Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
December 23, 2007    

Merry Christmas

Holiday calories

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Merry Christmas from the Queen of Lean!

Well, we’re almost through the “Holiday Season.”  You've gotten through that gigantic Thanksgiving turkey dinner.  The shopping and wrapping are done (or nearly done).  Stress levels are starting to decrease and now is the time to relax and celebrate!  And you know what?  THIS is when I get tripped-up every year.  Typically, all of December is spent in a mad rush and I don’t focus as much on my food (and end up eating out a lot).  I don’t typically gain weight during that time though.  Why?  Because I'm moving, moving, moving.  And sometimes I think I literally stress off several calories throughout the month as well!  I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

But now is the time when we “Make Merry.”  After all, not even the Queen of Lean works out on Christmas Day! 

So, how have you managed so far this season?  Have you let things slide?  Have you been indulging and enjoying?  Did you let your exercise routine slip a little in order to cope with the hustle and bustle?  Okay, that happens.  Perhaps you've started thinking: “Well, I'm completely off-track now, I might as well just enjoy myself and get started after the New Year.”  If this is you, here is a suggestion:  how about taking a little time out for a daily walk?  You don’t need to go for a full hour at the gym.  Just bundle up and go for a nice half-hour walk with a friend or family member.  Drag a visiting relative along and have a nice chat.  Even if you go alone, it’s a perfect time to take a deep breath, relax and reflect. 

Also, please keep in mind that just because you drank four glasses of Egg Nog yesterday (and blew your diet) doesn't mean that those six Gingerbread Cookies aren't going to count just as much as ever.  It ALL adds up.  Enjoy yourself, but make sure those calories are worth it.  I eat this time of year too but I just don’t bother with anything that isn't going to give me more joy going in than frustration getting it back off! 

I always eat slow and take the time to taste it all.  There’s a lot of really yummy stuff around so go slow, enjoy it and make it count.  You can take some time to think about what you might do after the New Year to get back on plan.  Are you going to start attending meetings somewhere?  Are you going to get together with a buddy and get a regular gym time going?  Whatever you think you might do, spend at least a little time considering it.  If you are planning to join a gym and want to wait until January to actually sign up, maybe you could do some shopping around.  It’s nice and quiet and there will be plenty of people available to answer any questions that you have. 

Perhaps you've managed to stick to your food and exercise plan up to now?  In the past, this is when I have typically ended up going off-plan for a week or so.  I would often “crash” right after Christmas and end up eating a lot of carb-load comfort food.  My body has this very nasty habit of not reflecting calories on the scale for one or two weeks.  So, I have all the fun I want, see the scale staying the same and decide to have more fun  Well, about the second week in January payback starts rolling in.  And rolling in.  And rolling in.  Yikes!  By the end of January, I'm wondering if I'm EVER going to be able to wear my favorite jeans again. 

So, I've learned from that experience.  I'm just not interested in payback this year, I’d rather have my jeans.  After all, the older I get the harder it is to get it all back off.  Last year I allowed myself quite a bit of indulgence and I paid dearly for it for several months.  I made sure to remember that this year.  Maybe next year I'll indulge a little more.  It'll all be there again.  Besides, I'm enjoying having my daughter home and spending time with my family.  As far as I'm concerned that’s more Merry than any marshmallow fudge could ever be!  So, if you've managed to keep fairly well on track to this point, don’t stray now.  Hang on, enjoy a little and try to keep a focus on the very Merry and happy non-food treats around.

And, please, no matter which situation you find yourself in, please have a Wonderful Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

LIGHT BULBHoliday calories

By the way, if you are interested in keeping track of your holiday calories, keep this in mind:  most homemade stuff tastes better because it’s got so much more of the yummy stuff in it (sugar, butter, etc.).  That means that whatever you think the calorie count might be, you’d better double it.  Then take a walk!

Be sure it’s worth it.  After you do the calorie estimate, remember it takes about half an hour on the treadmill to burn 100 calories.  Now, is it still worth it?  Remember, even if it didn't taste that good the calories still count!  Yeah, I know, life’s unfair, but it works better if you know the rules.

Unless you have a special relationship with Egg Nog, I suggest getting your holiday calories from food, not beverages.  If you want alcohol, go for light beer or use diet soda for your mixer.  And if you do decide to imbibe, ask a trusted loved one to help keep you clear of the snack table once you get to feeling tipsy and less concerned about watching calories.  I know I can always depend on my husband for this.  I just let him know my intent ahead of time and he’s very good about gently reminding me not to overdo it.

For more thoughts on this, check out my latest article.

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