Let me start off by saying that this post will not scare you into starving yourself over the next weeks for fear of gaining copious amounts of weight. My intention in writing this post today is also to not make you feel defeated thus making you feel like you can eat whatever you want because youíll gain weight anyways. I want to put this time of year into perspective for us all (myself included).
The holidays: Christmas, New Yearís, Kwanza, Boxing Day or even Hanukkah for those of you who already celebrated is a time filled with family, friends and FOOD. Letís get that straight; itís food, food, and more food. In my opinion itís not necessarily a bad thing. I mean food is supposed to be enjoyed, tasted, and itís one of the few times we actually stop and sit down for something. (At least if your mother taught you manners then you most likely wonít be bringing your Smartphone to the Christmas dinner table.)
Why then are we so afraid of holiday poundage? I know I used to believe that I was just going to gain weight during the holidays so there was no sense in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. (And who are we kidding? I didnít have a healthy lifestyle until this past July.) According to an article CNN did back in 2011, the average person only gains between one to two pounds from Thanksgiving to New Yearís. An overweight person is likely to gain up to five pounds over that period of time. Itís the long term that matters when you look at it though. I know that from the age of 20 and on every year during the holidays I gained those two pounds. Honestly, they rarely came off; rather they piled on top of the other pounds I was carrying around. It was a never ending cycle.
What can you do then? Here are a few things Iím doing to ensure that I maintain my current weight, even fluctuating between one to two pounds:
- 1. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! I cannot say it enough. If you want to engorge yourself on a particular day work it off the days lead up to it and the morning of! On Thanksgiving Day I decided to run a 12k. It was the first time I had run that length and I was probably crazy for doing so without preparing ahead of time. It was interesting what that run did for my taste buds and appetite; I only wanted to enjoy what really looked good. Now, if youíre like me and you really lack self control getting a long run in on the morning of a big holiday is a great idea for that reason. Calories in and calories out!
- 2. Donít eat like youíre at the family holiday party every day in December! Thereís a place and a time for indulging and itís not every day. Eat healthy foods with healthy sized portions every day except during those special holiday MEALS. Meals not days.
- 3. Ask yourself, ďIs it worth it?Ē For me, a fruity light tasting pastry is not worth bending my food rules. A rich, decadent chocolate dessert on the other handÖ.well, certainly you get my picture!
You CAN Enjoy Yourself
I mainly want for you to enjoy yourself these next few weeks. Be realistic about the time of year, the stress you may be feeling or the anxiety you might experience because of that difficult family member youíre dreading to see. If you have a mini blow-up with your significant other and your first reaction is to grab the chocolate chips in the freezer and inhale themÖwell, you should probably go for a run or walk rather than following your instinct. Indulge when itís worth it, when itís a one time thing and remember to EXERCISE!!! Happy Holidays!