The holidays can bring all kinds of gifts, but they also can deliver some unwanted weight gain from relaxing on your diet and missing training time because of travel.
I know that during the “most wonderful time of the year,” I attacked fewer WODs and more plates of cookies than I normally do. I’m not sure why I convince myself that I have a green light to go after any food I see for a month straight (Thanksgiving through Christmas). I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that there’s simply more food around during this time and I’m tempted to eat foods that I wouldn’t normally have. On a typical day, I don’t have an entire pan full of caramel fudge, nine dozen cookies and a jar full of peppermint-flavored chocolates sitting on my counter.
But does that make it OK? How do you get past the “Well, it’s the holidays … time to unwind a little and live it up” mentality.
I think it’s fine to eat some of the holiday fare if you have the ability to not overindulge (which I prove time and time again, I do not). What I’ve noticed when I do unload on plate after plate of food is that I feel awful. My sleep pattern is bad. I feel bloated and uncomfortable. When I went in to train, I felt tired and sluggish and at times uninterested in even beginning my warm-up, let alone doing the WOD.
Conversely, I don’t want to seem like the “weirdo” at the Christmas dinner table. There is a social stigma about those of us who decide to do the Zone or Paleo. It comes complete with a judgmental eye roll when we load up our plates at family get-togethers. I can’t decide whether it’s our family or friends judging us for what we are putting on our own plates or if they are just feeling bad about what they have decided to put on theirs and projecting that guilt onto us.
So the way I handle it is to just eat and eat merrily. The result is weeks of feeling terrible and putting my weight management and training results way behind for months in order to overcome the damage from November and December.
For me this year, I decided that was it the day after Christmas. I had had enough of feeling, looking and training terribly, and I wasn’t going to wait until January 1 to “get myself back on track” in terms of diet and training like most of the country. I have already started, and I have to say that I feel so much better already.
It will be easy to judge those new gym-goers over the next couple of months who roll in to start CrossFit or other training protocols in order to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, but take it easy on them. It takes a lot to get motivated enough to want to make a change. Maybe if we support them as a community, they’ll be more likely to stay around.
Who knows, if I can be a good coach to them at CrossFit, maybe they’ll be the ones who help encourage me to not overdo it next year on the Christmas desserts.
What do you struggle the most with during the holidays? Eating, training, travel? Tell us about your holiday struggles and what you plan to do to get back on track in 2015.
Stay on the Grind.
Jamie Toland is a high school English teacher and soccer coach and works part-time as a CrossFit Level-1 trainer at Capital City CrossFit in Springfield, IL. He has been training in CrossFit since 2010 and has logged close to 1,000 workouts during that time, including competing in a variety of local competitions at all levels. Jamie has worked for CrossFit Games Media for two years in the capacity of an athlete and team profile writer for games.crossfit.com. This past summer, he worked in the television production department for the 2014 CrossFit Games. Jamie also works as a freelance CrossFit writer for various online and print publications. Follow him at @JTolgrinder