How to Stay Fit Over the Holidays

If you're like most people, you've likely been staying busy with the holiday festivities this time of year. With social events and family gatherings popping up seemingly everyday, no doubt you may be feeling some overwhelm.

This time around, Evan and I decided to keep Thanksgiving pretty low-key given that 1) all our friends were out of town (so it happens with military life), and 2) our wedding is just around the corner. (Read: I declared that there's absolutely no way I'm going through the trouble of cooking up a full turkey dinner for two people when we still have last-minute wedding details to finalize.) We ended up making reservations at a popular restaurant in downtown Savannah that we'd never been to before, and we wined and dined our way through the modern rendition of Thanksgiving.

'Twas a good time. 

There are so many things that I'm grateful for this year. Where do I even begin?

I'm grateful that I took (yet another) leap of faith and moved down to Savannah earlier this March.

A change in setting was exactly what I needed for my emotional wellness, my overall happiness, and ultimately the growth of my brand. Setting up a garage gym, having a full kitchen to actually cook my own meals again (rather than ordering through Seamless everyday), and feeling safe in my own neighborhood were just a few things that I so desperately craved -- and I made all of that happen.

I was told that I was committing career suicide by moving away from one of the fitness hubs of the world, but I didn't let that deter me, and for that I am grateful.

I'm grateful that I immersed myself in a hobby outside of fitness.

I know how difficult it can be to have a life that has nothing to do with the gym and the kitchen. I've swung from one extreme to the other without batting an eyelash -- finding that happy place in the middle has been surprisingly tricky, as I'm sure many of you can attest to.

Yet I was aware that, if I wanted to keep this up over the long-term, I'd have to pull the reigns back.

So I got involved with a local foster organization and became a foster mommy to some puppies in need of love. :)

Even better, Evan and I ended up falling head over heels for our second foster pup and we were quick to adopt our lab mix baby, M'Lynn. She and our pug Ollie have been the sweetest pair together, and the two of them have brought immense joy to our lives.

M'Lynn on the left, Ollie on the right

I'm grateful to have mentors (both official and unofficial) who support me, guide me, and give me the tough love I need.

You know the saying: If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. This year, I've been especially proactive about staying connected with those smarter, more accomplished, and much further along in their careers than me.
My dad has been my go-to for all things business decisions, financial advise, and general venting; Evan has been an incredible sounding board every evening and has been integral in making sure that I don't overwork myself; Dr. Layne Norton has become a great friend of mine, and we've worked on some really fun projects together (also, he convinced me to get my ass out of NYC, so thank you for that!); Adam Bornstein has spoken with me over the phone every week for the past six months as my business coach; Bret Contreras has answered my random texts, called me up to offer his two cents, and encouraged me to keep fighting the good fight; and other inspirations, including Marie ForleoMelanie DuncanLewis Howes, and more, who have challenged me to aim higher and think bigger as an entrepreneur.

I'm grateful that I'm able to fully enjoy the holiday season rather than fretting about my fitness.

I could go on forever, so I'll end it on this note. There was a time not long ago when the holidays were a source of immense anxiety for me, as I was petrified about being around all the delicious food.

How could I exercise self control to resist all the temptations?
How do I survive the next few months without derailing all my progress?
Is there any way I can get out of these social events so I can stick to my diet?

These were questions that I asked myself over and over -- but they were all the wrong questions.

You see, since then, I've learned a few things:

  • Long-term fitness adherence is not about having more self-control than the next person, but rather about eliminating the need for self-control as much as possible. In other words, white-knuckling it is a short-term strategy and not sustainable by any means.
  • You can absolutely have your cake and eat it, too, as long as you're proactive and put in a little bit of work ahead of time.
  • If you find yourself avoiding seeing your friends and family because you're afraid to deviate from your diet, you're missing the point of fitness. Fitness should enhance your quality of life, and that includes not allowing food to control you.

But I get it: letting go of your need to control every aspect of fitness can be scary. After all, how do you navigate your way through all the unknowns?

Here are some strategies that I keep in my back pocket when the holidays come around:

>> Strategic Holiday Feasting << 

As well, I took some time earlier this week to film a video discussing my views on eating over the holidays, and I also answered some of your questions in the video above.

You'll notice a common theme in the above video that I reiterate over and over:

Don't stress.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, remember?

#eat well, #lift heavy and hard, and #thrive everyday.