Welcome Holidays, Hello Guilt (Breaking the Seasonal Cycle)


Still have a post-Thanksgiving food coma going on…? Me too!

I hope you had delicious food, and lots of good cheer, (and minimal politically-infused arguments….)

Ah the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year, kicking itself off with the initial feast.

If the odds aren’t already stacked against us with the wide range of unhealthy snack foods readily on standby in grocery stores all year round, the holidays have evolved into a special season that causes even more panic than usual by the sheer abundance of decadent treats thrown in our path… and even more, the number of excuses available to eat them.

Having worked in the fitness industry for years, I’m used to seeing the trickle-down of ‘exercisers’ at the holidays, when no one has any time to workout due to the smorgasbord of holiday parties, family gatherings, and harried shopping outings.

And then follows… the inevitable, guilt-ridden, determined throngs that rush through the door the second the clock strikes January 2nd.  

….and then those New Year’s fair-weather fanatics go ahead and dwindle again a few measly months into that new year… doomed to repeat the cycle come next November.

It’s time to consider breaking away from this rather faulty cycle with some tweaks to the current behavioral standards. So this holiday season I ask you to please…


Eat the damn pie.

Don’t allow guilt to overshadow enjoyment.

You can look at the holidays as a diet deathtrap with sugary villains lurking around every corner….

Or you can look at the season as one filled with homemade meals, baked goods made with love, and the indulgences that are dearly anticipated, because they are reserved solely for a small, special, window of the year (despite what chain-store décor is telling us in October).

…But eat your veggies, too!

I see advice all the time- to eat “normally” or “healthfully” during the majority of the day, and reserve treats for parties, etc.

But let’s face it, this time of year you can be faced with the deluge of seasonal delights all throughout your day (office break rooms, gifts from clientele, in those controversial red coffee cups, etc…). In addition you are probably even tighter on time than usual, so maybe you don’t have as much schedule space for food preparation.

It’s easier to break things down into smaller, more specific goals…

Like “eat veggies.” Try to get 1-2 servings of vegetables on your plate at each major meal. This will help ensure that you’re still getting some nutrients and fiber to help balance out those sugar rushes …But without the pressure of having to meticulously plan or be “perfect.”

Don’t wait until January 2nd to get moving.

I know it’s tempting to put it off. You’re “waiting for the New Year’s deal,” “it’s too hard to make time right now”…etc. etc. etc.

The truth is, a huge percentage of the people taking advantage of those deals don’t end up actually using their memberships (thus costing them money)- not because they don’t have the best of intentions, but because it’s a lot of pressure to put on a person!

We think- It’s a New Year, a fresh page, we can turn over a new leaf, cliché upon cliché… And this mentality creates impossible expectations to live up to- to not “screw up.”

Why is January 1st the day we must resolve?!

Start now. Ease in. Take one Pilates class per week. Or go for a jog twice a week. Go for a walk on your lunch break, or after work. Whatever you can manage. Move your body. Exercise helps to regulate your sugar intake and metabolism, too. But START SMALL.

Give yourself permission to not go whole hog into a complicated new routine. Remind yourself of the vicious cycle, and how it perpetuates. And just choose not to go there!


Choose comfort and joy… over stress and self-judgment this year.

Take a deep breath, support your local businesses, and hug someone… unless you’re 3 glasses into the champagne and it would be creepy….


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