Unpacking for the Holidays
It is that time of the year when two things start to happen that make your head spin, and no I am not talking about the Black Friday sales or how Congress will reduce the deficit. I’m talking about the food industry’s most successful months where consumers go big, go home, then go big again and the simultaneous internal backlash that comes about in our “resolutions.”
As Americans we have a proud tradition of eating for those who don’t have enough during the Holiday Season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day). Some of us have control and can withstand the draw of copious volumes of eggnog, the velvety bite of pumpkin pie, and the waddle-creating draw of leftover turkey (which has been known to sit in our freezer and continue to feed us for months). I have a hard time in these days of gluttony myself. It seems unpatriotic and downright ungrateful to neglect treats brought in by coworkers and family. They went through all that trouble! And besides, what would happen to the economy if the sugar producers and milk-fat farmers had less than stellar months? I hate to think of it.
However, we nonetheless have to reconcile our traditional ways with holiday feeding and the fact that every year we are likely reducing our life-expectancy by adding pounds that we won’t successfully shed because, let’s face it, we still fit into the same pants. But it slowly adds up and the next thing you know the compounding effects of age continued decreased activity catch up with our holiday meals. Then we’re faced with the ugly truth that we need a new wardrobe and not just because the fashions this season are so exciting.
You need to take action, wherever you can. Be vigilant. Create a plan of attack and be on the offensive this Holiday Season. Use a calorie tracking tool such as Livestrong.com’s MyPlate, SparkPeople, Fitday.com, or MyFitnessPal.com. There are dozens of these sites, you should look around and find the one that feels best for you. Some are really social (you can invite friends and track together). Some offer more workout-based articles. And each has their own database of foods. If you eat packaged foods (anything with a label) try entering some of your favorites and see if they appear. And some allow for custom menus or food entries that you might make on a regular basis - do you have the same thing for breakfast every day?
Use these tools to find approximately how many calories you should be taking in daily. All numbers are generalized estimates unless you undergo a calorimeter and VO2Max test at a sports medicine clinic to get your true basal metabolic rate. So treat these numbers as a vague translation of Gospel, not really the exact Word but enough for you to get the gist.
Once you have this goal, plan your meals, enter what you’ll likely eat at festivities and gatherings and understand how much really is too much. You will be amazed by 1) the caloric cost what you might typically eat and 2) how little it will take to hit that somewhat magic number. And remember that hitting that number and maintaining your current activity level means that you shouldn’t add weight. However, excess stress, illness, sleep problems, or poorly metabolized foods (the high processed sugars, flours and saturated fats) mean that you should likely cutback even more. That’s calorie neutral.
And you will want to be vigilant. This is a time-consuming task but if you need/want to lose weight you will never really know how best to approach it unless you take control of your intake. You don’t have to become a calorie counter, let the software do that for you, but you do have to become aware of what you eat and how you can modify for your mental and physical health.
Once you’ve started this process get help! Make agreements with friends, family, and coworkers to support your goals. If you try to do it alone you will almost certainly fail. That’s just a fact. The more support you can garner the easier any challenge will be. When you need additional support and help to get moving properly, safely, and effectively then give me a call or shoot me an email. I can help you plan your attack, keep you accountable, and get you moving effectively and efficiently. The best gift you can give to yourself is wellness that includes fitness programming, nutritional feedback and external accountability.
Ask for the “Holiday Special” and get:
- 1/2-off your first package
- Three additional training sessions for your already discounted package deal
My favorite is the 20-session deal which includes a free massage on top of the consultation, fitness assessment, and programming. Take your fitness with you wherever you want to go or let me come to you. That is over 25 hours of my service to you for only $750. You could spread that out over 6 months and it would be only $125 a month!
Best of luck this Holiday season. Stay sane, stay in control, and forgive yourself if you fall every now and then. Be well.
Now tell me, what do you plan to eat?