’s fine. All the power to them! Each of these strategies has pros and cons. And in certain cases, some of them are a really good idea.
But for me, it’s business as usual this week. Or, as Rocky replied to Adrian after she told him “It’s Thanksgiving.”
Yeah, to you, it’s Thanksgiving; to me, it’s Thursday.
I’d just want to ask him, why can’t it be both? Why can’t it be Thursday AND Thanksgiving?
I mean, even though it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, I’m still planning on brushing my teeth, taking a shower, and getting my kids ready for the day, along with many other things that I do daily, whether it’s a holiday or not. You know, normal Thursday stuff.
I’m certainly NOT going to stop doing the stuff that I need to do, which includes taking care of myself, just because it’s Thanksgiving. Just like how my teeth need daily maintenance, so does the rest of my body – and my mind, too.
So, tomorrow, I’ll be taking my dog, Ronin, for a walk on Thanksgiving morning because…
- I love him
- He’s my responsibility and he really needs his daily walk (and we ALL benefit when he gets his exercise!)
- I love walking anyway because it makes me feel good, energizes me, gives me time to think, helps me clear my mind, inspires creativity, let’s me enjoy the outdoors, improves my health, and affords me the opportunity to spend quality time with my family (who often join me), among many other things.
Oh, and it also happens to be the same thing I do almost every other day of the year for the aforementioned reasons.
And besides all that, he’s going to give me the look. If you have a dog, you know the one…
So, you’ll notice that I’m not going on a walk because I’m planning on eating an epic meal later in the day (i.e. Thanksgiving feast, round one). I’m not doing it to burn extra calories. And I’m definitely not doing it to earn my food.
I’m doing it for the same reasons I do it every other day of the year. And if you read the bullet points again, you’ll notice that they’re all good reasons. Good enough for a Thursday. Even good enough for Thanksgiving.
So, this week, I’ll be performing my normal fitness routine all week long, with some minor changes to account for the holiday. For example, I’ll be doing all of my physical training on Thursday in the morning, instead of the afternoon, since we’ll be visiting with family then. But I’m still planning to train because it’s part of my life – and that’s doesn’t change when a holiday comes and goes.
So, I don’t think of it as going “on” or “off” of a diet. I don’t think of it as obeying the rules or breaking the rules. I don’t see certain foods as good or bad. I just stay within a certain set of guidelines that I’ve established for myself, and my unique needs, goals, and circumstances. And now that I have this basic (and very flexible) framework in place, I can more easily live a little without stressing out whenever a special occasion comes up.
But here’s the thing – and this is important. Even if I decided to skip my training tomorrow (not smart), or eat myself into a coma (also not smart), or stay up late partying (really not smart, particularly for me!), it wouldn’t be the end of the world. You see, if you’ve got all your ducks in a row most of the time, a day “off” here and there isn’t going to rock the boat. So, even if I was reckless for a day, it’s not going to change my overall health, fitness, and quality of life.
Sure. If I did all of those things, I’d feel it the next day – maybe even the day after. But I’d be right back in the swing of things Friday morning because it’s your habits that make or break your success – not some clever tip, trick, or hack.
So, remember that training is important; as is building a healthy, fit, strong body. But there are more important things in life. And since we train to live, and not the other way around – as long as you’ve got your priorities figured out, you should be fine regardless of how you spend your time tomorrow.
Now, if you live in the USA, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. And regardless of whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I wish you a very happy Thursday.
Health-First Fitness Coach
Photo credit: 1.