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3 Ways to Overcome a Christmas Holiday Relapse

Relapses can happen at any time of year for a variety of reasons. So, how does a relapse relate to fitness? It simply means that you are physically inactive for a period of time. Holidays are the most common times when workout regiments are set aside in favour of travel, food, family time, celebration, and relaxation. These are all great things we all wish we had more time for.

The important thing to recognize is that relapses are inevitable because life happens and schedules can get quite hectic, especially over the Christmas season. It's also important to recognize that relapses are challenges that can be overcome. There are ways you can overcome a holiday relapse and enjoy the Christmas season without having to worry about missing too many workouts and gaining weight.

Exercise Self Control When it Comes to Food

We all know that food plays a center role in every holiday festivity. Homemade or bought pastries, cookies, and chocolate compliment the main course meal at every Christmas party and family gathering. Those same sugary treats line certain aisles at every food store. Not to mention, that well-meaning friend who gifts you a basket of homemade shortbread. Who can't resist all those goodies! It's so hard to, especially if you have a sweet tooth.

Many fit pros will advise you to say no to most, if not all sweets. I applaud anyone who is strong enough to get through the Christmas season without eating any baked goods and without drinking any alcohol. While I don't promote overindulgence in any type of food, especially those foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and artificial flavours, you simply cannot deprive yourself of every little pleasure in life. Instead, when it comes to food, know your limits and play within them. Unless you're diabetic, having a glass of wine and a couple of brownies at a party is not going to harm you and it's not going to pack on the weight. So long as you don't overeat or make it a daily habit, chill out, have fun, and enjoy a few sweets.

Use Healthier Ingredients in Your Own Christmas Baking

I'm not the type of person who loves to bake, but Christmas baking has been a long tradition in my family and it's the only time of year I enjoy doing it. All of our Christmas baking is steeped in German tradition, handed down from my Oma.

If you're like me and you've made baking a Christmas tradition that's fantastic because homemade baking is the best when nutrition is kept in mind. Although you will never eliminate sugar from baked goods (as that's the whole point of baking), you can do the following:

- Opt for unsalted butter instead of margarine.

- Use cacao powder and unrefined or granulated sugar when making chocolate brownies or chocolate icing.

- Grind granulated sugar and use that for powdered sugar.

- Mix in whole wheat flour

Minimize or, better yet, avoid the following:

- margarine

- salted butter

- refined sugar

- artificial flavours, like coloured flavours in icing

Maintain but Modify Your Workout Regiment

As far as your exercise regiment is concerned, it's unrealistic to expect yourself to stick to a vigorous four or five day a week workout routine over the Christmas holidays, especially if you're going to spend it in a different country. However, you can maintain it by modifying it according to a revised schedule. There are so many workouts that you can do at home or in your hotel room (provided the place you're staying at has no gym) that requires no equipment.

- Squats

- Lunges (forward, lateral and reverse)

- Push-Ups

- Tricep Dips

- Mountain Climbers

- Ab Crunches

- Supine leg raises

The list goes on!

If you're the type of person who prefers to follow a structured class, but are unable to participate in one over the holidays, there are numerous fitness apps that you can download onto your phone or tablet for little or no cost. Or, bookmark this blog because every week, I post a fitness challenge that you can do from home with little or no equipment. However, don't let your workout regiment interfere with family time and other outings.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to get through the Christmas season without a relapse and without gaining any weight. At the same time, remember that Christmas is a time of celebration, fun, and relaxation, so be realistic about your fitness goals, go easy on yourself, and don't deprive yourself of all goodies.

Merry Christmas

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