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To exercise or not to exercise on holidays…?

Staying on track with diet and exercise during the holiday season is a common concern. This time of year my clients and friends begin asking me “How do I stick to my workout regimen while traveling?”, or “How do I resist Aunt Kathy’s sweet potato pie?” These are great questions with surprisingly simple answers. However the challenge lies in giving yourself permission to embrace the answers. My advice is to follow these simple rules: Have compassion (for yourself), learn to listen (to your body), and above all live in the moment!

The winter holidays come only once a year and they are meant to be a time filled with joy, celebration, gratitude, love and compassion – that includes compassion for yourself.
But for many of us, the holiday season is also a source of stress and anxiety.
When stressed, we tend to loose connection to our bodies and this loss of connection easily manifests as self-loathing and negative self-talk, over eating, and a loss of perspective and gratitude. All of which lead to elevated blood cortisol levels which are catalysts for weight gain. (1)

If a snowstorm prevents you from getting to yoga class, embrace the moment.

Begin by having compassion for yourself if you have to skip a daily workout or you give in to a food craving. If a snowstorm prevents you from getting to yoga class, embrace the moment, get into the holiday spirit and go build a snowman or make snow angels.
Fitness is an equal opportunist. Exercise is exercise whether you burn calories doing your daily five-mile run or chasing your toddler through the snow. It still counts! Get creative with your movement, mix it up and take any opportunity to get up and get moving.

We often eat without stopping to consider our enjoyment of the food.

Learn to listen to your body, and become highly in-tune with how you feel mentally and physically in each moment.
In Ayurvedic practices, it is believed that it is “only through the body that we can experience life and discover… (that) without the body there is no life.”
This applies to what we choose to eat, too. At mealtime become a food snob and eat only what you are truly craving, of the highest quality foods, rather than a bit of everything in sight (and definitely NO junk food) Not sure? Take a taste of all your options, consider your taste buds’ reaction to each bite, fill your plate only with the most exquisite morsels!
We often eat without stopping to consider our enjoyment of the food. SLOW DOWN and be grateful for every bite. Consider where your food came from, and the people who worked to prepare the feast in front of you. If you are mindful about the food you eat, you will be much less likely to overeat.

Do what you can to stick with your fitness routine and healthy eating habits, but then give yourself a break rather than feel guilty about the few extra indulgences.
Be grateful for the happy, healthy, beautiful body you have and live in the moment.

I love this quote from Sandra Ducey:
Compassion and love for ourselves as we are at any given moment is essential. We do not condemn the child who stumbles learning to walk; neither should we chastise ourselves when we fall down in our practice.

(1) Read about it HERE

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