Finding Balance when Approaching the Holidays

Health Information

If you are anything like me, that first 40 degree day hits in Philadelphia & I’m ready to stay under the blankets, throw in the towel on working out, & find the first pumpkin pie spiced latte near me.  Unfortunately, we have responsibilities so maybe we don’t stay under the blanket, but are still working out less because we are getting more busy as the holidays approach. Increased calorie intake from lattes (and pies) certainly don’t help either.  So how do we maintain balance while enjoying ourselves as the holidays approach?  Here are some tips on finding balance this November and December.


First things first, you can have a bad week of eating or you can have a bad week of not working out, but in order to find balance try to only sacrifice one over the other.  An example is the week of Thanksgiving.  We may be celebrating Thanksgiving Eve with a nice bottle of red wine & some great desserts followed by Thanksgiving Day with loads of our favorite foods.  Indulge and eat what you would like, but in return try to find ways to balance it with a workout each day.  Maybe we wake up Thanksgiving morning and participate in a local 5k (you can even walk one!) or on Thanksgiving Eve since you’re out of work early go for a walk with a friend, take a group fitness class, or workout with your trainer.  There are tons of options to stay moving so plan ahead and know what your game plan is.


A common mentality I see when talking to clients is the “all or nothing” mentality.  We do it with both fitness and nutrition.  We go into fitness with the mentality that if we are not working out 5+ times a week and having the best workouts of our lives then what is the point of doing it so we decide to do nothing at all.  It’s ok if you’re feeling a little unmotivated or not feeling your best and not every week has to be perfect.  The most important part is just finding ways to move even if it’s not getting in that full hour workout.  Try and find peace in going for a 30 minute walk with your husband or maybe a 15 minute quick workout before you sit down for dinner.


The same “all or nothing” mentality goes for what we are eating.  We have the best pumpkin pie of our lives and mom says “Take some home with you! I bought take out containers!”.  So you pack up a hefty slice of that cake and take a little bit (that turns into a lot of bit) of what we ate that day.  So you wake up Friday morning hungry and the first thing we see is that delicious pumpkin pie so we decide to eat it for breakfast and follow it up with those other leftovers for lunch….and this happens for the entire weekend.  So now it’s Monday morning and we ate Thanksgiving meals Thursday-Sunday.  It’s ok to indulge for a day (maybe two), but by Saturday try to eat something that is a bit healthier.  Some ideas for getting back on track – start your day off with a nutrient packed breakfast like eggs, smoked salmon, avocado and some berries or veggies on the side. Get moving even if it’s just a walk for 20-30 minutes or stretching/yoga. You will feel more energized and reduce inflammation. I’m sure no surprise here – HYDRATE. Drink plenty of water as it will fill you up and aid in digestion even with those heavy meals.


My last suggestion is to plan something AFTER the holiday with friends, family, or significant other.  Sometimes when we go into the holiday, we convince ourselves that this is the ONLY opportunity we have all year long to see these people.  If we have something to look forward to after it’s over, it allows us to rest easy that there is more fun & enjoyment coming soon.  And even better, maybe plan an activity!  If you’re in P.A. like me, take a day trip out to the Poconos, hike with friends or go walk around Philly on Sunday morning with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.


The key to not just the holidays, but every day is finding balance in the decisions we make.  It’s also not beating ourselves up for those days that might not be the best and finding a way to rebound back to balance.  Be patient with yourself, enjoy the holidays, and find a plan that works best for you!