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One Step at a Time: Thanksgiving highs and woes

Fitness columnist Abbie Wenthe on the post-break slump

Published Nov. 30, 2012

Oh Thanksgiving Break. A week of family, high school friends, big comfy beds and enough food to feed a developing country. Of course, homework is brought home with every intention of getting a head start on finals studying, but of course the backpack stays in the corner, untouched. Thanksgiving Break is such a tease, and coming back to three more weeks of classes and tests before the glorious winter break is always the biggest challenge.

This Thanksgiving Break, I had such big plans to get a start on my finals studying, to work out and to eat healthy everyday. For each break, these always seem to be my goals, but for some weird reason none of them ever really get accomplished. It’s a mystery. However, I was determined to make this break different and started out strong with a kickboxing workout Saturday and healthy, home-cooked meals. My family had plans for Sunday to go to my mom’s side of the family to celebrate Thanksgiving, so I needed a good workout before the massive amounts of food I was about to consume.

My mom has four brothers and four sisters, and they each have about four kids of their own, so there’s always about a minimum of 40 of us at different family events. From 3 months old on up, people of every age are everywhere, and it is a wild mess of people. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. At least, that’s what I thought before Monday night. Lucky enough for me, a couple of the little kids had the flu the previous week before coming to Thanksgiving and were kind enough to spread their germs to the whole family. About ten of us got the flu Monday night, including my mom and me. Needless to say, it was not quite the way I had planned to spend my time at home.

My mom and I were basically knocked out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so we were left home while my dad went to Thanksgiving on his side of the family and my sister went to her fiancé’s family. During my sickness, I sat on the couch and barely moved for three days. The only times I got up was to put the next DVD in or go throw up. The only good thing about all those movies was introducing my mom to "The Hunger Games" and watching Zac Efron as a troubled Marine in "The Lucky One." By the time Friday rolled around, I was much better and completely restless and more than ready to get some sort of exercise after doing nothing for so long. However, I had no desire to do anything super strenuous, so I decided to force my parents to play "Just Dance 3" with me to get a little exercise and a good laugh as well.

If your parents are as uncoordinated as mine, I highly suggest playing any type of Wii game with them, but especially a dancing game. It will be the most hilarious three minutes watching them struggle to do the moves and try to get a “perfect score.” I’m sure most everyone indulged way more than intended on Thanksgiving and throughout the whole break and working out is the last thing anyone wants to do. However, getting back into a workout routine will improve focus for these last few weeks of school and is a great way to relieve some finals stress.

Playing "Just Dance 3" and other Wii games helped me jump-start my workout routine again after being sick and the definition of couch potato. Coming back to campus and my sorority with my workout buddies is the best motivation for me to get back into my routine. Even if they have to force me to work out, I always am so glad I did after it's over; a workout buddy can make all the difference because we just laugh and make fun of ourselves the entire time. Afterward, the stress of my homework seems a lot easier to handle, and I know that if I can get through a tough Jillian Michaels workout, I can get through the rest of this semester. And so can you.

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