I bet you didn't realize there is a holiday 10 pound gain, did you? Take a look at family photos over the past 5-10 years. Maybe you notice how big Uncle Bob has grown or how fat and dimply Aunt Betty's arms have gotten. Why do they wear short sleeves when everyone wears sweaters? Uncle Bob looks like he should wear a bra and Aunt Betty needs a razor for Christmas! UGH! What about you? Have you grown "bigger" over the years in family pics? Americans feast almost non-stop from Halloween to New Year's Day. That's almost three months' worth of overeating! Let me break some things down for you and offer some solutions.
If you think about the meals at Thanksgiving, there isn't much green served unless Grandma made a green jello dessert. Think through the food offerings. They are usually carbs, fats and sugar or salt. Right? Even the turkey isn't simple anymore. Either people are brining or deep frying them; some are wrapping them in bacon, for Pete's sake! Where are the veggies? Somewhere in all the saucy goo, you might find some canned green beans. The reasons are: 1) everyone has their holiday favorite to bring or eat, and 2) it's all comfort food.
- Workout well the day before, like cardio and weights or a HIIT class.
- Eating lightly at meals the day before.
- Eat healthy BEFORE you go, nibbling only a small bit of what's offered.
- Stay AWAY from the serving area after you go through the line. DON'T GO BACK!
- Take fresh fruits and veggies, but go sparingly with the dipping sauces.
- Host the next time while making the main part of the meal; ask guests to bring side dishes and desserts.
- Reduce the number of places you go or ask if the gatherings can be consolidated into only one or two places.
- Go walk after the meal.
- Go workout well the next day with a good cardio session and weights or a good bootcamp class.
- Eat lightly for the next two days at meals.
Christmas is around the corner. Is it really any different than Thanksgiving? Usually not. In fact, it really is a diabetics' nightmare! There are more sweets like candy and cookies for this holiday.
Here is what you can do to avoid the Christmas gain:
- Keep doing a regular workout through the holidays. Be patient at the gym because there are others like you trying to keep off the pounds.
- Take a fruit and nut tray to the host and/or hostess as a gift. Most will put it out for everyone to share. If you want it out to share, not knowing the outcome of the gift, take it as your offering to share.
- Stay away from cookie exchanges! Those will certainly get you into trouble.
- If people give you sweet treats, share them around. Take only a little bit for yourself if you really want some.
- Put the goodies in the freezer. If you really want one or two, you will have to thaw it out. Don't chip a tooth on the frozen treat!
- Pare down the gatherings. Christmas parties are huge, so maybe you only go to one then to family. If you need to go to more than one because of work, go later or leave earlier.
- Skip the egg nog. Alcohol is 9 calories per gram. Most alcoholic drinks are at least 120 calories per serving! It's as bad or worse than drinking sugary soda pop! You can also drive yourself home safely this way.
- Taking fresh fruits and vegetables to share will likely make someone with food allergies or other issues who will be very happy with you! It's not just about us.
- Wear the form fitting clothes or the smaller size that fits at the beginning of the holiday celebrations. If you feel your waist expanding, STOP EATING THE JUNK! You should never have to loosen your belt.
In the Bible, feasts were held at certain times of the year for specific reasons. The feast lasted as long as the food held out. Then everyone went back to normal. Normal meant they ate sparingly because they had to hunt it, grow it, or make it. Usually all three. If the hunt went poorly or the crops were awful, there wasn't much for meals. No high-tech hunting gear or Pinterest garden tips back then!
Some final thoughts for you on this three month long feast:
- If you don't want to take on some traits from the opposite gender, watch what you eat. Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob are taking on traits from the opposite gender (provided they aren't trying to change gender) because the foods they are eating produce hormones. Aunt Betty probably loves foods with animal fats which give off a male hormone effect. Uncle Bob is probably chowing down on the carbs, fat, and sugar loaded casseroles and desserts which give off a female hormone effect. Don't eat like them. It will mess with your body.
- People who are struggling to keep from having high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol bump themselves over that hump. They are susceptible to taking meds to counteract the damage they've caused themselves. Eat right for yourself and your family. You shouldn't have to go on meds for these issues, unless there is a distinct hereditary factor which is uncommon.
- Take time to consider a strategy to avoid eating badly then write it down. Put that strategy into your phone or on paper in your pocket. Check it when you are at gatherings. An ounce or two of planning will help you avoid pounds of problems.
- Avoid cancers by eating healthy. Most foods at the holidays are highly processed, meaning they will cause inflammation throughout your body.
- Find holiday runs or other physical events to support worthy causes. You can work off the food you ate easily and give at the same time!
- The holidays aren't about the food, it's about the reason for the holiday, relationships, and memories.
Enjoy your holiday festivities without the guilt. Honor God, your family, and yourself with reasonable holiday solutions. May God bless you!