How to Avoid “Holiday Guilt”

How to stay on track while enjoying the dang holidays!

Photo: Amelia Ricci

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The holidays come around just once a year – so why waste a minute worrying about eating the wrong thing or not working out everyday? Believe it or not, you can keep your fitness goals in mind while still enjoying a guilt and worry-free holiday with friends and family.

Fitting in Fitness

Oxygen Ambassador Amelia Ricci knows all too well how hectic things can get around the holidays. Her way of dealing with it, she says, is to plan your events around her exercise routine and ensure she continues them all the way through the holiday season. Although, she does realize this can come with holiday hurdles.
“No time for your normal five days of workouts?” She says. “Going away for a vacation to see family?”
Here are a few tips Ricci has:
  • Look up gyms or fitness centres when on vacation and join classes that are fun (and that maybe the whole family can join in on!)
  • Fitness apps are great for on-the-go workouts and you can choose the duration. Anywhere, anytime!
  • Any movement is good movement. If you can’t make it to the gym, don’t consider the day “a loss” and spend it wallowing in guilt. Get out for a brisk walk! Do some stair work at home. Even a good session of stretching is better than nothing.

Freaking Out About Food?

“No one wants to end up being a party pooper, constantly refusing all the yummy treats and festive foods,” Ricci says. “But there needs to be some balance when it comes to your nutrition intake.”
 A 2020 study reports that 63 percent of Americans feel “food guilt” around the holidays. 41 percent believe that the whole month of December “routinely sabotages their diet and fitness goals.”
Ricci has a few suggestions when it comes to navigating holiday treats:
  • Choose one or two parties where you may enjoy all the holiday drinks and food you like. This removes the idea that you’re doing anything “wrong” by eating these foods. It’s a party! Have fun and enjoy.
  • Only if this works for you: Stay focused on tracking your macros for the other days of the week. Tracking using an app will allow you more flexibility to fit in your treats and still remain within your calorie targets.
  • Keep fueling yourself throughout the day with whole, filling foods with enough fiber, protein, carbs and healthy fat so you’re not restricting or starving by the end of the day!
  • Stay hydrated – Stephanie Kay of Stephanie Kay Nutrition says that dehydration is one of the leading causes of intense sugar cravings. Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.


Mindfulness takes lots of practice, patience and focus, but it can be especially useful around times when you feel most stressed. Take the time to practice mindfulness around the holidays with these tips:

  • Let go of old harmful habits.
  • Get rid of what you think you “should” be doing and follow what works best for you.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Be aware and mindful of making your food, thinking about where it comes from, how much effort went into it and how it makes you feel.
  • Remember that self-care is not selfish.

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