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How to let go of perfection without sabotaging progress

Let’s get real. Holidays are hard. Between being off our normal routine, all the holiday parties and the scrumptious temptations of decadent desserts and delicious cocktails, it can be hard to stick to our goals. It can be tempting to say, “I’m going to be perfect this season and not give in to a crumb of temptation.” 

And while this sounds like a great plan in theory, it’ll likely fail. 

Instead of striving to be “perfect” this holiday season (or even worse, not caring at all), give yourself some grace and realize there will be some times for indulgence and you might not be hitting back to back PR’s in the gym (and that’s ok!) 

Here are 5 ways you can let go of perfection this holiday season while still maintaining all the hard work you’ve put in the gym and the kitchen: 


Eat small, healthy meals before big parties.

While fasting before a big chow down sounds like it might afford you a few extra hundred calories, many experts agree that eating a small, healthy meal the morning before a big party can actually help give you more control over your appetite. Instead of starving yourself for hours, start your day with a small, nutritious meal. Something like overnight oats or an egg with half a sweet potato is perfect. Give your body the fuel it needs to feel full and satisfied until the big party. 


Have a plan. 

It’s ok to be “snobby” about what you put on your plate. Treat your meal like “the best of” edition of the holidays. Only make room for those dishes that you crave all year long. Instead of reaching for empty calories that you “just kind of like,” only indulge in the good stuff. Create room for your aunt’s award-winning stuffing and your grandma’s famous green bean casserole. Try to manage portions by filling up your plate with golf-ball size servings so you can taste a little bit of all your favorite dishes.


Slow down and skip seconds. 

Since you had a nutritious breakfast that morning, you won’t be starving. This will allow you to slow down and really enjoy your food. Savor every bite and put your fork down as much as possible. Sink into conversation and ask your friends and loved ones plenty of questions so you’ll be spending more time listening than scarfing down piles of food. If possible, skip seconds. Let others go ahead of you and allow them to scrape the bottom of the casserole dish. You only need one, delicious meal to feel satisfied!


Strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss. 

Before the big holiday parties start, check in with yourself. If you’re scared of the scale, now is the time to overcome that fear, take a deep breath and assess exactly where you are today. Strive to simply maintain that number. (This is where “letting go of perfection” really comes into play!) Instead of telling yourself that you’ll only be happy if you lose five pounds in the next month, cut yourself some slack and be happy if you make it through the holidays without adding an ounce. That way, when the holidays are over, you won’t be focused on getting back to your pre-holiday number. You can simply resume with your fitness plan!


Remember what the holidays are about. 

It can be easy to think the holidays are about big meals and staying in our comfy pants all day. But, it’s really about something else—celebrating relationships with family and friends. If we can keep our focus on those around us, then the big meals won’t seem as important (or tempting!) This is the season to take a deep breath, slow down and simply enjoy the ones we love. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life can be unpredictable. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember what’s truly important. Take stock of all your blessings and keep your focus on what’s truly important. 

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