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  • Nicole Knapp

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (and the most challenging)

It's the holidays!

While I absolutely love the holidays--the lights, the warmth, the coziness--I also despise it. It's difficult when you're trying to balance work, family life, exercise, healthy habits. Shopping, party planning, decorating, socializing, it all seems to consume your time and everything else falls to the wayside. All that time over the last year that you've spent creating those great healthy habits seems to have been for naught. Especially when you see that pile of Christmas cookies on the corner of the counter.

While it may seem daunting, the truth is, it doesn't have to be that way at all. You have two ways of viewing life this year:

  1. You can think to yourself that you've failed and since you've failed, you may as well throw in the towel and start over again in the new year and eat all the cookies, drink all the wine, and not exercise a lick.

  2. You can enjoy that cookie. You can take that day off from exercising full out and go for a walk instead. You can allow yourself to not be perfect for a day or two and jump back on the horse, WITHOUT guilt, because in reality, what's a day or two??

When you take the first approach, you end up despising your decisions, contemplating how you ended up here, why you didn't exercise earlier in the day, wondering how you'll ever recover from this horrific binge-fest, rather than enjoying yourself.

I know because I've taken this approach before and I didn't feel great and motivated heading into the new year. Instead, I hated my every decision, hated the fact that I HAD to work extra hard to get off those 10 holiday pounds, and I ended up losing steam after the first 2 weeks

BUT, when you take the latter approach, you feel better overall. You're more inclined to really enjoy that cookie, enjoy that glass of wine, enjoy your time with loved ones. Most importantly, you're less stressed and your body can then compensate easier for those little imperfections.

This holiday, let good enough be good enough. If you don't feel like exercising for a day, go for a long walk outside. Try just 10 minutes of a workout and you might just want to finish what you started. Have that cookie, drink the wine, eat the food. Just be mindful when you do so. Focus on stopping at 80% fullness. Focus on conversation and time with your loved ones rather than stuffing your face just because it's there. And if you do find that you've stuffed too full, remember that it's okay. Tomorrow is a new day. One day doesn't ruin your whole year. You can learn from what you could've done better and do that instead the next time.

Most importantly this holiday season, remember why we celebrate and what's most important: the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Hold that near as you celebrate this year, no matter what you do (or don't do).

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