A Thought on the Holidays...

In reality, the holidays are the worst time to try to "buckle down" in terms of diet and exercise. If anything, you should just try to maintain your normal routine and do what feels right for you. Being more flexible and less strict with yourself is a good thing this time of year.
12/08/2015 04:23 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2016
holidays word on the calendar
holidays word on the calendar

How To 'Get Through' The Holidays! Make It Through The Next Two Months Without Gaining Weight! How To Stop The Holidays From Sabotaging Your Diet! Stay On Track This Holiday Season with These Easy Tips! Stave Off Holiday Weight Gain With Ease!

Do any of these click-bait headlines sound familiar?

Every year around this time, the Internet, magazines, news programs, and even a lot of blogs are inundated with messages of "how to survive the holidays." But last time I checked, the holidays weren't a life or death, Survivor-eque challenge to get through!

To me the holidays are something to look forward to... or at least they should be. They're not something to just rush or get through! They're a special time for family, fun, togetherness, tradition, and even FOOD. In fact, food, while an enjoyable part of the holidays, shouldn't even be a main focus... more of just a nice by-product of being together with your loved ones.

Unfortunately, worrying about food, diets, and weight seems to distract us year after year from the true meaning of the season. We become overwhelmed and anxious over frivolous, superficial things because of articles and "tip lists" that circulate the Web like clockwork starting in November, October, September (nowadays!).

In reality, the holidays are the worst time to try to "buckle down" in terms of diet and exercise. If anything, you should just try to maintain your normal routine and do what feels right for you. Being more flexible and less strict with yourself is a good thing this time of year. Holidays can be stressful as it is. You don't need any added pressure from the outside world telling you how should and shouldn't be eating, wearing, exercising, etc.

Instead of worrying about not gaining weight over the holidays, how about trying to gain insight into what has been going on in your family members lives? Have a conversation with a cousin you haven't seen in a while or ask your grandparents how they enjoyed their recent trip. Sometimes we are so disconnected and distracted that we fail to see how out of touch we've become with one another.

Instead of stressing about overeating and portion control, think of people who do not even have enough food to be worrying about such trivial things. Consider putting your energy towards volunteering or helping out the less fortunate in your spare time!

Instead of trying to fit in a workout into an already busy day, how about trying to make time for a new family tradition? Maybe it involves something active... maybe it doesn't. Either way your family will appreciate the time you're giving to them rather than going off on your own to workout because you'll feel guilty otherwise.

At the end of your life what are you going to remember more? That time you got up forced yourself to trudge through a workout on Thanksgiving? How "good" you were with watching your portions?

Or are you going to remember the memories you made while cooking in the kitchen with your mom, listening to stories from your grandparent's youth, sharing a piece of pie from a recipe that's been in your family for years, and staying up late watching a movie while munching on roasted chestnuts with your dad (something I look forward to every year)?

I'd rather have the memories. We have our whole lives to train, eat right, and follow rules. The holidays, however, come only once a year and time is fleeting. Make the most out of them with whoever you are celebrating with and try to be kind and compassionate to yourself.

Exercise and eating right are important, but they don't have to the focal point of these next few weeks. The holiday season in only a small part of the year. Don't beat yourself up about not being "perfect" in your diet and fitness habits. Instead, focus on living in the moment, enjoying the activities you have planned with your family, and just being mindful rather than purposely restrictive or hard on yourself.

Having a happy and healthy holiday means considering all aspects of your mind and body... not just the exterior.