The holidays are a great time to indulge. You can’t have a good holiday season without some good food, regardless of if that’s turkey during Thanksgiving, potato latkes for Hanukkah, or smoked ham on Christmas Day. And don’t forget desserts like pumpkin pie, baklava, and gingerbread cookies. Eating food with people you care about is great, and so is eating food by yourself on Dec. 26 as you binge-watch “The Office” on Netflix. You could eat a different holiday food every day in December and still not run out of options.
But what happens when you hit January 1? Once you’ve cleared the dishes in the dining room and wiped down your kitchen appliances
, then what? For too many people, the answer is “weigh themselves and then panic.” The fact is, a lot of us carry around a few extra pounds in winter. It doesn’t matter if we live in a cold, snowy locale like Montana or a hot, humid one like Houston. It’s just something that happens. There are more parties and more occasions to eat, and we’re usually wearing clothes that are way more generous than those tight, fitted styles you see in the summertime. Give yourself a break, because it’s a time of year where it’s a lot more common to gain weight than to lose it (pity the people who have diet restrictions they can’t break during the holidays). The new year
It’s typical for people to wait until Jan. 1 to start visiting the gym again, but you don’t have to wait that long. If it will make you feel better to head back to your local fitness center
on December 27, then you should do it. You’ll beat the crowds that way, since most people are probably still chowing down on leftovers at that point. Don’t feel embarrassed or insecure when you walk through the doors, even though that’s way easier said than done. Gym employees are used to traffic declining during November and December. People get busy and stressed out by the holidays, and the gym routine can be one of the first things to fall by the wayside. Most gym employees should be supportive and welcoming. They want people to feel better, after all, and snide remarks like “Oh, did you finally run out of pie?” is only going to make people feel terrible. We all know when we’ve overindulged. We don’t need other people to remind us of that fact, regardless of if they’re gym employees or coworkers.
We do need a sense of routine, and it’s OK to start slow. You don’t have to jump right back in with a personal trainer who will have you doing sled pulls on your first day back. Get a feel for the gym again, and then go from there. You can walk slowly on the treadmill for 30 minutes your first day back if you want. Just doing something is a lot better than doing nothing. Build up a bit of endurance before you start signing up for Spin classes again. The last thing you want to do is push yourself too hard too fast and get discouraged, injured, or both.