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Making it through the holiday season



ALAS, the holiday season is upon us. Within the final few days of this decade, we will have celebrations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve, you name it!  The final stretch of the year always feels like one big, jumbled party filled with eating until our bellies are stuffed, sitting on the couch until our butts get sore, and in general, doing things we wouldn't normally do throughout the year.  

One of the biggest complaints we often hear is that people are nervous or anxious for this period. Rather than enjoying that time with family and treating ourselves to good food, we see that people stress about their nutrition, time away from the gym, or their chaotic schedule and miss the point of those holidays.

What if I told you that you can eat that pumpkin pie, or that cookie, or that sweet potato casserole that you just love? What if I told you that you can skip the gym on Thanksgiving, or you can sit there all day and watch football or Christmas movies, or you can to go on that family vacation? 

YOU CAN DO ALL THOSE THINGS AND NOT HURT ANY OF THE PROGRESS YOU'VE MADE IN THE GYM.

Yup. You read that right.

Let me do some math for you - assume we have 35 days left in the year:

35 days x 3 meals/day = 105 meals Thanksgiving = 1 meal Christmas = 1 meal New Years = 1 meal 5 other parties = 5 meals In total, that leaves you with over 90 MEALS TO EAT.

The same principle applies to exercising. Just because you miss a few days because of parties or travelling, does not mean that the entire season or your entire year is a bust.

That's where the root of our problem lies. We are an in an 'All or Nothing' mentality culture. We either decide to never touch a sweet again because sugar is the devil, or we don't eat our vegetables because we "will start next week."

At OPEX Morgantown, we believe that we can give you the tools to overcome this mentality and create balance during your holiday season. It lies in our Basic Lifestyle Guidelines (BLG's) and we believe that if you follow these four steps, you will find yourself feeling less stressed and happier during this holiday season.

1) Drink plenty of water. Don't worry about keeping track to try and hit half your bodyweight in ounces over the holidays. Instead, try putting your fork down after 4 to 5 bites of food and taking a big drink of water. Or between cocktails or alcoholic beverages, throw a glass of water into the mix.

2) MOVE. Plain and simple. As much as you may want to lay down on the couch for your post-meal food-coma or lay in bed to shake that hangover, DON'T. We promise you, you will feel better if you get up and move. It does not need to be a workout. Something as easy as going for a walk around the neighborhood or shooting hoops with the kids will get your body feeling better and getting you back into a healthy mindset.

3) Slow down. Do you need to go back for seconds? Are you that hungry that you need another slice of pie? Before looping back into line for that next plate, slow down how long it takes you to eat and see if you're actually hungry. Chew your food 20 times before swallowing and see how you become fuller in a shorter amount of time.

4) Be present. If you spend the entire holiday day stressing about what to eat, meeting your macros, losing your gains, or whatever other stressor there is, we guarantee you will not be enjoying the essence of the holidays. They are meant to be a time for thankfulness and celebrations of family and love. Be there whenever that is happening.

The bottom line is that if you enjoy yourself for a few days over the holidays, you WILL NOT ruin your fitness progress that you've been making all year. Just remember, it's not the choices on the holidays that will throw you off. It's the mentality that if one day is a little off from normal, that the entire week, month, and year are. That is 100% NOT THE CASE. Enjoy your holidays, and get right back onto your game the next day. 

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