Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Holiday Fitness Challenge

A customer sent me an article written by Tom Venuto 2 years ago - I saved it and have sent it to all of my customers this years asking them to partake in the 'Holiday Challenge,' and I would like to share it with you. As of writing this, there are just under 3 weeks until the end of the year, why not step up your expectations, step up your standards, step up your nutrition, step up your training, step up your actions and step up to the 'Holiday Challenge' when you finish reading this, and see what happens.

Media reports say that most people gain between 5 and 10 pounds of body fat in the 6-weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount is much more modest, just over a pound. However, even the modest holiday weight gain may be cause for concern. A study by the National Institute of Health, found that this seasonal weight gain, even just a pound, is usually not lost after the holidays; it simply adds to the 'weight creep' that 'sneaks up' on us as we get older. Whether it's a pound or ten pounds, have you ever asked yourself why holiday weight gain happens at all - here are some common answers we've all heard.

I'm too busy over the holidays to work-out as often as usual.'
I have at least three parties to attend, and then there's Christmas and New Year's, so its impossible to stay on a diet.
No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays, so I'm just going to eat whatever I want.

These answers all have a few things in common. First, they assume that it's and either/or proposition - you can either get in better shape of enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse, you can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments, or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is,either/or thinking is a very limiting form of thinking.

Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. For example, 'I'm too busy' is always an excuse because I have never known someone who was too buys to make time for his or her highest life priorities. The problem is most people do not make exercise or eating healthy a priority. We all have the same amount of time - 24 hours a day - but the way people prioritize the use of time is the difference between success and mediocrity. And remember, words mean little, actions reveal a person's true priorities.

Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with, The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: to get in better shape over the holidays. Most people set a 'goal' to get in worse shape over the holidays. It's not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to gain fat. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother? Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing continues:

Why should I deprive myself?
Family is more important
Worrying about diet and exercise during the holidays is neurotic
I don't care if I gain a few pounds, I'm going to enjoy myself anyway
It's only these two or three weeks that I let myself go wild
I'll start the first week in January and lose the weight then

As a result of the 'negative goal setting' they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds and the don't seem to even consider alternatives. What would happen if you set an intentions and a goal to get in better shape? What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time? And, what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life because you realized that you couldn't enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don't have your health.

The idea that you can either enjoy the holidays or stay in shape, but not both, is dangerous and limiting. It's dangerous to your social life, your emotional life and your physical life. Life is not an either/or proposition; it's a matter of balance. Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself, re-evaluating your expectations and acting in accordance with all of the above.

Your expectations will become your reality. What are you expecting? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebration, banquets, dinner, and desserts? If not, then why not? What's preventing you from enjoying tall of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it's one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectations to do it? Could it be that you're rationalizing and making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year, and then keep the change, for the rest of your life!

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