“Well, it’s almost Halloween, and that means bring on the Holiday weight gain!”
Especially in colder climates like Wisconsin, it is almost an expected occurrence that we must give up our efforts and give in to the weight gain blunders of the holiday and cold season.
Come January 1, we then seek out the latest a greatest cleanse, diet, and sweatiest workout program to “jumpstart” the “New Year to a New You!”
Sound familiar? I can’t fault the gyms for offering this – it’s a no brainer business move.
However, it shouldn’t be a no-brainer personal move.
Why do we essentially abandon our goals, throw in the towel, and give in to the white walkers of winters fat gain? Winter IS coming, but the fat doesn’t have to come with.
The “Winter/Holiday Season” is roughly from Halloween to New Years (60ish days) – or if you want to count all of winter, it is anywhere between 60 and 120+ days.
Within that first window of winter holidays, there are really only 3-4 holidays that are celebrated (depending on religion) – thus leaving 56ish non holiday days.
So why use those 3-4 days of celebration to justify a full 2 months of possible gluttony? That would be 6% of the days…6% should not lead to fat gain.
We can go even further into the “end of Winter” (somewhere around March/April if you live where I live) and this would be even more ridiculous. Lets say 150 days of “winter” (I hope not), within those days are 4-5 holidays, and maybe a birthday (hint hint). That is 6/150 days or 4% of the days for celebration/holiday excuses.
I would be very impressed if someone were to gain 10+ pounds because of 4-6% of their choices…
Bottom line is: the justification of Holidays/Winter being a time to a typical weight gain is poor at best.
So what can we do to prevent this?
1) Winter and the Holidays come EVERY YEAR. Have a plan!
“I usually run outside in the summer, but not in the winter.” Is one of the poorest excuses I have heard. This happens every single year, and you haven’t figured it out?
Have a plan for how you can match your physical activity from summer into fall and into winter.
This may be harder for some of my recreational/competitive golfers who walk 18 holes 2+ times per week. Even then, you MUST come up with a way to match your activity – extra walking on sunny days, just bundle up.
Most gyms offer big time discounts on memberships around this time of year because they know people will sign up. You can sign up, and establish a plan to take the place of whatever you do outside in the summer. It doesn’t have to be exactly what you do outside, but you will want to do something.
A less popular option would be to just eat less to counter act less activity, but I don’t think most people would be a fan of that – especially if you already have thing dialed in, or are working on some new habits.
2) Be Aware Around Holidays
With a little extra time and planning, you can play “damage control” around your holidays.
Yes, the habit based coach in me would say, “just listen to your hunger and fullness, eat slowly, and beware of your portions”
The REALIST in me says, “Eff that, it’s Thanksgiving!”
However, by simply being aware of upcoming holidays and food choices, you CAN minimize the damage done. Maybe the week leading up to a holiday you cut out one snack from your day. This could be enough to create an extra 1000+ calorie deficit come said holiday.
Now this shouldn’t be a free pass to go crazy, but it may give you some more peace of mind at that meal.
The one principle you should really focus on is your fullness. Think about it. Do you really feel good after stuffing your face with so much food that you have to loosen your belt, or change into sweat pants, and then just want to pass out from a food coma?
Here is an idea: you can still enjoy all of your favorite holiday foods, but just take ONE less bite of each than you want to. You may find that you are still satisfied, but not bursting at the seams. Now you are able to enjoy the rest of the day with family, maybe go for a walk, play some games, etc.
3) Just Stop With Excuses
The more and more we say and think certain excuses out loud or in our heads, the more and more we start to believe them.
It is just a day, just a month, just a season – why do we let it have so much power over our health and goals?
One of my favorite sayings is – “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have the time’ – try saying ‘it’s not a priority of mine’ – and see how that feels”
If you have serious goals, why let the holiday season stop you?
Write out your goals, manage around the holidays, and come up with a game plan for every single week. It’s not as hard as people think.
Stop giving winter so much power and credit. Only you control what you do daily, what you put in your mouth, and what you choose to do with free time.
Make this holiday season your best one yet. If your goals are fat loss, prove the norm wrong – lose weight over winter – I promise it’s no different from any other season.
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Stay healthy my friends,