Enjoying Instead of Surviving the Holidays

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers in the United States! I hope everyone has a wonderful day, no matter how you are spending it. Because Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season for me, I wanted to talk about the difference between surviving versus enjoying the holiday season. And how I’m choosing to enjoy it in a mindful way versus the overindulgence I’ve done in the past.

First of all, can we stop with the “do X exercise for Y minutes to burn off Z calories” infographics that start spreading around Halloween? I’ve always thought the “you ate it now negate it” mindset is incredibly unhealthy because it promotes the idea that exercise is punishment. You ate something “bad” and now you have to burn an equal amount so you earn that treat. In the past, that has always lead to a downward spiral for me of eating more and more because “I can always burn it off later”. Except that it always leads to me feeling stuffed and guilty, causing bad thoughts because I couldn’t “control” my eating.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been working on getting away from using food and exercise as rewards and punishment. I’m not good or bad because I decided to have dessert or I did a good workout, I’m simply working on making decisions because they make me happy. I’m going to do a Turkey Trot with my in-laws because it’s a tradition when we spend Thanksgiving with them (and because I’m super excited for a 5K PR) and not because it means I can eat all the food later. I’m going to enjoy whatever food I decide to eat instead of mindlessly eating just because the food is there.

The easiest way for me to enjoy the holidays is to take it one day at a time. We don’t have too many holiday gatherings going on, which does make it easier for me to enjoy the ones we go to instead of being mindless at them because it’s the 1,000th party we’ve been to. Plus, I feel like I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been intuitive eating about what foods make me physically feel better when I eat them and that treats are included in that along with vegetables. I still can’t believe how often I turn to vegetables now as something to add to my plate when in the past I haven’t been a big vegetable person.

I’ll still be working out during the holidays but that’s just a part of my daily life. It’s a part of my routine to get in the exercise I do and it keeps me happy and in a good mind space. I’m not going to be adding on extra exercise to “negate” holiday calories but I’ll be using the extra time off I have (because I realized that I needed to take six days of vacation time that wouldn't roll over) to focus on adding in more mobility and flexibility work that helps keep me injury free. And getting in lots of extra sleep because sleeping is the best.

How do you enjoy the holidays? Let me know in the comments all the fun things you have planned to do between now and the end of 2018. For me, I’m enjoying some extra vacation time (plus my long Christmas break), finishing my Christmas knitting projects and running two races!



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How did my Thanksgiving go?

This is a follow-up post to “Cutting and weight loss during the holidays.” I just wanted to check in quick about how my Thanksgiving went and how I feel about everything.

First of all, I woke up at a low weigh in Thanksgiving morning. My weight had been dropping basically every day this week (which I did not expect since I’m still doing the same plan I have been since October 2nd) and I weighed in at 133.4 pounds Thursday morning. Which I haven’t been since September/October 2016. Crazy, right?

I wanted to get a workout on earlier in the day so I had a pre-workout snack of plain greek yogurt and a banana just to get some food in my system. If I was just doing weights (or if my gym was opening at it’s normal time), I would have headed there to do my weights. But, I had a three mile run to do and the gym was only open from 8 a.m. to noon for Thanksgiving. Luckily we have the apartment gym which is where I normally do my Thursday weights session so I headed over there.

I could really feel that I didn’t have as much food in as I normally do before a weight sessions (especially the ones I do after work). The walking lunges almost took me out with how hard they were. But I got in a good weight session and a run. I only had three miles and I tried to just take it easy since I was doing it post-weights. It was a good thing I didn’t try heading to LA Fitness in the morning because by the time I got done with my workout we had about an hour before we left.

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So, I skipped my foam rolling (I know, not the best thing to do) and jumped into the shower. I ate breakfast as I got ready, which was oatmeal with protein powder and berries plus my usual coffee. I felt so much better once I got more food (and caffeine) in me. Then we hit the road to drop Vinnie off with the in-laws and head up north.

I had a great time visiting family for Thanksgiving. I got to see my nephew and get plenty of snuggles in with him and my cousins were there with their four little girls. All together, five little ones, with three of them walking. It was a bit of chaos at my grandma’s.

With both lunch and dinner, I took a little bit of everything I wanted to try and focused on getting a good amount of turkey and vegetables on my plate. Of course, I had mashed potatoes and buns plus a slice of pumpkin pie. But I didn’t feel stuffed by the time I was done. In fact, I didn’t put on my sweatpants for the drive home or sleep at all on the way home. Which is normally what happens. I was super tired by the time we got home at a little bit after 10 p.m. and I’d never been so glad to crawl into bed (except maybe after our honeymoon).

I woke up Friday morning and jumped on the scale, knowing that it was going to be up. And it wasn’t up as much as I was thinking it would be. I was up 3 lbs, at 136.3, but I was expecting to see a bigger jump because I ate a lot of carbs the day before. But I’d also kept up with water intake and got the day started off with a great workout. Plus, I didn’t eat until I couldn’t physically eat any more which is a big accomplishment for me on the holidays.

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Fridays are a rest day for me but since I had the day off I went into the gym for a yoga class. Since I didn’t stretch or foam roll after my Thursday workouts, I did go on the rowing machine for 15 minutes before the class just to get my body warmed up. And I felt like I got into a rhythm a lot easier with the class (and crushed the balance flow!).

This Thanksgiving was a huge accomplishment for me in terms of how I ate and how I felt about what I was eating. I’m really excited to see this mental shift taking place in how I feel about food  so I’ve had some disordered thinking around food in the past. And it felt great not to be so stuffed after a holiday meal and be able to move around easily (without falling asleep afterwards).

Have you made some mental shifts about food and fitness recently? Let me know what they are in the comments!

Cutting and weight loss during the holidays

Thanksgiving is this week and it kicks off the winter holiday season (for me at least). And with it comes a lot of food. In the past, I’d eat until I was beyond stuffed but I’ve been more conscious about how I’m eating in the last couple of years. So, how am I planning to mix both the holiday season and trying to cut and lose weight?

The first thing that I’m keeping in mind is to take it one day at a time. And even one meal at a time if I need to. Even though there’s over a month between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s not like there’s something going on every single day. At most, we have seven or eight days where we are celebrating. And for a lot of them, it’s not a even a full day thing. So instead of worrying for the entire month or more I just need to take one day (or one meal at a time).

Going along with that, one day isn’t going to ruin all the progress I’ve made. It might make the scale shift up for a couple of days after but it isn’t permanent. It’s not going to take away from the hard work I’ve done. It’s the same mentality I took on the honeymoon with me and it worked great for me then.

I will be keeping up with my workouts and being focused on my eating still on these days so I can make better choices than I have in the past. I won’t be eating until I’m beyond stuffed because that just doesn’t make me feel good. But I’m not going to pass up some of my favorite things (hello mashed potatoes with gravy) just because I’m in a cutting phase. Instead, I’m going to focus on smaller portions of the food I must have a taste of and make sure that I’m focusing mainly on protein and vegetables. Plus, this means I’ll have room for dessert instead of eating pumpkin pie that just adds to that feeling of being stuffed.

Focusing on one meal at a time also comes into play with this. Take for example Thanksgiving this year. We are spending it with my family so we’ll be driving up to the Duluth area and having two Thanksgiving meals. But I’m going to do my normal weights and run before, probably just having a small snack before and using my breakfast as my post-workout meal instead of having breakfast, working out and then having a post-workout smoothie. And I probably won’t be eating as much at that second meal because I’ll still be full from the first. But you can’t bet I’m going to enjoy all that turkey!

What is your approach to keeping balanced during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

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