Here it is December 20th and in the last three weeks, I’ve enjoyed five separate holiday parties and a birthday party for my mom, and that’s not even counting a few special dates with loved ones and the kids’ parties. And there are still more parties to come!
If you think of each moment in isolation, it seems like a special occasion that is worth it or fine for indulging a little, but when you start to add it all up, you realize how the holiday weight everyone talks about happens. There are so many opportunities to overdo it. And frankly we get tired of pushing back all the time. Our willpower gets worn down and we give in. And frequently once we’ve given in we start to throw in the towel and pick an arbitrary date to start pulling it together. We tell ourselves not to worry, come January 2nd I’ve got this. I’ll be super clean and detox and it will be stellar.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from working with clients year in and year out, we may have a lot of parties and special occasions right now, but they are going to keep coming. There are still birthdays in January. The Super Bowl. Then Valentine’s and St. Patty’s… and don’t forget the run of Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day all in May. Seriously. We celebrate with food and drinks and parties all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.
Does that mean you should throw up your hands and quit? Definitely not. I’m also not a proponent of living like a hermit.
But we have to be thoughtful and realistic. There’s never a perfect time to lose weight or start being healthy. Being healthy is not an all or nothing proposition.
Instead it’s about having the mindset and habits to be healthy most of the time. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Workout today. Eat your vegetables today. If you’re going to drink wine at a party tomorrow night, don’t have any today. If you’ve already overdone it today, instead of berating yourself or waiting for January, go for a walk or jog tonight and start planning your good food for tomorrow today.
As for me, right now, I have several dozen assorted Christmas cookies in my freezer from a cookie exchange party last night. We are going to enjoy those on Christmas Day, but today, they need to be out of sight out of mind, so I’m stashing them in a friend’s freezer for safe keeping and not even telling her what they are. Keeping things out of our house is a strategy that makes it easier on everyone in our house to stay on track. Instead of cookies, we are going to focus on filling up on this yummy soup for dinner tonight with some fresh ground bison.
I’ve already written quite a bit about how to specifically navigate parties and holiday gatherings, which you can read about here and here, but the biggest thing to remember is that the parties should be a few hours with an extra treat or two. It’s not a hall pass for weeks of overdoing it. If you keep that in mind, come January you should at least be where you were when you started December, which is much a better place to start 2019.