Surviving the Holidays
Five tips to get you through the holiday season
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Well, the weather outside
is frightful, and that cake looks so delightful. . . Here we go again; the
season of the never-ending party is upon us. Starting this week, most of us
will be faced with a gauntlet of temptation that won't let up until the Super
Bowl clock reads 0:00a date that seems to extend the official holiday
season further and further each year. Now everyone deserves a break or an
off-season, when you don't have to count calories, stay on a program, or even
consider the foods you eat. But now we're talking two months, more or
lessplenty of time to see all those hard-earned results go so far south
that hearing the name "Debbie Siebers" may cause déjà vu.
But what can you do? You
deserve a holiday. Not only that, your family is demanding you take one. Here
are a few tips to help you survive until next year with your "after" photo
waistline still intact.
- Plan a spring
athletic event. Don't wait until after the new year. Find something you've
wanted to do and plan it right now. Web sites such as active.com list local
events well in advance. Or head into your local gym or sporting goods store and
pick up all of those free event listings. This could be a marathon, triathlon,
backpacking trip, or even a cruise. Anything that plants a seed in your brain
that you're going to have to be fit in the not-so-distant future should do the
- Design your
program, starting now. Even though you'll want to kick your training up a
notch (with everyone else) after January 1st, you can still plan your program
right now. All training programseven for a cruiseare most efficient if they
follow various periods of altering intensity. So perhaps the holiday season
will be your recovery, rest, foundation, base, or some other type of "easy"
training phase where strict attention isn't needed. This is okay because it
will still be a training phase in your program when you're supposed to
do something. Even if your daily workout revolves around stretching or
low-intensity jogging, walking, riding, etc., it's still 100% better than doing
nothing at all. And it will keep your mind set in the right direction. You may
feel like you're being lazy, but it's planned recovery, not laziness, which
just sounds better, right?
- Give rather
than receive. Remember, it's supposedly better to give than receive.
Let's test this theory. Instead of just eating, be the one doing the cooking.
Offer to set the table, do the dishes, plan the partyanything that keeps you
proactive and busy. If you're busy, you don't have time to sit around eating
and drinking because your job is to make sure everyone else is doing that.
- Fill up on
saladskip the gravy and other high-density foods. At holiday meals
there's usually a lot to choose from. Try and make low-density choices. By this
I mean foods that take up a lot of space and don't weigh a lot. Salads, and all
veggies, are a good example. An entire salad bowl filled with veggies has less
than 100 calories. Gravy is a counter examplethat same bowl would have more
calories than you need in a week. Low-density foods typically have a lot of
fiber. This takes up stomach space. So eating a lot of low-density food early
in the meal will help you get full faster and eat less later, like when dessert
- Provide a lot
of conversation. Both talk and listen and add to what's being said around
the table (room, venue). Even if your in-laws are the most boring people in the
world, do your best to engage yourself in the conversation. The more engaged
you are, the less you're likely to eat. Plus, you'll win all sorts of kudos for
politeness. Plus-plus, the more you divert your attention from food, the longer
you'll be giving your brain to catch up with your body and signal it's full.
Most overeating is done during the period when your body still thinks it's
hungry but hasn't yet received the 'stop' signal from your brain.