During the winter months and especially the holidays, overindulgence is common. Serious dessert eaters love the holidays! The sugar cookies, fruitcakes and plethora of candies make the holidays a vast caloric minefield for the serial fitness buff and dieter.

The pandemic has cancelled the office parties and big gatherings. There are still enough family members and good friends around to huddle around the outdoor heater and pass the red and green cupcakes and cookies. It is not hard to find a reason to open the door of the gingerbread house and pull out the fudge and candy canes and drink back a few eggnogs and hot toddies.

Face it. You are going to overindulge a little bit during the holidays. There! Now you know. There is nothing to hide anymore. Accept that you are going to enjoy some treats and consume some extra calories.

Not a big deal. Unless . . ..

The holiday season may be opening Pandora’s Box for you. You may be the type of person that cannot stop at one sugar cookie or one piece of fudge. Once you get started it is hard to stop. Fearing the holidays and not eating any treats generally is not the solution. You are setting yourself up for failure. It is better to deal with the entirety of the holiday season and set up a plan that is going to work for you.

The holiday season starts with Halloween and runs through New Year’s. That is roughly ten weeks. Accept that you are going to eat more calories in these ten weeks than you do any other time of the year. It is ok. Do not let this throw you off your whole plan. Work with the holiday season. Do not fear it.

Cycle your weeks. Some weeks you eat more and some weeks you eat less.

Let us start with Halloween. Did you eat candy on Halloween? Maybe you ate a lot of candy on Halloween. The week following Halloween exercise more, tighten up your nutrition by eating clean and simple. Keep your food choices healthy and low fat. Do not starve to try and compensate for the excess calories. Your body can handle the extra calories. Stay on your plan.

Thanksgiving rolls around and eating too much turkey dinner is a mainstay. Accept you are going to overindulge and that it is ok.  What do you do the following week? Tighten up your nutrition and make clean, healthy eating choices. Keep your workouts going and do not slack off on the exercise. Stay hydrated and have a great week of workouts and nutrition.

Now Hanukkah and Christmas roll around. Whether its fried foods and jelly donuts or sugar cookies and eggnog, these holidays can make it tough. Once again, work your cycle. Accept some overindulgence and enjoy yourself. Eat the things you love and have fun. Make sure you do not keep eating the things you like though. Enjoy the parties or dinner but get back to the fundamentals and complete the cycle. Follow the holiday treats with several days of workouts, clean eating, proper sleep and good hydration.

See how it works? Enjoy yourself for a bit then follow it up with your healthy habits. Do not starve yourself to make up for the excess calories. You would only be setting yourself up for more highs and lows than you can handle. Stay consistent instead. Cycle up and cycle down. Enjoy yourself and then get back to work.