The Worst Fitness Mistake During the Holidays
The mistake I’m about to divulge is one that can be made anytime. It just happens to be particularly common during the holiday season, which seems to last longer and longer every year, making it all the more detrimental to your health and fitness goals.
An Important Preface
Before I share the worst mistake, there’s another one that has to be mentioned so you aren’t confused about my intentions:
Don’t go into the holidays with a plan to follow a strict diet and exercise regimen. It’s not a good time to test the limits of your willpower.
Even if you have the ability to turn down all the yummy goodness the holidays have to offer… why?! I would argue it’s better for your health to fully participate in family and community gatherings than to sit at home by yourself worrying about macronutrients.
With that in mind — and please don’t forget I said it — there’s an even bigger mistake most people make.
The Worst Mistake
What’s the worst mistake you can make around the holidays? I could say it’s leaving milk and cookies rather than scotch and dark chocolate for Santa.
Worse than not anticipating Santa’s needs, and worse than trying to tackle a rigid diet and exercise program during the holiday season, is giving up on diet and exercise entirely for the next month.
Most people have a hard enough time being consistent as it is (and consistency is the most important part of getting in shape). Intentionally quitting for an extended period of time will make it that much more difficult to get going again — if you ever manage to do it at all.
On the other hand, consistency doesn’t have to mean working out every single day and eating perfectly at every meal.
Here’s What You Should Do
As you already know, I’m not recommending any kind of intense efforts be made. The holidays can be stressful enough without tacking that on, too. All I want you to do is:
Have a plan.
It can be anything. One normal workout a week. Three short ones. 5 minutes a day. Whatever you want. Just make it easy.
Same for your diet. You could stick with your normal eating most days, and allow a treat whenever it’s available. Or you could prioritize one thing (like getting enough protein or vegetables), and anything else goes.
As long as it’s some sort of plan, you’ll be better off than just giving up, and you’ll still make progress toward your goals (don’t believe me? read “Why 90% Effort is More than Enough”).
But here’s the thing…
If you find yourself not being able to even live up to the easy plan you made, don’t worry about it! Don’t give up, but don’t sweat it, either. Pick up where you left off and keep going.
If all else fails, and you get to the new year feeling a few pounds heavier, as long as you haven’t given up, you’ll still have an easier time ramping back up after the holidays are over.