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Thriving (Not Just Surviving) the Holidays

I used to stress hardcore about the holidays. I didn’t want to overeat. I wouldn’t have access to a gym. I needed to stay on track. HOW WOULD I SURVIVE?!

I spent almost every holiday for the past 7 years stressed out and irritable because I was either (a) restricting myself or (b) giving in and overeating and therefore feeling awful in every way, shape, and form. Restricting myself was not limiting myself to one cookie, it was telling myself I couldn’t have any cookies. For me, this almost always leads to binging. Restrict, binge, feel physically awful and mentally disgusted with myself, repeat.

The more I focus on how I feel, and not my appearance, the more comfortable I have gotten being outside of my routine. Though I am still a constant work in progress, I want to share some things to think about that helped me overcome all of these negative feelings towards holidays and indulging.

Thought #1. As much as I love my routine, my mind and body both greatly benefit from a break. The thing is, our bodies are SUPER good at adapting to whatever situations we put ourselves in. I mean, that’s what their function is; to keep us alive! That’s why it is very beneficial to step outside of your routine; it tricks your body, making it less likely to “get comfortable”. What happens when you continually eat the same calories and consistently train in the same manner, is that your body gets really good at functioning that way, leading to diminishing returns in results AKA a plateau.

Thought #2. After a weekend of indulging, it only takes a couple days for me to feel back to normal. Seriously. I don’t know how many times I have stressed myself out to no end because I overeat for 2-3 days and then upon returning to my normal routine, I would feel back to normal within a couple days. So why place this unnecessary stress on your body?

Thought #3. What will be the most memorable to look back on? Will it be sticking to your macros gram-for-gram? Will it be limiting your food intake, but allowing yourself a treat? Will it be indulging in all the goodies? No answer is right or wrong, it’s completely dependant on YOU.

Thought #4. It is such a great physical break for my body. I am a chronic overtrainer. I understand the importance of rest days, but DAMN I am too stubborn. I use holidays as mandatory rest days. I will still do light cardio like walking because I enjoy it, and we tend to do that as a family, but no weights, no gyms, no stress, just relaxing. And when I do get back to the gym, I feel refreshed through and through.

Thought #5. Part of the reason why I am able to stay disciplined in my everyday life is because I do treat myself from time to time. In fact, after a weekend of overindulging, I am itching to get back to my routine, to get back to the gym, and to get my digestion on track.

Thought #6. You won’t gain a bunch of fat by overeating during the holidays, just like you won’t lose a bunch of fat by eating clean for a few days. Any physiological adaptation takes time, a lot of time. That is why consistency is key.

Thought #7. You probably just need to poop. The reason why I feel so disgusted after overindulging is because my digestion is all kinds of messed up. Once it gets back on track, I no longer feel fat. Making the realization that the reason you feel fat is because you’re bloated and not in fact gaining loads of fat, is vital in overcoming the fear of food.

I hope that some of these tips help you gain a new perspective and allows you to have the best, most happy holiday season. Enjoy yourself!

Mandi.

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