Get Fit Shannon Sorrels

It’s the holiday season and time for the obligatory “pep talk” to get you through without a lot of weight gain. But I just can’t bring myself to bore you with another “holiday tips and tricks” article. Frankly, we all know pie is a lot of calories, getting drunk usually leads to regret, and no one “deserves” cheese balls on tooth picks.

I wrestled with this topic for some time. It’s actually easier for me to look up some calorie counts, a slice of pecan pie is 480 calories and greatly depends on who made it and who did the cutting, and then regurgitate how far you’d have to walk to burn it back off — all meant to shock you into skipping it.

What’s hard is getting past all that and figuring out how to remind you that the holidays are not about food or over-the-top gifts. No matter your religion or lack thereof, the holidays are about love (people who know me just fell off their chairs).

To love is to care for, nurture, and at times sacrifice in the name of love. Is it loving to eat so much you have to loosen your pants? To get drunk and behave questionably, or encourage others to do it? To bake turtle brownies for your diet-struggling best friend? To bring a truckload of cookies to work when more than half of your colleagues are overweight or obese? Is it loving to spend money you don’t have on gifts they don’t need?

Want a litmus test to know if what you are doing is “loving?” Does your comfort, joy, happiness, or growth come at the expense of someone else’s growth or joy? To feel comfortable, does another have to suffer? And oddly enough, the one who is suffering as a result of your supposed comfort may sometimes be you.

How the heck is any of this fitness? Well, it’s hard to be healthy and fit if you don’t love. Oh you might have big biceps and maybe you can run seven-minute miles, but if what you are doing isn’t causing or supporting growth, either in yourself or those around you, then you’re just passing time.

When you are facing down a buffet table of pies, remember, it’s just some molecules glued together in different shapes. It’s not personal development or happiness or joy. Instead, take a walk with that cousin you used to play hide and seek with, or the brother who stuck up for you at the bus stop. Go sit and visit with that aunt who always sent you a $1 in a Hallmark card. Reminisce with your best friend. Or go play with your kids and their new bicycles — remember how it felt to learn to ride. None of it involves food and you’ll be happier for it.

This time of year is meant as a reminder to love and be loved. Ignore that TV commercial of grandma making cookies (she’s a fake) and skip the notion that “just the right jewelry” will make her happy (even if it appears to for a while, it’s not true). Relax; enjoy the love, and let go of the hype — and the pie.


• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit

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