The holidays: Christmas, New Year’s, Kwanza, Boxing Day or even Hanukkah for those of you who already celebrated is a time filled with family, friends and FOOD. Let’s get that straight; it’s food, food, and more food. In my opinion it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean food is supposed to be enjoyed, tasted, and it’s 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 won’t 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 didn’t 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 Year’s. An overweight person is likely to gain up to five pounds over that period of time. It’s 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 I’m 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 you’re 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. Don’t eat like you’re at the family holiday party every day in December! There’s a place and a time for indulging and it’s not every day. Eat healthy foods with healthy sized portions every day except during those special holiday MEALS. Meals not days.
- 3. Ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” For me, a fruity light tasting pastry is not worth bending my food rules. A rich, decadent chocolate dessert on the other hand….well, certainly you get my picture!
You CAN Enjoy YourselfI 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 you’re 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 them…well, you should probably go for a run or walk rather than following your instinct. Indulge when it’s worth it, when it’s a one time thing and remember to EXERCISE!!! Happy Holidays!