Vail Daily column: Be thankful, not guilty this New Year
The holiday season is over. Overindulgence and too many days sitting around the fire with loved ones in lieu of exercise has the guilty wagon running over your soul. The little voice inside tells you that you’re fat, lazy and undisciplined.
“How could I have gained so much weight during the month!?” Of course this is the year that you are making changes. You vow to look into the mirror in 90 days and desperately hope that the wrinkles will disappear and maybe, just maybe, you could have a six pack after all. No more excuses, this is the year.
Lucky to do nothing
I understand this thought process all too well, and this year I promise myself I will learn to take my own advice. Last week I was riding the chairlift the day after Christmas with a close friend. It was a glorious powder day at Beaver Creek, and I was voicing my overwhelming sense of gratitude for being able to ski hard for the sake of burning off the remnants of cinnamon bread and bourbon from the day before.
We didn’t do anything on Christmas. My family and I sat around all day long. It was everything I hoped it would be. We ate, watched our son bask in the glory of toys and holiday movies, and developed late onset comatose from the lack of movement. But there I was, feeling guilty at the end of the day and passing judgment on myself for overeating. As I voiced this condemning concern to my friend on the chairlift, he put things into perspective.
“This is something that should be revered. How lucky are we to have the gift to be able to sit around all day and eat and do nothing.”
It’s all about perspective
It appeared to me that some make New Year’s fitness resolutions and don’t bother assessing that fitness isn’t the element in their lives that needs assistance. It’s all about perspective. I am all about self-improvement and goal setting. Every trainee I work with has to set tangible and realistic fitness goals, but I wonder if we need to evaluate what’s really important.
I observed people storming into the gym on New Year’s Day bent on making changes. Most of them were fit, looked good and appeared healthy. It dawned on me how unrealistic and critical we can be on ourselves. So often many of my trainees feel guilt and a host of other emotions when they overeat or participate in other behaviors that can slow progress towards healthy living.
The reality is, we should celebrate the circumstances that allow us to indulge every now and again. We should understand that a few pounds gained over the holidays was probably a result of spending quality time with loved ones enjoying really good food and drink. Not to mention some of us could afford to gain a few pounds anyways. Or at least, a few pounds gained isn’t going to be noticed in a negative light by others to begin with or become a risk factor for our health. With body dysmorphic disease at an all-time high, our self-image can take a beating when we harbor feelings that somehow a few pounds gained over the holidays is representative of a character flaw or that somehow we have become undisciplined or lazy.
FORGET THE CLEANSE
I am in the business of selling fitness. I am all about trying to overachieve our fitness expectations. Being fit is better than the alternative. However, this new year, make an effort to strive towards better health, but not at the expense of eating carrot sticks and celery exclusively for two weeks because you feel guilty for the holiday overindulgence. Forget the cleanse this year and just pick up where you left off.
For me, I was blessed this year with an overabundance of sweets and other baked goods that loved ones prepared for me. I have a host of these goodies sitting on my kitchen table, including the cinnamon bread and bourbon from Christmas day. I have been contemplating lining the bottom of my trash can with these luxuries.
After much thought and consideration, I’m going to eat all of the goodness people spent so much time preparing for me in the first place. Hopefully, we will get another powder day again soon, so Paulie can remind me on the chairlift to be thankful for the goodies and the fitness developed to burn it off as we consider the double fall line on Spider. Happy New Year’s!
Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards’ passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at http://www.r2hp.com or 970-401-0720.