Tag Archives: holiday

Holiday Food Lag

1 Dec
All this and more over the next few weeks...

All this and more over the next few weeks…

Courtesy of Tumblr

Like many people, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving holiday. I ate dinner with my 91-year-old grandfather and 84-year-old grandmother, I baked seven pies and a cobbler (plus a caramel cake), I put away at least a half-pound of the 39 pounds of turkey (three birds) and I got to hang out with my family, most of whom I haven’t seen in a year.

For many, Thanksgiving is just pre-gaming for the Big Show: Christmas. That’s when the real gluttonous activity happens. For me, Christmas is much quieter. For one thing: I have to work that day. For another: I usually spend that evening having dinner at my cousin’s house. It’s all very low-key, especially without the dozens of desserts, so there’s less temptation to shirk my dietary responsibilities.

I like to call it the Holiday Food Lag. It starts with the sugar-and-salt fest of Thanksgiving and ends with the sugar-and-salt fest: part 2 of Christmas. In the middle, there will be end-of-year office parties, friends’ holiday parties, extra cookies, lots of liquor and many a chicken satay coming your way. You’ll be tempted to give up the exercise and dietary plans because what’s the point? Someone’s going to be shoving more sugar-and-salt in your face in a couple days.

It’s easy to see the Holiday Food Lag as a way to just take a month off. There’s so much to do in those four weeks, it can be burdensome to add one more thing to the to-do list. Still, you have to make yourself your No. 1 priority.

Before I began my weight-loss journey, I was still living in Atlanta, where the Chick-fil-As and Waffle Houses were aplenty. Barbecue as far as the eye can see. Publix sandwiches at the ready. And, my personal favorite, a Wendy’s around the corner. Plus, my grandmother cooked big dinners every Sunday. It wasn’t unhealthy, but when Gram makes your favorite of cabbage with a side of macaroni and cheese, you don’t say no to second helpings (sounds gross, but that’s because you’ve never had Gram’s cabbage with a side of macaroni and cheese). I would cook occasionally, but most of the time I just didn’t feel like it.

Then the holidays would come (all holidays: Easter, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July, etc.), plus the dozen birthdays throughout the year, and you’ve got plenty of excuses to “get back on track come Monday.” As I’ve said before, there’s no time like the present. These few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are no exception.

Well, this is the time to test your resistance. Can you forgo the third round of champagne? Can you say no the the eighth batch of Christmas cookies brought into the office? Can you get up early to work out to counter all the sliders that will be wafted in front of you that evening? Of course you can. You’re a strong-willed person who knows what’s good for them. And you can even start your resistance training early.

All those desserts from last Thursday are going to go bad if they’re not eaten soon, so take them to work. Freeze some of that turkey to use in a soup for later. If you’re celebrating Christmas, burn some calories by setting up your Christmas decorations. If you plan on spending New Year’s at the beach, now’s the time to make sure your bathing suit still fits. And if you told yourself “I’ll get back on track come Monday,” guess what? It’s Monday.

You’ll be doing the most this season, from shoveling out of blockades of snow to elbowing someone in the face for the latest toy craze. Just don’t neglect yourself and your health in the process.

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Post-Thanksgiving Workout

29 Nov

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Getting my hike on this day after Thanksgiving.

How to Stave off the Jigggle on Turkey Day

28 Nov

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Vacation is a time to take a break from the norm. You need to decompress from all of the work you’ve done. But how can you do it without backsliding into really bad habits?

Welcome to holiday season, where backsliding into all of your gluttonous desires is not only expected, but sometimes encouraged.

Who hasn’t heard from a cousin, “Oh, you look so good! You can eat that giant piece of cake. I can’t.” Or heard your uncle say, “Here, eat some of these yams drenched in butter and brown sugar. You’ve lost too much weight.”

I’ve fallen victim to holiday peer pressure just like everyone else. I’m visiting my family in Atlanta for Thanksgiving where this year’s head count is topping 30 people (a lot, but not unexpected for this brood). Majority of these people can cook, including yours truly, who is in charge of a coconut cake, pumpkin marble cheesecake, banana pudding and a roasted chicken. I understand this isn’t part of my usual low-fat, low-cal regimen, but it’s the holidays, dammit.

During the summer, it was all smoothies and salads. The food was cool and refreshing. This time of year, the food is warm and comforting. That word “comforting” brings to mind big fluffy blankets and hot chocolate. But getting too comfortable can be dangerous. Just ask your thighs.

It’s not like I eat like this all year, so I allow myself a few little indulgences. A little slice of pumpkin marble cheesecake here, some of Gram’s peach pie made especially for me there.

The key to balancing all of this is not forgetting what you’ve learned so far. I will eat my turkey and fixin’s (it’s the South), but I’ll also go for a walk afterward. I’ll do as my grandmother does and have a little taste of all the pastries, but I remembered to pack my gym clothes, as well.

If you’ve got the chance, offer a low-fat contribution to the meal. Those greens can be made with smoked turkey and taste just as good. Sweet potatoes are by definition sweet on their own. They don’t need a a pound of brown sugar and butter. Roast some Brussels sprouts or sauté some string beans. And, for God’s sake, don’t drown your food in gravy!

Remember that weight loss takes discipline and hard work. Vacation and the holidays are what we need to give ourselves respite from all of that. Incorporating your new life into your holiday life is the best way to keep it balanced without resorting to your fat-girl pants at the dinner table.

How are you balancing your turkey day?