It’s that time of year when gyms get quieter, and the thrill around the holiday season slowly grows larger. We’re all thinking about the impending Christmas parties, the family vacation we have booked, time we have off work and what delicious meals will fill our tables.
To contrast with the existing excitement, every year members question how they can prevent gaining 5kgs over the holiday period, asking how they can stay fit and healthy while on a holiday, and expressing general concerns about over-indulgence.
The connected feelings are clear- there is a fear of gaining weight during the holidays.
Although this is an understandable concern, what we don’t often consider is that the psychological behaviours associated with fearing weight gain could be doing you more damage. In a time where we should be celebrating, there seems to be a subconscious worry that you can’t properly enjoy yourself without a severe repercussion.
I spoke with Planet Fitness Member Sarah, aged 38 and a mother of one, about why she feels on-coming stress about gaining weight over the holiday period.
“I already gained some weight during Covid, so I guess I’m worried with making it worse during Christmas. I want to enjoy myself, but I don’t want to rewind on the progress I have made since then,” says Sarah.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we don’t make great decisions based on fear. Every family has been under a significant amount of strain that is unique to them, so this added stress that they believe will impact their physical health is troubling.
Individuals can improve their happiness by changing their thoughts and actions, so it can relieve some stress when you understand that holding yourself to such a high expectation is not healthy. If you are worried that the holiday period will disrupt your gym or eating routine, then it begs the question if the routine was too strict to begin with.
As long as we live, we need to continually check that we have a healthy relationship with food, because that can impact our energy levels, mood and sleep, which directly correlates to our mental and physical health.
“I feel like I have lost track on my relationship with food, because although I know I shouldn’t worry about if one big day of binge eating and drinking will make me gain weight, I can’t help but already feel bad about it,” says Sarah.
Over-indulgence and over-consumption is harmful in any capacity. This simply does not mean you can’t enjoy your favourite dish, side, dessert and wine. Research has showed that one big meal, or one big week, will not significantly make a difference. The old tale about listening to your body will always hold true- if you can feel your body or mind not being comfortable with the amount you’re consuming, then enable willpower to take over so you can stop for the time being.
Not prioritising the gym during December is OK, because it’s a time to focus on rejoicing not only with food, but with every aspect of your life. Planet Fitness will be there when you decide to come back, and not feeling guilty during the holiday period will help your mind to be in a better place, because you were in control of your happiness.
If you are still feeling negative thoughts about your health during the holiday period, we recommend talking to a personal trainer or mental health professional.
Instead of choosing ‘losing weight’ as your New Year’s Resolution, try this one:
‘Be good to my mind and my body.’
Written by Gjenae Rosekelly of Planet Fitness