It’s the holidays.
Time for being dragged through some Christmas tree farm in upstate Maine for two and a half hours until you can no longer feel your toes and you’ve found the “perfect” tree. Even if you passed the perfect tree 17 times in the first half hour.
Oh…that’s not how you started your season?
It’s also time for listening to Dean Martin’s “Marshmallow World In the Winter,” wrapping presents with duct tape, and cookies. And....watching Christmas Vacation for the 3,457th time. And cookies.
I’m not a huge fan of all cookies - my mother is a good baker, but she only ever used half a bag of chocolate chips when making three batches of chocolate chip cookies. Finding a chocolate chip was like finding the baby Jesus in a king cake.
But if you wag a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey's kiss in front of my face, you best set it down and walk away. Walk slowly, slowly, away.
People are making cookies. They are bringing them to work, giving them as gifts and hiding them from children so there will be some left for guests.
You should eat the cookies.
No, don’t shove them all in your mouth at once like a holiday cookie chubby bunny contest. Moderation people. But you should eat them.
And you don’t have to earn them.
Let me repeat that.
You don’t have to earn your cookies. You don’t have to do 10 burpees and 75 jumping jacks before you can have one. You don’t need to do walking lunges up and down the hallway after you eat one. You don’t have to punish yourself to enjoy a taste of the holidays.
Exercise is not punishment.
I know it can feel like punishment. But I hope you exercise because you feel good doing it. Because it feels good to work up a sweat and move your body. I hope you’ve already established an exercise plan that you follow on a weekly basis. Stay consistent with what you're doing, but don't give in to the pressure to feel like you have to do more because of food.
If you want to go for a walk because your brother decided to bring up politics and that’s how you’ll relieve your stress - that’s a good reason to literally run for the hills.
But don’t go for a walk because you had two of your co-worker’s famous bourbon balls and you feel you have to work off those calories. (Or a slight buzz. Easy on the bourbon next time Martha.)
You don't have to earn your food. And exercise is not punishment. Even pushing the sled. Really.
Nia Shanks writes a great article about good and bad reasons to exercise right here. And it’s worth the read.