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  • Writer's pictureJamie Jamitkowski

Carrot Sticks and Chocolate Cake: It’s Called Balance

So I guess it’s official that we’re now entering the…duhn duhn duuuuuh…HOLIDAY SEASON!

As a human being I LOOOOOOOOVE all the parties and festivities and amazing occasions they offer us to be with friends and family and people we enjoy.

As a fitness instructor, however, I sometimes get frustrated with the negative hype surrounding this time of year.

Everywhere we look there are tips on how to not overindulge and how to stay on track and…my least favorite…how not to “fall off the wagon”.

Don’t even get on the wagon in the first place! It sounds like a horrible place to be. Life is not about depravation. Life is about moderation. Mindful eating, regular physical activity. This is called a healthy lifestyle…and it includes those not so healthy but good for your soul treats that you crave. “Diets” don’t work. You have to make it a habit. And a habit is not going to be ruined by one night out during this time of year.

I work at an all women’s gym and, ladies, oh my, you are so MEAN to yourselves!! I hear so many women tearing themselves down about choices they’ve made. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard “I need this workout…I was really bad yesterday!” UGH! You are not bad if you let yourself enjoy food. Let me say that again, as I feel it bears repeating…YOU ARE NOT BAD IF YOU LET YOURSELF ENJOY FOOD! Life is short. Eat the chocolate.

This message may seem odd coming from a fitness professional but hear me out.

I love working out. It makes me feel strong and powerful and I like to be sore and feel new muscles forming. That’s why we should do it. Because it makes us feel happy. Not because we think we should be punishing ourselves. Exercise should not be penance. Fitness should not be a chore. It’s meant to be something you can be proud of.

I once worked at a gym that posted a list of common holiday foods and how many calories they contained.

Ummmm…are you trying to get women to work out more or to collapse into the fetal position and cry?

Maybe it’s just me but I am very happy to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner on the one day of the year I get it and I don’t need to know how many calories I’ve just consumed. If people want to know this information they can easily look it up…the rest of us just wanna fall into a turkey coma in peace.

Fitness, as with anything in life, is all about balance. And nutrition is absolutely essential to your overall wellness. But listen…you can’t undo a regular healthy balanced lifestyle with one piece of cake or a glass (or two) of eggnog. Do not shame yourself for enjoying these small pleasures with good company during a special time of year (or alone during a special time of year because, damn girl, think of all you do in a given day! Hit the couch with Netflix and a piece of leftover Halloween candy if that’s what you’re feeling. Treat yourself!)

I love spinach. I love cookies. Sometimes I eat a cookie to congratulate myself on eating a bunch of spinach. It’s called balance.

So, yes, keep your workouts regular. Drink a crazy amount of water. Be mindful of your every day food choices. But, seriously, when you go to that work party or a holiday gift swap at your girlfriend’s house do me a favor and have a glass of wine and a slice of pie if you want. Don’t feel guilty and beat yourself up for enjoying life a little!

Happy Holidays!

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