Eat, drink, be merry, sleep, repeat. This is the most popular time of year for a lifestyle conducive to weight gain. I will be as realistic as I can about this. In a perfect world, we will watch our intake through the holiday season, continue going to the gym, and make it safely through to the other side of New Year’s Day without gaining an ounce, possibly even losing a few pounds. Realistically, many of us will forget the gym because our focus isn’t fitness, it’s palate pleasure, shopping, holiday parties, traveling, and more palate pleasure. During this time, our routine gets demoted on our list of priorities, we eat everything in sight, and arrive in the new year bringing an extra 10 pounds, which is the average weight gain for the holiday season.
There is probably a good amount of info out there on how to live in a perfect world. But I am speaking to the true food lovers who live in reality, myself included. Nobody can tell me at this time of year not to eat the pie… especially since I’ve already done it. But I will make suggestions to help you not stray too far from your routine and avoid that weight gain that you will so hate when the party is over.
1. Write the vision, make it plain. Get yourself a food mantra, write it down, and place it everywhere. It can be as simple as “why”, as in why are you eating what you are eating? Or as focused as “I am not a garbage disposal”. If there is a brief thought of throwing something away and you choose to eat it instead, this should help you start breaking that bad habit today. Or as powerful as “Put away childish things” when you find yourself eating the leftover Halloween candy someone so generously shares at the office.
2. Pick your battles. Is it really worth it to nosh at the holiday office party? I mean most of that stuff came from either Costco or somebody’s nasty kitchen where their cat lays on the counter while they cook and their preschooler has helped and probably sneezed over the food. Wouldn’t you rather save your calories for something worth it, like the family dinner coming up in just 2 days? I’m just sayin’.
3. Lay down your life for a friend. There are churches and other organizations all over the country who could use your help feeding the less fortunate during the holidays. Rather than sitting around the house all day nibbling on leftover turkey, you could be out there on the front lines taking care of a brother or sister who hasn’t had a hot meal in days. You could even make it a family tradition to have dinner – one plate- then load up the car with the family and go assist in making sure others have a wonderful dinner as well.
4. Remember the reason for the season. It’s very interesting that we celebrate such spiritual holidays by being greedy, and lacking restraint. The spiritual reality is that we are supposed to be celebrating what we have, not how much we can eat. Let’s be thankful for good health if we have it by living a lifestyle to preserve it. Weight gain is not showing very much thankfulness is it? Especially when we know how to avoid it.
Can we all agree to make this a holiday season that we get through without gaining 10 pounds? Every 3,500 excess calories consumed is one pound gained. That can be done in a single visit to the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, ONE visit. So employ wisdom and restraint this holiday season. Use at least 3 of the 4 tips listed above, and I’ll see you on the other side of the new year without the new jiggly belly.