Around the holidays each year, we like to dedicate a post to the importance of balance and grace in our health and fitness journey. Because, well, it's the holiday season. Unless you've shacked up at the gym to avoid all the sweets and drinks and good cheer, you're going to skip a few workouts and eat some junk food in the next few days and weeks.
And that's okay. Too often, especially in western society, we shame ourselves for not maintaining our healthy, whole-food diet or skipping a few days of workouts. We've too quickly become hyper-vigilant about health and fitness, which begs the question: why do we eat "clean" and sweat hard in the first place?
It's easy to shame ourselves if the journey is simply about appearance. Guilt may as well have a voice--it's that loud. Despite the holiday music and cheerful conversations, all we can hear is the resounding 'shame on you!' and 'you're weak!' echoing in our ears.
The holidays are slightly easier once we've decided to embrace health and wellness as a lifestyle because it makes us feel good and strong and like the very best versions of ourselves. Even then, though, shame sneaks in. It's a hard thing to avoid, especially when you foster a whole and healthy lifestyle for most of the year.
But--wait for it--here's the kicker: What if living a whole and healthy lifestyle includes the iced cookies and the glasses of wine and the night(s) away from the gym for parties and Christmas movies? What if we're harming our mental and emotional health but listening to the shame and making New Year's promises?
"I'll run an extra mile on January 1," we resolve. Or, "I'll detox and do a juice cleanse after this party."
These aren't healthy thought patterns. And, when not challenged and dismantled, they can do severe damage to our mental wellbeing.
Everything is about balance--even our fitness and wholesome food journey. While we don't want to say it's impossible to eat only whole foods for the rest of our lives, it's certainly not a balanced way of living. Isn't that what we're fighting for, after all? To be balanced humans who prioritize physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing?
So, take this as a friendly reminder. A permission slip, if you need one. Eat the cookie. Watch the holiday movie without feeling guilty about skipping the gym. Embrace and enjoy all that is this season. We know we are.
Whole foods and sweaty workout plans will always be there. Right now, we're focused on balanced living.