Christmas is all about indulging in yummy food and drinks while spending time with loved ones. Unfortunately, for many people it’s also a time for a lot of guilt!
Guilt can get us into an unhealthy cycle after Christmas, where we either give up on our fitness goals because we’re so disappointed in ourselves for overindulging, or we hit the gym excessively in an attempt to compensate for that second serving of pavlova.
I strongly encourage you to not go down either of those roads!
Your health and fitness shouldn’t have any relationship to guilt. You don’t need to punish yourself by working out non-stop, nor do you need to feel demotivated for enjoying yourself too much.
Here are my tips to push back against the unhealthy cycle, ditch the guilt over the Christmas period and actually enjoy a fitness break.
Embrace the Rest
Your body is tired from a big year, and it’s not going to change dramatically from a few days of rest. In fact, it will probably do it a lot of good, because rest days are when our bodies build muscle and recover.
Many fitness enthusiasts actually feel stronger after a few days of rest, and you will certainly not lose any muscle over that period of time. Embrace it!
Challenge the Diet Culture
There are so many rules when it comes to what we eat, it’s no wonder why people feel overwhelmed!
On Christmas Day I make sure to have lots of healthy snacks on hand such as fruit platters, nuts, hummus and carrot sticks. Having healthier options on hand makes it easier to not overindulge on too many sweet and salty things.
However, that isn’t all I’m going to eat!
Even though I have some healthy snack foods around, I am still totally going to enjoy some big Christmas meals and some yummy desserts. Having some sensible snack foods with me simply helps me indulge without feeling like I’ve massively overindulged.
Extra calories over a few days of Christmas can be easily burnt off, but I don’t want to eat so much that I feel too yucky to get back into fitness! So for me, it’s a really simple compromise.
I also make sure every second drink I have is water, and I still eat my veggies. But I’m certainly not going without!
Embrace Incidental Movement
Incidental movement is so underrated. Did you know they even have a name for it – it’s called NEAT, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. I just call it movement!
It’s really good for your body and your brain just to stand up and to move around. You can chase the toddler around the house, play a game that requires standing or movement (Twister, anyone?), or go outside for a game of backyard cricket.
It’s also really nice to go for an evening stroll with the family to check out all the Christmas lights and digest a big meal.
Remember That You Aren’t Ruining Your Goals
People don’t ruin their goals when they take a few days off over Christmas and relax their exercise and diet regime. They ruin their fitness goals when they feel so guilty about those few days that they end up taking a couple of months off!
Just remember that you’re doing great, you’re totally on track, and it’s perfectly OK to take a break.
If You Really Want to Exercise, Keep It Short
I’m totally fine having a couple of days break over Christmas, but I know that exercise can be addictive and many people don’t like the feeling of breaking their winning streak.
That’s totally fine, and if you really want to workout, do it!
But perhaps consider doing a quick 10 to 15 minute workout instead of your usual routine so that you can spend more time with your loved ones. Read this blog for my top 5 workouts in under 15 minutes.
Have an amazing Christmas and give yourself permission to really enjoy the break!