Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Dear Fun and Fit:
Each Christmas I seem to gain a few pounds. People call me jolly, but I think they’re being nice to my face because they want something from me. In truth, I am verging on rotund and starting to weigh down my sleigh. How can I keep from gaining weight this year and surprise the the Missus when she welcomes me home after a hard day’s night work?
Ho ho ho and how how how? Santa Claus, North Pole
Alexandra: Dear Santa baby: Most people (yes, I mean You, SC and our readers!) make resolutions, vows, promises and pinky swears about all the food they’re going to avoid, followed by all the walks they’re going to take. When this doesn’t happen 100%, guess what? Y’all berate yourselves. Now how is feeling bad about your so-called “failure” going to make you feel all warm and glowy about being fit and healthy?
So…here is my take on how to successfully help yourself over the holidays:
1. When the big holiday spread is laid out, look it over before putting any food on your plate. Decide which things you really love and just KNOW you’ll have seconds of. If it’s that sweet potato with marshmallows concoction, may I just say “Ewwwwww?” Then choose what you like fairly well, but can live with having just a single helping. For that food, take 1 less spoonful than you took last year. Then all you’re left with is the food that you HAVE to try because Favorite Auntie Elf made it “special” and you’ll hurt her feelings. For that stuff, just take a teaspoonful (or none, if you can get away with it) and move it around the plate a bit! Even if the stuff you picked for seconds is junk, at least you’re taking in fewer calories overall and it is just ONE DAY out of 365. Notice I am not recommending eating junk on a regular basis. Bad advice. Bad. Bad.
Kymberly: What??!! I LOVE yams and sweet potatoes. I am taking your spoonful Alexandra if you keep up that baditude. May I also have your cranberry sauce?
A: Have at it! For my second tip:
2. On the days that aren’t a food-laden holiday, but might be more of a stress, busy, leading-up-to more stress and lots of chores kind of day, there are still ways to help yourself. If you’re going shopping, (do your elves really make all those gifts by hand? I think not!) take each purchase to the car, then go back to the next shop, rather than holding on to all the bags. That little bit of extra walking counts as exercise! And as you walk to the car, do a little bicep curl holding those bags. Dorky? Maybe. But having toned arms is pretty cool. I am not advocating buying more stuff just to have more to pump, although…..
K: Hmm, dorky and fit, or cool and unfit? I pick door number one.
A: Dorks rule!
3. I hate the word self-control. Why? Because it sounds like a panty hose ad. I prefer to say “self-choice.” This is a hectic time of year and it’s not easy or fun to prepare healthful meals all the time. But you can only eat what you bring into the house, right? So whether you grab something “to-go” or do a quick and easy meal prep, decide before you buy. For example, if you know you’ll be out late shopping, pick out the night’s dinner before you head out. It’s so much easier to make good choices before you’re grumpy and tired (yeah, I’ve done mall shopping with kids).
4. Consider making yourself a mental scale.
K: Note, she said “mental” scale. Don’t go stepping on any weight scales. They do not reveal anything about your fitness level or whether you look good in red.
A: True enough. When you start to get too busy or tired to take your walk (or whatever your preferred type of exercise is), ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10 (1 being low and 10 being high), how badly do I want to give up the exercise?” Then ask yourself how you’ll feel afterward if you do the exercise. For example, “I want to make sure the Santa Sofa doesn’t get lonely” ranks a 7 because you really are tired, versus “I’ll feel like a 10 after I exercise.” Then it’s easier to make a conscious, deliberate choice because you’ve ranked your priorities.
K: So I shouldn’t leave out the cookies this year? Just the carrots? Will I still get great gifts?