Holidays & Cold Weather - The Nemesis of Fitness Progress
It’s cold outside. All you want to do is snuggle up by the fireplace, eat good food, and stay warm. It’s totally understandable.
The holidays and colder months bring about good company, good food, and often enough, a decline in consistency with training and nutrition. An abundance of cookies and other tasty treats in the office make it more challenging to stick to your typical healthy eating. The nasty weather outside makes the commute to the gym 45% less likely to occur (yes, that’s a scientific fact). Everything is working in favor of putting on undesired weight, so the question becomes, “how can this be avoided?”
HUMANS DON’T HIBERNATE
We are not animals! Human beings don’t need to add an extra layer of fat to stay warm during the harsher weather conditions. Strap on a thick sweater and you’ll be fine!
The point with this is that the first step to maintaining progress from November through March is the acknowledgement that this time is no different than any other time of the year. Just because you’re less likely to be shirtless at the beach doesn’t mean you should let all your previous hard work be squandered!
It’d be foolish to deny that it’s not inherently more difficult to maintain progress with your fitness during this time with the increase in social events that typically revolve around food and alcohol. By coming to terms with that, and deciding that you won’t let it derail you from what you’ve been doing, you can continue to see the change you set out for in the first place.
IT’S CALLED A HOLI-DAY
HoliDAY. Not holiSEASON. Or even worse...holiYEAR. Yes these words are made up. You get the point. Yes, yes, some holidays are over the course of multiple days but let’s not quibble.
Enjoy yourself when you gather around friends and family. Eat what you like. Don’t workout even! But then don’t take 3 pies home, put them in the freezer, and proceed to have 2 slices a day until St. Patty’s Day! If you’re hosting, give all the food away to your guests. If you were visiting, and the host is insisting you take food home (maybe they read this blog too), then take as little as possible without seeming rude, and stick to the healthier foods.
Enjoy the celebration for what it is, let yourself indulge, but then don’t let the indulgence carry over for weeks to come. Minimize the amount of temptations that are in your control, and treat every other day that’s not a holiday as you would the weeks leading to a trip to Hawaii.
A little tough love here. Unless you have to hike barefoot in the snow to get to a gym, cold weather shouldn’t be much of a hurdle. Heaters in car. Hat, scarf, gloves, and boots. Bundle up and get out there. Don’t drive in dangerous conditions, it’s not worth it. Aside from that, strap up and get on down there.
All this to say, no matter the time of year, stick to the plan. You have a routine in place that’s been working and a few days of eating too many cookies won’t throw you off. What will throw you off, however, is letting that few days snowball (little pun for you) into a few months. Then you let going to the gym fall by the wayside and you fall into this cycle. Don’t let that happen!
This wasn’t groundbreaking advice but that’s the idea. There is no magical way to stay in shape during the holidays. It’s the same recipe as it is anytime of year. Remember why you started and made this change in the first place. A little deviation is natural but find your way back quickly and you’ll be good to go.