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  • Writer's pictureSam Trotta

Exercise // Thinker: Holiday Exercising and Eating

Right now, most fitness people and exercise professionals (including me) are littering their blogs, social media pages and private groups with tips to eat less and exercise more through the winter holidays.

These pragmatic tips are valuable if you can find it in you to take them up.

Eating a vegetable and lean protein snack before a Christmas party is great, as long as it doesn't occur to you as inconvenient or unrealistic.

It is hard to mix diet soda or sparkling water into wine or beer. ("Hard" = you just want to drink the drink you want to drink and not some calorie-conscious substitute)

Sitting next to (insert triggering family member here) at Christmas dinner sends you into a feeding frenzy and that great workout you did before your kids woke up Christmas morning is thereafter "undone" in your mind. (It's not in a sense, but you feel like it is)

With my fullest empathy, this is all a matter of self-concern. Going a bit deeper might be helpful for your overall holiday enjoyment and your ability to take up pragmatic nutrition and exercise tips during this busy, genuinely stressful time.

In my experience, the following mindset strategies have helped me enjoy my holidays as much as possible.

First, think of others.

My favourite way to keep my holiday indulging in moderation during the holidays is to avoid self-righteous indignation. I do so by focusing on the family and friends I see during holiday celebrations.

By taking an interest in them, whether just catching up briefly or getting into deeper, more detailed conversations about important issues, I lose interest in my own neuroses about food intake, whether or not I'll get all of my workouts in or petty annoyances that certain other guests might present.

On occasion, you might even learn that "that person" whom you do your best to avoid at the table has a story that makes them more relatable. What a gift!

Second, take a holistic view of health.

Health has many prongs.

Is it healthy to eat and drink in excess on a daily basis? Certainly not.

Is it healthy to occasionally eat and drink in excess when celebrating special occasions with family and friends? Absolutely, yes!

Having an occasional indulgence in loving celebration with your closest people is one of the healthier things a person can do! Provided that you are not indulging to the point of illness or no longer enjoying yourself, occasions like Christmas, inclusive of its food, festivities and traditions, are emotionally and spiritually healthy bonding opportunities that ought not be dismissed in the name of saving some calories or squeezing in a workout.

Third, keep your deeper reasons for eating well and exercising in mind as you indulge and celebrate the season.

Hopefully, you have taken some time to determine your larger, more meaningful reasons for exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. If you haven't, then I believe it is worth taking the time to do so.

Keep those reasons in mind as visit friends and relatives, drink, eat and celebrate the season. A solid focus on your "why" for exercising is one of the better tools to help you indulge in the holidays with gratitude, and avoid going into unwanted excess.

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