We are going into the holiday season, and I think this is a great time to talk about balance! Balance is an ever-present consideration in our day to day lives, especially for those of us that have fitness goals. We want to stay on track, we certainly don’t want to lose ground, but we also want to participate in normal holiday activities. The thing is, social activities usually revolve around eating and drinking with friends and family, that’s basically the whole point of most holidays. So, how to stay on track with a Thanksgiving dinner coming up? Well, you could be super selective about what you eat. Just some turkey, white meat of course, as plain a vegetable as you can find in the lineup…maybe a small portion of potatoes… Of course, easier than that, would be meal prepping your own food and taking it with you to the gathering. Your friends and family will understand, you have goals, it’s important to you. OH PLEASE, please don’t do any of that! I mean, if that’s really what makes you happy and it’s what you want to do, go for it. But I won’t be joining you, and I’ll never recommend it. Listen up, because if you haven’t heard this yet, you need to. One healthy meal won’t do anything for you, and one “bad” meal won’t destroy all your progress. You probably have heard this, I’m certainly not the first person to say this, it’s a commonly used axiom in fitness. But maybe it’s time you really thought about the implications. It is your habits that shape you, not the occasional exceptions to your routine. That does mean that the majority of the time you should be making the healthy choice. You may sometimes stand out as the person who chooses a lower calorie meal when going out to eat, but you don’t have to let your healthy lifestyle turn you into an anti-social fitness fanatic shut-in. Maybe you do have an occasional drink with friends, but maybe you don’t go out and drink gallons of alcohol every weekend. Is that really about adhering to a diet plan, or is that just a healthy balance? In the same way, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t inherently bad. True, you might go a little over on your caloric intake with the turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and oh yes; the ham, stuffing and pie. But it’s one day. And more than that, you can enjoy these things, all of it, without over-indulging. I’ll say that again, you don’t have to over-indulge in order to enjoy something. You can have a drink without drinking enough to get drunk, and you can eat foods that you like without eating too much. Every…day…of the year. You can also watch a tv show or play videos games without being a zombie 6 hours out of the day. You can exercise without being obsessive and neglecting your life outside of the gym. What if you were able to simply live your life like that? Find a balance and live a healthy lifestyle. We all have a tendency to take good things to an extreme, and they quickly become something that is unhealthy. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. Forget the diet plan, leave behind all the nauseating ups and downs of falling off the wagon and getting back on track. That way just leads to disillusionment and giving up. Don’t get me wrong, getting started does usually require breaking old habits and learning new ones. It’s not easy to change the way you’ve done things your whole life. It’s ok to adopt a structured plan at first, use it to learn and develop those habits that will one day be a natural part of your every day. Most of us need guidance when transforming how we eat and move. As a PT, I try to remind people that things I’m teaching them, I once had to learn. The things they struggle with, I’ve struggled with, sometimes still do. This holiday season, don’t stress, not about your fitness anyway. As far as your health goes, these days should be like any other day. Don’t lose sight of what you want and who you want to be, don’t set your goals aside until January. You don’t need to. But you don’t need to be afraid of the upcoming festivities either. Find your balance, and make it your lifestyle.

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