I was chatting with my friend Lauren yesterday; she’s in full-out holiday mode, with her cocktail party on Saturday. (In Chicago! And I will be there!!) She said, “I don’t want to go to the gym, I just want to stay in and do party stuff and bake.”
I completely understand this. When I am planning a party, it’s all I want to do. It’s so fun! I just want to go to the store every night for something new and exciting that’s going to make it perfect. I want to hang out with my friends or family doing all those little things that feel really festive. I want to watch musicals and be in my warm kitchen. I do not want to be sweating over some machine!
I am not saying you should skip the gym, but I do think that if you cut a workout or two to do things you love with people you love, it’s fine. Here’s my reasoning: exercising during the holidays (or any time really) can give you a false sense of security that you can eat whatever you want. Um, when there are 300 calories in a cup of egg nog, that’s actually not the case. But I feel like a lot of times when I don’t exercise, I’m actually a lot more careful with what I eat. I skip the nibbles and the bites and the “let’s just share this sugar cookie” tastes, because I know I can’t count on that extra cardio to make up for it.
The fact is, what you eat has a bigger impact on staving off holiday weight gain than the exercise you do. (And similarly, what you do eat is probably a bigger factor in any extra pounds than the one workout you skipped.) I absolutely think you should exercise for a number of other reasons (obviously), but if there comes a day or two when all you want to do is spend an hour in Target and then watch “Chicago” while you paint your nails red, and you have the will power to resist having an extra cookie, then for God’s sake, do it! (Not everyone can resist those cookies, so be honest with yourself here.)
I don’t believe you have no time to work out, so I’m not going to say just skip all workouts til January. On the days you do go exercise, go all out! It will make you feel happy, powerful, and upbeat. Add a few minutes to make up for the day you took off. You’re already sweating, so just do an extra 10 or 15. What would you honestly do with that extra time in your life anyway? Go knock it out before you tackle your Saturday Christmas errands — I promise you won’t regret it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to not throw exercise and healthy eating out the window at the same time. So you don’t want to gym it? Fine. Then don’t gingerbread latte it either.