‘Tis the season when too many people stress about eating and drinking. For personal trainers and weekend warriors alike, the holidays should be enjoyed, so enjoy them.
Every year just like clockwork, the week before Thanksgiving, we’re bombarded with the holiday eating stories that feature lame “holiday eating tips” and other useless information that just serve to bum people out. I don’t care if you are overweight, out-of-shape, too-thin, ripped or just right, it’s okay to enjoy the eating and drinking that comes with the holiday season.
Personal trainers and so-called diet gurus are the real life “Grinches” and “Scrooges” who talk down to the public and send messages that just confuse, depress and in the long term do more harm than good. I’m not one of those kinds of fitness professionals, never have been and never will be. I’m a big believer in moderation and in peoples’ right to enjoy foods and drinks that they like.
And this is probably the best time to enjoy seasonal specialties and other consumable delights that only show up once a year.
Over the years, in response to what I’ve written, I’ve gotten emails from “Food Nazis” and other “No-Funners” who want people to fear carbohydrates, sweets, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, baked delights and the other foods. These types live to demonize foods that make life worth living. “You call yourself a personal trainer?!?” they scream (actually they type), and, “You’re irresponsible!” they cry. This nonsense coming from people who want to banish certain foods that have sustained life and helped civilizations grow since the beginning of time.
People who demonize and moralize about foods – “You ate that? But it’s so baaaaad for you!” – should be ignored. Personal trainers, or anyone for that matter, who feels that how much a person exercises is a reflection of character, just don’t get it.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” which is the kind of garbage these know-it-alls love to peddle during the holidays. These folks hate to hear it, but nothing bad can happen, and there’s no damage that can occur, from enjoying the holiday foods that you love. The “Food Nazis” can hold their breath, call names, cast aspersions and all that, but they can’t come up with any real data to support their protestations.
So what’s the answer? Well, if you take care of yourself all year, practice moderation in all things, engage in regular exercise, enjoy eating and drinking a balanced diet, get enough sleep and are an all-round well-adjusted sort, you should go out and enjoy what you enjoy. If you always workout, keep working out. Take your regular turns in the gym and don’t think exercise should be used as a way to counter-act whatever you eat or drink.
Don’t do anything silly like exercise on Thanksgiving morning (it’s too late if you did that already) or Christmas morning or New Year’s Day, just to do it or because you think it makes you a better person. As a matter of fact, blow off a workout or two and be lazy as a reward for a job well done for the last 11 and a-half months. You’ll get this behavior out of your system and be back into your regular routine before you know it. And you’ll be fine. If you can’t blow off a few workouts, well I guess that’s your loss.
And, if you’re a committed couch potato but really want to change your ways, for God’s sake don’t try to start a diet during the holidays. If you want to start an exercise program, that’s one thing, but don’t push a stone up the hill and try to do the most difficult thing possible at this time of the year. Under the best circumstances, it is difficult to try to change your habits, but to do so during the holidays is setting yourself up for failure.
There are about 340 other better days to try to make a change to your lifestyle. But for the next few weeks, don’t’ stress about food and enjoy the holidays.