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Should you postpone your fitness goals until 2022?

'Tis the season where mince pies, mulled wine and boozy nights seem to take precedence over your calorie targets, protein shakes and gym sessions. It's a nationwide shift in priorities that seems to take place as soon as December 1st strikes and probably the most challenging time of year to remain consistent with your fitness goals, which begs the question should you just 'start in January'?

I've seen a lot of posts from the fitness world demonising this 'start in January' mentality but doesn't it just kind of make sense to start in January? With this time of year comes huge amounts of social pressure, traditions and habits that have lasted decades as well as easy access to highly caloric food and drink. Hardly the ideal environment for your fitness journey to thrive.

With that being said, please don't take this as permission to eat gluttonously and give up on going to the gym but more so as an understanding that right now probably isn't going to be optimal.

What you must remember is that January will have its own obstacles and if you carry on this mindset into the first week of January and then the second week and so on, then you're entering a dangerous negative feedback loop that you don't want to get stuck in.

My advice to my clients: Select the days in which you are going to be 'gluttonous' and enjoy yourself but keep this to a minimum. On the other days, eat consciously. Be aware of your calorie/protein intake but equally be aware that the glass of wine you shared with your mother this Christmas was more valuable than the caloric value.

My personal choices: Not including the evening trips I've chosen to indulge in already this festive season, albeit only being 2-3 nights (all of which have been totally worth it for the record). Christmas Eve - the beginning of the day I'll eat relatively tight to allow more freedom in the evening for traditional drinks. Christmas Day - I doubt it'll cross my mind much. Boxing Day - Moderate intake during the day and some indulgence in another traditional family get together. 27th - probably some residual grazing from leftovers but more conscious consumption. 28th - Back to normal.

Having a plan like this, for me, is invaluable. I can maintain traditions and eat very relaxed for large periods but then as soon as Christmas is no longer a valid excuse for your greediness, it's back to eating like a normal human again.

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