Last Updated on September 6, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
The holidays can be quite a difficult time to keep healthy for many people. I know I often pack on a few pounds spanning from Halloween throughout Christmas. A lot of the time, it seems like it centers more around mental errors than actual food, though. Many of us will reserve ourselves to gaining weight and putting fitness on the back burner until the new year. Unfortunately, not everyone has the capacity to come back after a three-month eating binge.
Talking Yourself Out of Fitness through Mental Errors
Although the holiday season is rife with goodies and well-cooked foods, it doesn’t mean you have to succumb to gaining weight. By keeping your wits about you, it’s easy to enjoy these things without stacking on the pounds. And it all starts by avoiding mental errors.
1. Giving Up On Daily Calorie Goals
I know a lot of individuals who’ll throw caution to the wind once summer is over. I was one of those people. With all of the goodies that are available, it’s easy to say, “to hell with it” and grab a bag of candy for yourself this Halloween. While you may still be able to enjoy the snacking, you shouldn’t give up on trying to meet goals for maintaining health.
For me, it’s going to involve a great deal of exercising so I can enjoy those goodies while focusing on my “80 pounds in four months” goal. One or two cupcakes or miniature candy bars may not seem like a lot, but they’ll quickly add up. As long as you don’t give up on a good daily routine for calories and carbs, you can still enjoy the season without becoming bloated for the new year.
2. Assuming it’s Too Cold for Exercise
I’ve also seen a lot of people slow down their physical activity during the holidays. Sure, you’ll get quite few steps in while running around the stores or preparing parties. But keep in mind that the excess of food intake will quickly offset anything you burn. Don’t assume that it’s too cold for an exercise routine.
Some studies suggest how colder temperatures modify the metabolism. It’s this genetic makeup that makes it easier for humans to pack on the weight. It’s similar to how most animals on the planet adapt to colder weather. Essentially, your body is protecting itself from a more harsh environment while making sure it still has energy to function. This is why exercising is important throughout the winter to avoid putting on too much of that fat.
3. Viewing Outdoor Chores Poorly
Not everyone looks forward to raking leaves, cleaning the rain gutters or shoveling snow. Personally, I’m looking forward to it. Not because I am some clean-freak. But because I would love to see how many calories I can burn during certain activities. I don’t view the outdoor work as a chore, but more of a scientific experiment.
I know not everyone has a Fitbit or other wearable unit that tracks personal calorie burn. That doesn’t mean you can’t have the right mindset when it comes to yard work in the winter, though. Instead of viewing it as a chore, consider it more of a way to enjoy those goodies you’re looking forward to without adding the weight.
4. Assuming You Don’t Have the Money for Fitness
During the holiday season, many people will blow through a lot of money. Dinners, parties and presents can quickly tap a bank account. As a result, you can easily fall into the, “I can’t afford fitness” mindset. In reality, proper fitness doesn’t have to cost you a single dime extra. In fact, that’s part of my whole 80 pound study I am doing on myself.
It doesn’t cost anything to get up and get yourself moving for exercise. When you monitor your portion sizes while you eat, you’ll actually save money on groceries. There is no reason why spending money on the holidays should become a part of the mental errors for maintaining health and fitness.
5. Letting Sickness Affect Your Fitness
Currently, I am suffering from one of the worst colds I’ve had in years. However, I’m not letting it control my food intake. While it’s a bit difficult for me to get into exercise while fighting a fever of 102 degrees, I don’t have to reserve myself to gorging while being sick. I still track all of the food I eat throughout the day – including any vitamins and medicine that I need.
Being sick makes fitness a bit more difficult, but you can still keep an eye on the foods you eat while feeling under the weather. In fact, your particular illness may help you avoid certain foods that are fattening anyway. Eating healthier while sick not only helps your immune system, but you’ll come out of the illness feeling better than you would otherwise.
6. Believing Sugars Are the Only Snacks
Sugary goodies are not the only snacks available during the holiday season. Although they are some of the more plentiful, you don’t have to dive into a back of mixed chocolates simply because they are there. This is another problem I’ve had in the past. From Halloween throughout Christmas, we usually have a big “cauldron” full of candy sitting on the kitchen table. It’s easy to walk by and grab a few pieces while walking through the room.
This one will be the most difficult for me to reign in. However, my goals for fitness are driving me to succeed. I keep thinking of how nice it would be if I could shrink down to a size I was more than 20 years ago before this year ends. This is more important to me than a sweet tooth.
Although I’ll undoubtedly have a few pieces of goodies, it’s all about portion control and knowing when to say, “no thank you.” In fact, I turned down doughnuts for breakfast yesterday and had Cream of Wheat instead.
7. Believing You Have to Clear Your Entire Plate
I have a serious problem with wasting food. I’ll eat everything I am served so that nothing gets thrown out. Unfortunately, this has led me to gain a serious amount of weight over the years. If you’re like me, you need to learn how to reel that mindset in a bit. When it comes to mental errors regarding health and fitness, overeating is probably the most common in the United States.
It’s easy to avoid wasting food that is served to you. This is when portion control comes into play. When I lost the first 20 pounds, I only served myself what I could afford to eat according to my caloric intake. I properly measured out every piece of food, which was shockingly quite a bit. The point is that you can reduce your intake simply by reducing what you serve yourself.
Most of Health and Fitness is Mental
Proper exercises and a good diet plan are meaningless if you don’t have the right mindset for health and fitness. Mental errors are frequent in a world of instant gratification and a seemingly endless supply of fattening foods. By keeping your mind focused on obtaining better health, decisions you make regarding the above are easier.
A lot of people are content with a plop on the couch and a remote in hand during the holidays. Just because the weather is changing and the bakeries are springing to life, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor yourself. End the year in better shape than when you started. That is my goal.