October is here. Cue the beginning of the holiday season. Enter mini-sized candy bars, desserts decorated with assorted animals (see also: black cats, turkeys, reindeer), and, of course, pumpkin everything.
As a rule, the fitness industry thrives on the holidays. That is, it thrives AFTER the holidays. Once the New Year hits, then begins the guilt, then the resolutions, then the new gym memberships. Come February, chocolate beckons, you succumb, and all your good intentions come to an end.
We hate that. We want to help you get you off that rollercoaster. Better yet, never get on that ride in the first place. Here’s 3 ways you can avoid the gluttony, gain, and guilt and survive the holiday season with your waistline, pride, and health in-tact:
- Buddy up: You need support. While it may seem logical to pair with someone similar who shares your struggles and goals, instead we suggest finding a mentor that already walks the walk. Better yet, immerse yourself in a community full of people who have figured out how to dedicate themselves to a healthy lifestyle. Peer pressure can be a bitch, but when you use its power for good, it can be just what you need to keep you committed.
- Be prepared: It’s silly to expect that you won’t indulge in holiday yum-yum at some point. Use this flow chart from the Whole9 to keep your diet in check when your office becomes a pie-fest. There are foods that are totally worth it. You should enjoy those without the burden of shame. But most treats, at best, aren’t worth it and, at worst, undermine you physically and psychologically. Know the difference.
- Stay active: Frantic shopping doesn’t count. Exercise endorphins are your ticket to staying sane through the stress of the season, not to mention thwarting the winter blues that creep in once Daylight Savings Time ends and you stop seeing the sun for 6 months. Researchers (read: people who know what they are talking about) have found that knocking out your workout first thing in the morning is the best way to stick to the habit.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. The holidays can be rough for a lot of us, for many reasons. This is a time to be kind and gracious — and that includes toward yourself. And if you need it, we know some people who can help you out. It’s kind of their thing.