I have always been the type of person to over-indulge during the holidays or on special occasions, especially when I am traveling out of town to celebrate them. And even though I have learned how to control my cravings throughout the better part of the year and have found a healthy balance with food, I still find myself visiting the sweets table a few times too many.
Needless to say, December used to stress me out. Between the swift kick from Thanksgiving to get it started and the many holiday celebrations to wrap up the end of the year, December was basically a month-long eating contest. Not to mention the company parties, Friendsgivings, and bottomless holiday cheer (aka bottles of wine brought home from the grocery store for no reason other than ‘getting in the spirit’).
In fact, if I really think about it, it seems reasonable to believe that New Year’s resolutions were actually part of a conspiracy theory to offset the uncontrollable behavior we demonstrate during nearly 10% of the year. A marketing scheme, perhaps?
No. Americans would never do that. (*ahem* Valentine’s Day *ahem*)
Regardless, I have taken a new approach to the month of December compared to years past. Well, it’s not so much of an approach as it is a rule:
NO DIETING IN DECEMBER.
Now this does not mean I go balls to the wall and eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I still incorporate flexible dieting and mindfully track macros. However, I am not in a caloric deficit and I am not trying to lose weight. And I am definitely not beating myself up over eating extra dessert on the holidays.
Instead, I am using this time to make some serious strength gains in the gym. You need to be in a caloric surplus to gain muscle, so that’s where I am focusing my efforts. I’ll put my most intense workouts on the days that I know will include a little over-indulging so I can put those extra calories to good use! And the days I am not celebrating anything special? Those will be great days to focus on accessory work like biceps, triceps, and abs.
All in all, December has so many opportunities to gather with friends and family and dieting should never get in the way of that. Don’t take this month so seriously, and I promise you will not only have many memories to fondly look back on, but also some serious muscle gains that will appear when you begin your summer shredding!