The conversations about the dreaded holiday weight gain started back in mid October. In employee cafeterias as people ogled what their co-workers were putting into their mouths, outside of schools as parents were chit-chatting while waiting to pick the kids up, even around the family dinner table; everyone seems to be talking about how they are going to begin dieting now in an effort to lose a few pounds before the holidays just to counter the weight they are going to gain because of the impending holiday season. So now here we are, the week before Thanksgiving and like clock-work the conversation will shift to, “Oh my gosh! I can’t fit into last year’s party outfit. I suppose I will have to buy a new one and then just make another New Year’s resolution to get that weight off… even though I am still working on the weight I gained this time last year.” Sorry folks, but I never got that memo. Here’s is a novel idea, just pretend you didn’t get that memo either.
Don’t buy into the hype.
As a woman who has managed to maintain the same clothing size for the last 13 years I can tell you that there is no rule anywhere that states you must gain excessive weight because of the time of year. Nowhere is there any connection to the stretch of time between Halloween and New Year’s Day that has any real affect on our waistlines or our body fat percentage. Unless, of course you make conscious decisions to gorge yourself daily and opt to put off working out until after the first of the year. This is the number one mistake that people make which insures that they will become part of the “holiday weight gain statistic.”
Enjoy yourself, just don’t overindulge.
How hard is it to stop eating when you are full? There is nothing wrong with a decadent desert or meal that is not in alignment with what most would deem “low fat”, “low calorie”, “not heart healthy”. Truly, how times per holiday season is the average person subjected to situations where these items are on the menu? Thanksgiving is one day. There may be perhaps 5/6 additional instances in December depending on a body’s traditional observances. But that only brings the tally up to 6/7 meals. No one will gain 10 pounds of excessive body fat from a mere 6/7 meals that are spread out over the course of about 8 weeks especially if they remain physically active. Our metabolism just doesn’t function that way.
Stay in the gym. Stay active. Continue to make fitness a high priority.
Yes, the holidays present extra obligations for parents who are already over-burdened. How about this? Just keep fitness a high priority. Go to the gym, period. Stop using “holiday rushing around” as an excuse not to do something that is necessary for your physical and emotional well-being. 30 minutes doing a few circuits in the gym is better than skipping gym time altogether. Why not take this time to take that spin, yoga or zumba class that you’ve been interested in? Think of it like this: just because you don’t have time to have a full-on sit down meal that wouldn’t mean that you would skip eating altogether. Were that the case, the unwritten rule would be that Americans would all lose weight this time of year. So if you find yourself in the rare situation where you truly do not have an hour to be physically active, don’t skip physical activity altogether.
Nothing should ever take priority over your physical fitness. I don’t care how busy a person is, everyone can find one hour a day at least 4 days out of the week to get to the gym or walk, etc. Depending on where a person lives the weather actually presents cold-weather fitness opportunities like ice-skating, sledding, snow-shoveling, etc. If you have kids then you really have zero excuse not to put on your coat and gloves and enjoy cold-weather activities as a family.
You are in total control. You can decide which self-fulfilling prophecy you choose. In other words if you tell yourself that you are going to gain excessive weight this time of year, guess what? You will behave so that you accomplish this goal. You will find excuse after excuse to gorge yourself with excessive food and drink and you will tell yourself that you are too tired to play with the kids in the snow or spend an hour at the gym, etc. So tell yourself instead, “There’s no reason whatsoever for me to gain weight just because of the time of year. I don’t need to drink/eat to excess in order to enjoy a celebration and my health and fitness is a high priority regardless of what else is going on in my life.” I promise you, you will find the time to be active and stay active.
None of this is holiday magic. It’s just common fitness sense.