The Holiday Hurdle

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Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles
Joined: 10/16/2012

Why are the holidays such a stumbling block for all of us? So many of my athletes have diffuculty mainitining their healthy lifestyles during this time of year. I have always wondered why we feel the need to gorge on cookies, alcohol and processed foods during the only block of time when our level of activity is drastically decreased. I'm assuming much of it is simply cultural and habitual. I understand the social aspect of increased amount of parties and office dinners etc.... What can we do to limit the toll the holidays take on our body composition? But is it worth it to start the new year behind the eight ball training wise? Chime in on how you deal with the holidays? Is it a challenge for you too?

I grew up with the traditions: eating too much on Thanksgiving before plopping down to watch football on TV, baking two too many pies at Christmas (even though no one liked pumpkin pie anyway), or drinking a little too much on New Year's Eve because if you wake up without a hangover on New Year's Day, then you didn't do it right :) But these days I choose health and realize that food shouldn't be the main focus of the seasonal festivities. I don't eat certain foods just because they are available and I still eat mindfully and stop when i am full. The food is not going anywhere and I can enjoy a bit more tomorrow. Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving this year, my boyfriend and I went on a hike and then ended up stopping by a cute Thai restaurant on the way home for a unique twist on the Thanksgiving feast. Now I don't expect everyone to forgo traditions, but to realize that sometimes what we've done in the past may not be the most suitable for the present time. Create new traditions and focus on what makes you feel good vs. what leaves you overstuffed, lazy, miserable, and feeling guilty into the new year.
During the holiday season I focus on giving myself a few more cheat days during the week than normal. Every meal I try to always add some sort of protein into the mix rather than eating 100% carbs. This helps stabilize my blood sugar better even though it still throws it out of wack.
Krista what you wrote is both brilliant and wise. I, too, agree that our future success relies on our ability to identify and move away from past traditions that may no longer be conducive or support our current goals. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
Thank you iZenny! I hope you are enjoying a happy and healthy 2013 so far :)