Go Ahead...Indulge a Little
There’s a reason that advertisements for the newest and hottest ways to achieve a “beach body” start January 1. It’s because of the season we’re about to enter…the holiday season.
Sure, there’s a lot to celebrate; it’s aa month to celebrate family, to carry on old traditions and to enjoy yourself. But, most of those celebrations involve food and drink, and, when taken to extremes, they can wreak havoc on your body – in both appearance and physical capabilities.
For many people, that means the holiday season is a season of guilt. A time to stress over the calories they consume and to feel miserable each time they “slip” up. For others, it’s a time to enjoy without thinking about the consequences until the calendar turns and regret sinks in.
Fortunately, neither of those extremes needs to haunt your holiday celebrations…there is a happy medium; it is possible!
Wondering how to balance celebrating and indulging with staying in shape? Ready to finish your year strong, with excitement instead of dread as you head toward next year?
Great. You’re in the right place. Keep reading for the inspiration you need to enjoy this holiday season!
Indulging can be Beneficial
Alright. Before we go any further, we need to include a disclaimer:
Indulging doesn’t need to mean eating or drinking yourself sick.
Indulging doesn’t need to be a permanent habit.
Indulging can be a way to break routines, to enjoy and to have a little fun.
Moving right along.
Our bodies crave routine; this is why a solid fitness regimen that includes healthy eating choices is the only proven way to really reach for results. But, over time, your body adjusts to routines. This is why plateaus are so common and so frustrating.
In addition to workout routines, nutrition plans can hit plateaus. When you restrict calories, or only eat certain foods, at some point, your body will stop reacting the way it did in the beginning. Shaking things up with a “cheat” meal, can help reset your metabolism, leading to longer results in the long run.
Other benefits of an indulgence here and there include:
Increased focus. When you’re able to mix things up, you’ll be better focused on your goals and priorities without trying to cut out all bad habits at once.
Increased commitment. If you do the same thing day in and day out, you’ll get tired of it. But, if you schedule a little “down” time, you’ll be more committed for the long run.
Lack of “depravity.” No one wants to feel deprived; depravity leads to resentment. Indulging here and there can eliminate that possibility.
Eliminated hunger pains. Leptin is the chemical responsible for making you feel hungry or full. When you indulge here and there, leptin levels increase, which tells your body to release fat, which cuts down on excessive hunger.
Less chance of binging. We’ve all been there. A taste of ice cream turns into a half gallon that there’s no coming back from. But, when you indulge now and then, you’re less likely to binge as nothing is “off limits.”
Remember, a cocktail party is an excellent chance to break free of your routine and have some fun…but, avoid turning it into a habit…at that point it’s hard to justify.
Ways to Compensate After Extra Indulgences
Having outlined the benefits of indulging, it’s important to be realistic. The holiday season is a time for going overboard now and again. If it happens to you, don’t beat yourself…consider these options for getting back on track.
Consider a Cleanse
There are many options available. Cleanses allow your body to “reset” after a period of overindulging. By consuming foods and juices that are healthy and packed with nutrients, instead of processed foods, you’ll be able to break addictions to sugar and other harmful substances that can creep into your diet during the holidays.
Pick a New Routine
Commit to a new workout program during the holiday season! Instead of taking a fitness break, commit to something new…to taking it to the next level. Then, go all out. Invest in the tools you’ll need to get there: workout gear, new sport earbuds, a new playlist and whatever else you need to be fully ready to jump into something new.
Schedule it in
While unexpected events will creep up, you probably have an idea of how the next month looks. To maximize your fitness potential, put your workouts on the calendar. Cross them off when they’re done. Reward yourself for staying on track with a non-food reward. Get a few friends to join in…do whatever it takes and commit to sticking to your schedule.
Take Advantage of Your Metabolism
If you have a big event coming up…plan a workout immediately before it. Your metabolism is highest in the hours following an intense workout. Minimize your overall indulgence by working out beforehand.
Take it Up a Notch
Feeling guilty the day after a few too many appetizers and drinks? Only one thing can make that worse: staying inside and moping all day. Instead, pick yourself up, admit that you had some fun, and make up for it with some old-fashioned sweaty fun! That’s something that’s impossible to regret.
Have a blast this holiday season. Remember, it’s a time for fun and indulgences can be beneficial to long-term fitness. But, remember the tips above and do the work necessary to make those indulgences worth it!
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