Did you enjoy the holidays? I relaxed a bit, at least where exercising and watching what I eat are concerned.
The problem is, I can get used to this indulgent, “lazy” lifestyle rather quickly, and I find it difficult returning to the more disciplined routine.
I truly enjoy exercising and eating “clean;” I feel more energetic and healthier. Yet, it’s so much easier just to be lazy – to sleep in, to eat those tantalizing cookies or second helpings of leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce, to sit and play on the computer all day or lounge on the couch wrapped in an afghan, reading a good book. ‘Sigh’ Oh, the conflict!
For me, the hardest part of an exercise and healthy eating routine is forming the routine itself. This is especially apparent come holiday time when visions of chocolate sweets and a homemade turkey dinner dance in my head. Oh, the guilt!
So what to do? I’m learning a couple of things that help me. The first is to be a little more forgiving with myself and accept a “lazy” day or two. Enjoying a holiday dinner and skipping a workout isn’t going to ruin my health or figure. I am learning to just relax and focus on enjoying the holiday, it’s meaning, and the family gathering.
Allowing myself to accept and enjoy temporary “laziness”relieves me of guilt. No guilt helps me avoid the all-or-none mindset – you know, the rationalization, “Oh, I messed up and had 2 cookies; might as well have 5 more and a large piece of cake to wash them down!” And avoiding the all-or-none futility, I can get back into my exercise routine without going overboard.
The second lesson I’m learning is: to get back into the eating and exercise routine, I must be committed to doing so and set a specific and realistic day to start again. If I simply say, “Oh, I’ll start exercising some time Christmas or the new year,” I’m not that committed and my routine will be shaky.
Failed routines also exist if I set unrealistic start dates, such as running 5 miles Christmas night or 5 AM the next day! I know myself. These statements are too lofty for me; I wouldn’t commit to them, and I’d end up feeling guilty.
With my 2 lessons in mind, this year I accepted a few “lazy” days without letting myself feel guilt… at least not a lot of guilt! I set a specific and realistic day to return to my more self-disciplined routine again, and I committed to it. And I accomplished this without too much of an ordeal – quite refreshing!
How I’m doing? Not perfect, but pretty darn well, I’d say. I’m back to the old routine again with an occasional chocolate treat leftover from Christmas. (It would be criminal to throw them out!) I enjoyed a temporary “lazy” period, knowing that my usual routine would be waiting for me without condensation after the holidays were just a memory. Hopefully I can remember these lessons during the next major celebration!