Tis the season...of cocktails with friends, big dinners with families, and parties with co-workers. But what does that mean for your body, for your mind and for your overall health?
You’ve heard it said that the average person gains seven to ten pounds over the holiday season. I can’t tell you if that statistic is true. After all, I haven’t run any scientific studies on that point...but what I can tell you is that if I am considered average I can see how that might be true. How, you ask? On any given day of the week during the non-holiday season I typically eat between 4-7 smaller meals each day. But then Thanksgiving hits and what happens? I sleep in, skip my morning workout, grab a coffee...not my normal short skinny vanilla but a thick and creamy, whole fat milky, extra caramel on that super tall (as many ounces as I can get) macchiato. But it doesn’t stop there. Because it’s a holiday I might pick a sticky bun for breakfast. Now I skip lunch because I know a big dinner is coming soon. And while I’m skipping lunch, football is on the TV and what goes better with football that a nice cold beer? Well, wine for me, but you get the point. Here comes dinner. Thanksgiving dinner equals extra servings of green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, a pool of gravy, a dinner roll, and sweet potatoes lathered in brown sugar and marshmallows. Notice I didn’t mention turkey - who wants that when all that other stuff is available? More football follows, a nap, a hefty plate of leftovers and maybe a cocktail. Now that’s just one day of the holiday season. One. Day.
But what’s the big deal about just one day during the holiday season? If we reflect honestly on past holiday seasons we know that there are way more days than just One Day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. It’s easy to fall out of routine during this time. So easy. Get togethers replace workouts. Late nights replace sensible bedtimes. And the list goes on.
So how do we approach the holiday season? Do we skip out on parties? Say no thanks to the gingerbread cookies shared by friends? Maybe that works for you...maybe not. So what do we do? Let’s talk about intentional decisions. Too often we make decisions quickly, sometimes out of obligation or guilt. We say “I have to go that fundraiser” or “I’ll have the pasta alfredo.” We make these decisions without thinking, without intention. What the heck is your intention? Simply stated, it’s your priorities. And this looks different for all of us. This holiday season, one of my priorities is to maintain a stable sleep schedule. Knowing my priorities allows me to make intentional decisions. For example, I’ve been invited to party and I’m going to go. But, before I go I am making the decision to make my exit around 9:30 p.m. This allows me time to get home, relax, get seven hours of sleep, and still be able to wake up refreshed for a morning workout. Why do I decide this BEFORE I go? Easy, now I don’t have to decide once I’m at the party. Sure, the party will be fun. I will be having a good time. The cocktails will be awesome. But for me...parties, good times and cocktails are not my priorities. Right now it’s a stable sleep schedule. The decision has already been made. And it was made with intention.
So let me ask you...what are your intentions this season? And what intentional decisions can you make to keep your priorities...well a priority. Maybe your priority is to attend 3 classes each week at Q360. Each night before you go to bed, prepare your workout clothes for the next day. When that alarm rings at 5:15 for that 6:00 a.m. class you won’t have to decide what to wear. That decision was made the night before...with intention. Take 30 minutes tonight and think about what is important to you this holiday season then write them down. Then think about the invitations you have received, the desserts placed in front of you, the choices you will be making over the next month and make some decisions. Make intentional decisions. After all...tis the season to live your life...with intention.
Kelly Graduated from Rocky Mountain College in 2000 with a degree in Exercise Science. She is currently certified with; NSCA-CSCS; AFPAI-Certified Water Aerobic Instructor and AFPAI-Certified Land Aerobic Instructor. In addition to Private Training, Kelly leads Q’s Lift N’ Ride Classes and Synrgy360.