It’s official the holidays are here. It’s great to celebrate the holiday season with family, friends and co-workers. But as we all know, too much celebration can bring with it some not-so-joyous post-holiday consequences….undesirable weight gain. Ugh!
For those of us that need to think about our weight – and that would be all-of-us, minus one or two metabolic super-humans – weight gain during the holidays is a legitimate concern. In fact, it is goes beyond concern. This is something you can justifiably fear. It is one of those rare cases where the only thing to fear isn’t just fear itself, as FDR would say. You actually need to fear those hard-to-lose extra pounds glomming onto your stomach and hips.
So, what can you do to minimize the danger and safely navigate your way to New Year’s Day?
Start by noticing how many days during the holiday season are actual celebration days. This year, there are 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Coincidentally, in the Old and New Testament the number 40 often symbolizes a period of testing, trial and probation. I will let you draw your own conclusions about that. What you need to know right now is how are you going to manage this 40-day trial of fat, sugar, starchy carbohydrates and alcohol without gaining weight.
Step one, let’s survey the terrain and notice where the real danger lies. There is one day for Thanksgiving, plus a day or two for leftovers. Christmas is two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Chanukah is 8 days, but that is 8 days of candle lighting, not 8 days of potato latkes and chocolate Chanukah gelt (chocolate coins). For some of you there will also be a variety of additional holiday parties, separate from the main holidays. Even if we say there are 10 celebration days in total with the most tempting food choices imaginable, that leaves 30 days to grab a hold of yourself and be conscious about making healthy choices. Admittedly, 30:10 is not a great ratio from a weight loss perspective. However, it is manageable if you take those 30 days seriously and consciously try to balance it out with the 10 days of celebration.
Step two is exercise. While exercise alone isn’t going to burn off the fat or compensate for eating excessive calories, it still matters. When we exercise, we keep our metabolism running at its optimal level and we also remind ourselves about how good it feels when we take care of our body. This makes exercise a great way to help you stick with your 30 days of “this is serious and I mean it” healthy eating choices.
Step three is to weigh yourself frequently. It could be every day or every other day, but this is not a time to avoid the scale, even though you are tempted. Let’s face it, the truth can hurt. It hurts me too, but it’s better to face it right away and take proper action during the 30 days than wait for January 2 or later. The more proactive you are during these 40 days, the better you will feel on January 2.
Step four is having a strategy for holiday parties. You can’t just walk in there without a plan and think it will all turn out okay. It won’t. Decide before you walk in the door how much you will eat. You may decide to eat before you go, so that you aren’t that hungry and have more control. Or you may decide to eat less earlier in the day so you can be more generous with yourself at the party. Either way, once you finish eating, put something in your hands so that you don’t absentmindedly reach for more food. You can hold a drink in one hand and a napkin, pen or purse in the other. Keeping your hands occupied will help remind you to stay conscious and stop eating. Remember, you had enough and it is time to stop.
Step five is, in the event that all else fails, don’t despair. Holiday weight gain can happen to the best of us and there is a solution. On January 29, 2018, I will be leading my annual online 7-day Sugar Detox Cleanse. This is a great time to do a hard reset and recalibrate. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, this program is an amazing opportunity to boost your energy, improve your sleep and uplevel your health. To be honest, I can’t wait to do it myself and I hope you will join me. So mark your calendars for the Sugar Detox Cleanse and in the meantime, it’s the holidays, have fun!!