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How To Avoid The Holiday Hangover

With Christmas less then a week away,  I suppose it’s only fitting, that as fitness professional, I write some generic dribble about how to keep the weight off this holiday season. I probably should post some dieting tips such as eating a healthy meal before going to your family function or social gathering, so that you’re less likely to binge on the “bad foods” while you’re enjoying yourself. I should also provide some exercise ideas such as walking to your Christmas parties, rather then driving to them, to burn off those extra couple hundred calories. And I guess it’s technically my job to shame and/or make you feel guilty for the lack of exercise and overindulgence that most people fall victim to during this time of year…….

Well, The Hell With That!

It’s time to be Holly! It’s time to be Jolly! And it’s time to enjoy the Holiday Season!

Party Pooper

As much as I hate to poop on your parade, the reality is that I would not be practicing what I preach, unless I at least acknowledge that it is possible to keep things relatively under control over the holidays when it comes to diet and exercise. Yes, it is possible to still eat clean, exercise regularly and still find time to enjoy yourself with a few sugary snacks and tasty treats. You don’t need to deprive yourself completely, you just need to discipline yourself proportionately. Rather then load up on dark meat, switch over to the white meat. Replace mashed white potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes. Ditch the bread crumbs and stuff your stuffing with quinoa or brown rice or barley or even couscous. Yes this can be done!

If you are hosting Christmas Dinner, then get creative in the kitchen. If you are attending a dinner party, get strategic with your eating. Load up on greens. Don’t go back for seconds. Drink tons of water. Just because you are a guest in someone’s home does not mean that you have to overeat. If you are worried about coming off as rude or appearing impolite, just simply explain to your host that you have been dealing with some digestive issues or are not feeling the greatest as of late. Or, if you don’t want to lie or make up an excuse, just be honest and tell them that you are watching your weight. Most people will and should understand and respect your reasoning for not consuming large quantities of food in one sitting. And if they don’t, then the hell with them anyways, it’s your body and therefore your right to decide what and how much you feed it.

Exercise to Eat

I’ve always made it known to all of our clients that I like to eat and that I like to eat ALOT. And because I like to eat alot, I know that I need to exercise alot so that I am able to remain lean and fit year round. I’ve never believed in an “Offseason” when it comes to my diet and my training. Yes, I like to indulge in the occasional box of cookies and/or slice(s) of pizza, but for the most part, my diet is consistently clean and healthy year round. And because of this, I have an adequate amount of energy to ensure that my training remains effective and efficient year round. This approach to my health and fitness does not change just because of a fat guy in a red suit with a couple of reindeer. Yes, I will be attending a few Christmas parties, however I do not refine my mindset because society deems it okay to overindulge and be lazy during the holiday season. If anything, I actually use the holiday season to train harder and lift heavier in the gym then I normally would. After all, if I’m going to be consuming extra calories (which you better believe I’m sure as hell going to do), wouldn’t it only make sense to use those additional calories for fuel? So rather then use the holidays as an excuse to take time off from exercise, try using them as an excuse to exercise more. You most likely will have a few days off from work anyways. Surely you cannot be spend every waking hour consuming turkey and stuffing while drowning yourself in rum and eggnog…..Can You?

Avoiding the Holiday Hangover 

However you choose to spend this holiday season will ultimately be your decision. I can scold and lecture about the importance of diet and exercise until I turn blue in the face, but the fact is, we are all accountable for our own actions. If you want to give in to temptation and/or short term gratification, then do so. If you want to exercise and go to the gym each day to burn off all those extra holiday calories, then do so. If you want to sit on your ass and be lazy, then do so. As adults, we have the luxury of choosing how we spend our time and who we spend it with. We also have the luxury of choosing how we treat our bodies and how we choose to take care of ourselves.

For myself personally, I plan on eating whatever I like and as much as I like. I also plan on exercising every single day (yes, even on Christmas). I currently weigh 228lbs and in two weeks from now, when the holiday season has come to an end, I still plan on weighing 228lbs. My reasoning is simple. I don’t let a holiday or a certain time of year dictate how I’m going to look and feel about myself. I control my actions and I control my results. And I don’t plan on losing control of either during these next two weeks.

Merry Christmas! Hanukkah Sameach! And a Happy Holiday Season to You All!

Yours in Good Health,

Nick Cosgrove
Forever Fit Performance