Staying Happy And Healthy During The Holidays | Dr. Alex Ritza | Downtown Toronto Chiropractor near Yonge and Bloor |
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Staying Happy And Healthy During The Holidays

Staying Happy And Healthy During The Holidays

I want to help you as much as possible to enjoy your holiday season. Whether that’s Christmas or another holiday, I hope that it is as happy and healthy because we are entering it into one of the most challenging times of the year in terms of sticking to our health goals.

It is a stressful time of the year because there’s a lot going on and making sure that our mindset and our physical and psychological health are not impacted can be a tremendous challenge.  If you have health goals that require movement and nutrition routines, there’s so much going on that can impede our ability to exercise and so much delicious food and drink at-hand that it is easy for our healthy routines to be derailed. 

Whether it’s holiday parties, whether it’s coming home to200 plus cookies like I was on the weekend, there is a lot of delicious and not so nutritious food available. I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot because it’s something that I generally struggle with at this time of year. It is something that I’ve been putting a lot of thought towards because I know a lot of people are in the same boat.

I think that there is a continuum and there are three ways to deal with the health challenges of the holiday season. Number one, you could try to totally abstain from eating anything bad and making sure that you stick 100 percent to your exercise and nutrition plan on the far end of the spectrum.

Option two on the opposite end of the spectrum, you totally gorge yourself; you don’t go to the gym, you do absolutely nothing.

And the third option that exists somewhere along the middle of the continuum, is you find a happy medium where you try to stick to your goals as much as possible, but you also enjoy some time to veg-out on the couch and enjoy some delicious and not so nutritious food.

And I think that we need to find our own place on that continuum that’s in line with our goals and our values. I think maybe most importantly, that we male choices that will make us happy in the short term so that we can enjoy our holiday season and celebrations.

Back to option 1 – abstinence. If your goal is to run a  marathon or do some sort of race, or you have some sort of competition coming up in January, you’re probably gonna have to relatively abstain from doing anything that is outside of your plan or may sidetrack you from your goals. You might not be able to eat those six cookies. You might not be able to miss a workout and that’s what might be required to reach your goals.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you value your health whatsoever and you have any nutrition or movement goals, you probably don’t want to forget them totally.

You probably don’t want to go hog wild, do nothing and just totally gorge on good food and alcohol because I think it’s gonna make you feel really, really awful mentally and physically. It could put you back quite a bit with your health goals.

So I think we need to find someplace in the middle where we’re going to be happy and where we can enjoy what we’re eating, enjoy the company we are with, enjoy the good food and the celebration, while not derailing ourselves too much. What you do really depends on what your goals are.

I imagine that you could probably enjoy some really delicious treats and maybe have a few drinks and still not get too sidetracked from what your goals are. I think it’s important to recognize this because we can really feel a lot of shame, a lot of mental anguish and sometimes berate ourselves for enjoying simply enjoying the pleasures of life. 

Because in the end, a few “cheat meals”  and a weekend on the couch, is probably not going to affect your results as much as you think.

The approach that I’m taking and the approach that I’m recommending is to do your best to stick to your movement, nutrition and training plan as much as you can and enjoy every single second that you are off track.

Personally, I know that there’s going to be four or five-day span where I’m going away and I know I’m not going to be on the bike. To make up for it, I’m going to do some snowshoeing or some walking and I’m going to try to enjoy the rest as much as possible. Because realistically I have no other choice.

If you’re going to be away from the gym if you cannot get a workout in during the holidays, do what you can to make up for it with other activities, whether it’s some stretching, some yoga, some flexibility work or a walk, and just enjoy it. The other alternative is being frustrated, being angry, feeling shame when maybe time just does not provide any other option for getting a workout in

When it comes to the nutrition side, obviously I think moderation is going to be best and when you are enjoying a delicious treat or enjoying a good beer or glass of wine, I think the most important thing you can do is be mindful. Really enjoy it. Enjoy every sip, enjoy every bite. Be grateful for it and really allow yourself to enjoy that pleasure so that this is an enjoyable time of the year. Choose to be happy about your decision so that you don’t have to have feelings of shame because it’s probably a little junk food is not going to derail you as much as you think.

If there was one thing to remember during the Christmas holidays and this time of year, it’s that what you do between Christmas and New Year’s is less important than what you do between New Year’s and Christmas.

So if you take a couple stumbles and you get off track during these next couple of weeks, remember that in the spectrum of life and your longterm health goals, it’s not going to matter that much. The other 50 weeks of the year are you going to have a much bigger and a more important influence on how things turn out.

And even if you have a short-term goal, whether it’s weight loss or some sort of competition that’s coming up in the next couple of months, while you might have to be a little bit more mindful and maybe be a little bit more abstinence so you can stay on track, still ensure that you enjoy every single time that you do get off track. 

I think it is a really important time of year to enjoy ourselves, to be grateful for the good things and that includes being a little bit lazy sometimes and enjoying some delicious food. I also think that it will serve you well if you can keep yourself somewhere in between the two ends of the continuum while being kind to yourself and enjoying each moment that you do get off-track.

 I hope everyone has amazing holidays and I will talk to you soon. Take care.

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