The Holidays are wonderful: family, friends, feasts, gifts, and get togethers! It’s hard to get an exact number, but the average American probably gains 5 pounds during this season. Losing 5+ pounds is much harder than it sounds, and if you have a tough year this may be all you can muster… in other words, maintaining your weight over the holidays this year determines your net change next year.
3 Holiday Survival Strategies
Keep your head out of the sand: weigh yourself regularly, or, at least, keep your tight pants in the rotation. It’s much easier to lose 3 pounds than 15, but if you’ve only gained 3 you don’t necessarily know this without the aid of the scale or your tight pants. Use some kind of an app (such as the True 180 app on Apple or Google Play) to log it so you can see trends.
Positive power of negativity: It’s trendy to tell people to “never feel guilty or bad about anything,” but that’s how sociopaths live (and why do we read books by sociopaths telling us how to live?!?). When you feel bad about eating the leftover Halloween candy in your house your emotions are trying to help you. Don’t rationalize or excuse your feelings. Don’t suppress them. Put your anxiety, guilt or remorse to work by throwing that shit out. Adults let their negative emotions reveal potential threats, or breaches of integrity so they can address them. The more you run from your feelings the more you’ll want to numb them.
Rocket science: on Facebook I saw an amazing piece of research on something new and exciting. The authors called it “exercise” and they said it was good for you. (Reading my sarcasm I see that we do get cranky with age.) Exercise combats stress, strengthens your immune system, and so much more.
On the topic of weight exercise – hard exercise done for long enough and often enough – also gives you margins. Cookies are my #2 reason to exercise. Yes, you need to exercise a lot more than you’d like to have decent margins, but the pain and sacrifice of making that time is better than high blood pressure, diabetes*, impotence, etc… now that I’ve mentioned age and impotence, perhaps cookies get moved to #3, but you get the point. Find a personal trainer, friend, spouse, or co-worker to join you!
Besides the strategies above there’s lots more common sense and logic that will serve you well including If it’s in your house it’s in your mouth, eating less before holiday meals, getting your steps in (maybe with a vest?) and enjoy holidays on the holiday.
It’s not easy, and the world seems to make weight management harder every year, but you and your family are absolutely worth it. You can’t go back in time and make a parent take care of themselves, but you can learn from the painful and stressful warnings you see every day.
Here’s to a wonderful and healthy upcoming holiday season!
*When we say diabetes here we are referring to type 2 diabetes, not type 1. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, and, sadly, we know nothing about how to prevent it, and it is currently only manageable, but not reversible.
Type 2 diabetes is entirely different, and thanks to the research of Dr. Roy Taylor we know that it is driven by excess fat accumulation – first in your liver, and then in your pancreas. The excess fat deposits in your pancreas are what interfere with it’s ability to make enough insulin, and diabetes follows. (Your pancreas doesn’t “wear out” from working too hard as is often repeated. No part of our body gets worse or less capable with use. We grow stronger and more capable from stress not less, despite what you see online.)
In type 1 diabetes your immune system attacks the insulin producing portion of your pancreas (islets of langerhans), and diabetes follows.
People with type 2 diabetes can usually reverse the disease by losing enough body fat. People with type 1 do not have any such way to reverse their pancreas’s ability to produce insulin.