Many people this time of year are. Or they will be soon. It is difficult to escape The Holiday Trap.
Because this trap is set by you, your friends, your relatives, and coworkers, Starbucks, and capitalism. Unless you live off the grid (or outside of the US) it is hard to avoid the holiday trap.
There is a trap that many fall into during the holiday season. It is caused by the holiday spirit, which is the desire to give and receive, to cut loose, and enjoy yourself. People want to spread, and receive good cheer, and it’s the end of the year. So why not?
What Is The Holiday Trap?
The holiday trap is taking part in the holiday season at the expense of your health. It is the breakdown of your resistance to all the things that are bad for your health: Egg nog, cookies, alcohol, overeating, and going to a party or shopping instead of the gym. The holiday trap is sprung by good meaning people who want you to enjoy yourself. Who want to give you pleasure, or who want your money.
The Holiday Spirit
We participate in holiday activities, in one form or another, because we like the them. That is part of the joy of the season – taking part in something special. We deserve it. It rounds out our year. It gives us something to look forward to. This is a good thing, to a point, but not at the cost of your health. Giving to others is good and probably makes you feel good. They certainly like it. But, you should not sacrifice your health to do so. They probably would not like that either.
The holiday trap may not be accidental. Think of all the businesses who capitalize off of you during the holiday season. They know you are easily parted from your money this time of year. Starbucks brings out special drinks that can only be purchased during the holidays. It’s a happy time, a playful time, a giving time, a receiving time. In fact, giving is part of the trap. While you have your mind set on giving, you are neglecting yourself. It’s selfish to think of yourself this time of year – right? If you spend time at the gym you’re being selfish. If you decline to take that cookie from your coworker you’re being selfish. She wants to give and if you don’t accept, you will be denying her the pleasure of giving. That is selfish. So you take it, and thank her, and eat it, and feel bad. What can you do?
The Holiday Trap is Tricky
Most people fall into the holiday trap on accident. While there are others who knowingly and willingly embrace the holidays for all they have to offer. They decorate, and buy, and eat, and bake, and cook and throw parties and go to parties, they do everything to make the most of the Christmas spirit. And why not? They’ve worked hard all year and this is what they enjoy. Why not enjoy it to its fullest? If this is not harmful to you, then there is no reason. But quite often a person’s health will suffer because of this celebration. If you feel regret in January because of your frivolousness in December, then your behavior during the holidays is harmful.
So, what can be done to avoid it?
- Make a plan of what, when, and how much to eat and drink. If you want to eat some treats, go ahead, but plan it out in advance so you are not sucker-punched. Decide in advance what kinds of treats you want to spend your calories on and then do it and enjoy it without guilt. But, don’t waste your calories on crap.
- Consume your treats slowly so you can maximize the flavors. If you enjoy the flavor, eat or drink slowly so your enjoyment lasts longer while consuming less.
- Try a new kind of exercise. Now is a good time to try something new. Break your routine. But, make it challenging. However, more is better than less. So if taking a walk is the only thing you can do besides sitting on the couch, then by all means you are much better off. Move your body. It will help burn off those treats.
- Sample but don’t gorge. Have little tastes. There is no need to fill your plate, or your stomach. Have a small taste of all the things you want. Survey your options and choose what you’ll take before serving anything.
- All Calories count. Liquids hide calories very easily and you can put down an entire day’s worth of energy in a short time. For example, the average cup of egg nog contains about 225 calories. Liquid calories add up, and digest, quickly, and they don’t leave you feeling satisfied very long.
- Priorities. Prioritize what is most important to you during the holiday season. Go to the most important party, eat the most important foods (to you), and leave the rest. Don’t waste your time on mediocre things. There is a lot of great stuff out there. But if it’s not, then don’t waste it.
- Go ahead and waste it. It’s better to waste it then to let it go to your waist. Yes, there are starving children in Africa, and America, but that half of a cookie is not going to go to them regardless of whether you eat it or throw it in the trash. But, eating it may do you harm. So, save yourself, waste the food.
- Mindset. As with most things, having your mind set properly will allow you to succeed. How do you want to spend your holidays? How do you want to feel about them in mid-January? Will you remember them as being great with no regrets? Or will you be sweating on the treadmill for four hours every day trying to burn off those cookies? Set your mind right, and you will feel great.
The Choice is Yours
You can fall for the holiday trap, or follow these 8 tips and beat it. You can have the holiday spirit and participate in the events because you deserve it and your loved ones want you to enjoy it. What they don’t want is you sacrificing your health for it. So, don’t worry about being selfish when you are taking care of you. Because, if you are not well, you can’t give to them. You can be a smart eater and remain fit without taking anything away from those around you. You may have to rearrange something, but you can find a way.
Following these tips will give you the strength to overcome too many temptations in the holiday trap. You still may succumb, but if you do, it will probably be far less harmful than if you give up and let it take you. Keep your focus. Set your priorities. Come out of the other end of the holidays feeling and looking great. Set your mind right and you will do right. The important thing is that you don’t fall victim to the holiday trap.
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