The time is here when we are the most challenged to continue with our routines of getting our bodies to move. The natural inclination is towards staying inside, and doing very little activity, as it gets darker earlier and earlier.
Keep in mind that although this is ‘natural’ for us to want to stay in as the months get cooler and and days shorter, our lifestyles do not benefit from this as much as they did in ancestral days.
What happens when you stay inside a lot (besides losing extra fresh air)? We tend to not move very much, and we end up eating more than our bodies need. We are not living in caves, scavenging for food, and warding off the enemy or wild animals. Most of us are in our cozy and warm homes, replete with climate control, a warm bed, carpeting (for many), hot showers, and a kitchen replete with food, thus, making it easier to stay put.
On top of that, we will, in the next few months, be challenged with all the ‘goodies’ that will be floating around in our work spaces. The justification for eating these foods is that they are ‘holiday’ foods. And we only get this particular holiday once per year. And everyone else is eating this stuff. And I don’t want to make anyone feel like I don’t want their special dish. And, well, I just love this stuff, and I just don’t want the kids eating all this candy, and everyone else is enjoying it, and on and on. A little is OK…a lot, maybe not so much.
Although tempting, we need to focus on what this will do over the next few months, if we are attempting to stay healthy and fit. Yes, we get out to go to work, shop, etc. However, none of that is moving our bodies with any amount of vigor or intensity. We are becoming sedentary. And a sedentary body can, so much easier, get the ‘blahs.’ A sedentary body will begin to feel less and less vibrant. You will begin to set yourself up for all the illnesses and sicknesses that can affect your body when it is not in optimal health.
How you deal with this depends on your priorities. If you have worked hard to get to where you are now, and you like where you are, why would you want to sabotage this?
How can you balance this? First of all, continue with your workout regimen. Whether you are doing the martial arts or a fitness routine, continue, even through all the things that can pull you away. Make ‘you’ a priority. Other things can wait until you are finished with your workout. Set your own boundaries before you make plans with others, or go to an event. Let your family and friends know that your workouts are really necessary for your own sanity and health. Ask them to support you in this by avoiding all the guilt-tripping they can throw on you.
Choose wisely what you eat. You can still enjoy holiday foods, however, you don’t need two or three of one particular food. One small serving will still allow you to ‘taste’ the food, socialize, and give praise to the cook/baker, thus allowing you to enjoy the event, and leave feeling ‘full’ of the energy you collected from all the people at the event. You will feel less deprived when you have allowed yourself a ‘taste’ of whatever, and taken in more energy from those present. Make the event, and socializing, more important than the food. Celebrate the relationships!
You can also eat before you go to the event, thus reducing the justification that you are starving. Drink plenty of water too. This helps with the feeling of fullness, and you will have less of a need to “fill” your stomach.
Along with the abundance of food available 24/7, we also tend to not want to get out to move our bodies at this time of year. How do you combat feeling unmotivated to move your body rigorously? You set an intention for yourself. What will be the intention, and how much time will you give yourself to achieve that intention? If it is just to continue to work out on a regular basis, you know what to do. If it is to get more fitness in your body, you know what to do. (That is why we are here.)
You are in charge. Every day. Choose wisely.
Clara E Minor