BY OLIVIA ANDREW // NOV. 4, 2015 //

The dreaded holiday season is upon us! Although we all love family gatherings, celebrations and creating fond memories, holidays can also be a health enthusiast’s worst nightmare.

The holidays are a time for binging. We all do it, we pig out on turkey, mashed potatoes and pie. So, how can we tackle this particular predicament?

There are two ways that I have found to be very effective for me and my lifestyle choice:

  1. Increase the intensity of your workouts and dietary restrictions for the next couple of weeks. By taking this route, you are reinforcing your discipline and enabling yourself to resist unhealthy temptations. Then, when the holidays come around, you are more likely to partake in the food festivities in moderation. With your hard work constantly in mind, it will be a lot harder for you to justify throwing it all away for three piece of pumpkin pie.
  2. Continue your current workout routines and dietary habits throughout the holiday preseason. Then, when the holidays roll around, partake in the feasting as you wish. However, have an post-holiday plan ready to go. Once the holidays are over, increase the intensity of your workouts and further evaluate your diet to help you lose any weight you may have gained.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.

There are people who are strong enough to not let the holidays affect how they eat and kudos to them! For me, half of the enjoyment and memories are eating my grandmother’s famous apple pie and my aunt’s amazing mac and cheese. I just can’t say “no”! But, with the help of a holiday game plan, I won’t have to worry about a little holiday indulgence.

I won’t lie – this past month hasn’t been easy. One of the first things I learned living this lifestyle is that lying doesn’t do you any good. You have to admit any problems you may be having and then find a way to resolve them.

My schedule has been the biggest challenge to conquer. Although I always find time to walk or run and get at least an hour of exercise four times a week, it can be hard to manage. I have so much going on outside of fitness that my workouts haven’t been as intense and my diet has wavered.

But GOOD NEWS! I have pinpointed my problem and have taken the steps to correct it. Because of my choice to body build, I have decided to make sure to dedicate one hour a day (with weekends off) to intense workouts.

I have created posters and reminders everywhere, so I have no excuse to quit or avoid. You are more likely to achieve a goal if it surrounds the place you live.

Make a schedule, put up pictures of inspiration, keep them exposed and you can achieve your fitness goals!

PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.

Last month I gained four pounds of muscle! I’m very proud of myself and it’s important to remember that baby steps are good steps.

Other then discovering muscle gain, I learned that stomach fat is incredibly hard to burn! Don’t think that you can just constantly do cardio and it will go away, because it won’t. Many people give up on losing weight or getting fit, because they don’t see immediate progress. You need to remember that improvement takes serious dedication and heart. If you want it, never give up on it! Abs are made in the kitchen, not just the gym. Make sure you are getting the right nutrients into your body while also working out.

None of us are perfect. I am still struggling with my goals. My stomach doesn’t look like I want it to yet, but my upper body and calf muscles are showing improvement.

With holiday season looming and leftover Halloween candy lingering, don’t give up. You’re worth it, we all are!

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