Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
October 23, 2007    

Managing the holidays

Exercise fun

Healthy treats for fall

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Amy Culver

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Managing the holidays

Because it’s that time of year, my most recent newspaper article (click here to view) delves into that scary world of navigating the holidays without the usual 10 pound (or more) weight gain. 

While I was writing it, I was checking the calendar to see just how long we have until Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I found a site that offers a countdown of shopping days until Christmas: 

When I saw the number I felt a bit of panic rising inside.  I also got a bit facetious and sent the site off to a few of my friends just so they could share in the panic with me. 

I think it may have been the best thing I could have done.  Their replies had a profound effect on me. My favorite was: “Well aren't we full of good tidings and joy” – I'm still laughing about that one!

Here’s the thing – I did what we all do at this time of year.  I reached out to friends and received back some wonderful positive energy.  In that moment my whole focus changed.  I realized that YES, the holidays ARE coming, and what a wonderful thing that is.  My energy has been up, my mood has been great and I'm riding the wave.

So, what does this have to do with health, fitness and dodging the onslaught of temptation and goodies?  Well, I'll tell you.  It gives me something other than food to focus on.  One of the reasons we foodies tend to harbor fear this time of year is because of the heavy food focus.  But there are so many other things to think about; so many good, healthy, uplifting things to concentrate on and look forward to.  For example, I get to see our daughter in just a few weeks for the long weekend.  She and I are already talking about plans for the holidays.  It’s wonderful and uplifting in a way that food could never be. 

One other thing I get to do this time of year – SHOP!!!!!  I LOVE shopping.  I think I can truly say that I love shopping more than I love food.  Yes, it’s true.  I love it that much.  I love being out in the holiday crowd enjoying the holiday mood and just sucking up the energy.  I love it and always have.  I enjoy finding that perfect gift and getting so excited about it that I can hardly wait to give it to its recipient.  And I love my family.  Family focus is a huge part of my life.  I enjoy the time we spend together and the memories we make.  Every year is better than the last.

And there's one other thing that's just fantastic this time of year:  the crowds at the gym!  They've already started dropping.  All of us diehards get to take advantage of the low attendance and all of the available machines.  We practically have the place to ourselves and it’s great.  If you're thinking about starting a gym membership next year, consider starting up now so that you can take advantage of the low crowds before January.

These are a few examples of how I have been able to successfully change the focus of my holiday season from food to other, healthier things.  Consider these examples and other elements in your personal situation as you develop your plan for navigating the holiday food obstacle course.  Find things other than food that you can focus on and look forward to.

And yes, I do look forward to the special tasty treats, but when I think of all of the other “feel good” stuff in the air, they just begin to pale in comparison.  I am full of “Glad Tidings and Joy” and this year, that is what I plan to stuff myself full of.

LIGHT BULBExercise fun

Speaking of exercise and feeling good – my husband, Steven, and I recently purchased bicycles. 

The weather is so nice this time of year for outdoor activities in this part of the country.  We have been having SO MUCH FUN.  I can’t believe the uplift in mood and energy level we both have experienced.  I still go to the gym for structured exercise, but the bikes get us out in the sunshine and take us back to the fun of youth – remember when you did active things just for fun?  It’s also nice to have something we can do together. 

You can do this by taking walks as well.  You don’t have to stick to your own neighborhood.  Get in the car and take a short drive to somewhere you want to explore, park the car and get out and walk for awhile. 

Bicycling, walking, hiking, swimming, ice skating; there are many possibilities, even for those in colder climates.

Do it for fun, not because you HAVE to.  You just might find, like I have, that it becomes something that you really look forward to.  You'll also have the added benefit of doing something good for yourself.

Healthy treats for fall

Also, don't forget that with the change in seasons comes a change in the produce section. Yes we have to say goodbye to summer fruits, but fall brings its own treats. Click here for some suggestions to add to your shopping list.

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