Keeping Your Fitness and Sanity During the Holidays

Dennis Grounds is a personal trainer and life coach, and creator of Training Grounds for Life. One of the most sought after trainers in LA. Grounds combines cardio circuit, functional and core training, Pilates and certified life coaching. Training Grounds for Life is an exclusive, luxury studio in the heart of Los Angeles where Grounds gets to the “core” of the matter, helping clients strengthen the core of their bodies as well as the core of their minds.

It’s that time of year again when as soon as you say “trick or treat” in October, in a blink of an eye it’s December. You are dashing from one holiday party to the next trying to avoid putting on the gift you didn’t want: that 9 extra pounds.

In my 27 years of training and coaching clients, I have found that wanting control over diet, exercise, family and unforeseen circumstances is the catalyst to eating and drinking more during the holiday season. Recognizing where these situations occur can help prevent us from indulging in unhealthy patterns.

The extremes of gorge and starve are often the places most people find themselves over the holidays. Some creative people do both (i.e. first I will starve, then I will gorge). Every year we eat too much and feel bad about ourselves. We think, “but it was all just laying there for me to eat. I can’t pass it up.” Or we starve ourselves in the face of all the abundant food and nourishment.

What happened to having a balanced and sustainable relationship with food during the holidays? It is worth practicing, don’t you think? Here are some basic tips:

  • Take what you need.
  • Eat till you are full.
  • Get up and walk away.
  • Wait for dessert.
  • Have seconds if you feel like it and after ask yourself, “is that enough? What hole am I trying to fill with all this food?”

One of the best tips I can give you aside from watching your calories in and calories out is to notice when your “buttons” get pushed when you are with your family. History is mostly what we have with family. The challenge is catching our relationship up in the short amount of time we have together over the holidays. There are all sorts of conversations that haven’t been had (the good, the bad and the ugly) and we are going to catch up on all of them in a few days? That seems like a set up for disappointment and upset. Laugh about your history or redirect the conversation. You cannot control other people but you can manage your own thoughts, feelings and body. Do that!

We are now living in a different frame of mind where gift giving and outlandish holiday parties are no longer the way we are celebrating. People are spending less and finding out what is really important to them. If you’re wondering what to get people, remember that everyone loves love. Write a love letter from your heart to theirs, they will cherish it long after a piece of clothing goes out of style or an electronic becomes out-dated. Remember, no matter how big or small, the thought signals your love and that’s what counts.

To keep your sanity and fitness in balance, remember that the holidays are meant to be times of closeness, joy and celebration. If it isn’t that way for you now, then start designing and living into a holiday of your choosing. Be careful about being victimized by your family, our culture, or our media. You have a choice about how you feel, where you go and what you do. Enjoy, be present and open to what is possible for the holidays.

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