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How to Harangue the Holiday Heaviness

Christmas Magic. Holiday still life of colorful gloved hand holding a smiling gingerbread man with gumdrops and christmas tree in background. Enhanced for enchanted effect.

The holidays are upon us, and if you haven’t already stuffed yourself with latkes, you still may have a chance to save yourself. And even if you have submerged yourself in oil-soaked starch, you can still avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. My small mother Nance ate 11 latkes last week and just a few days after Chanukah was no longer jetting around in her jeggings. She just arrived in New York this morning wearing jeans of mine from high school that she found in my closet. I hate her for being as thin as me. But love her for her weight resolve.

Navigating the holiday hoe downs can be tricky. Office parties have cakes and chocolate and cocktails – I’m guessing, I really don’t know – I have a private practice and before that worked in the hospital, but that sounds about right. How does one survive in the tundra that is the office holiday party circuit? Well, here are a few tips.

Eat breakfast. (And lunch.)

This will keep you full and satisfied throughout the day so you don’t go overboard over the hors d’oeuvres when you later catch sight of food. Especially when you factor in the open bar. Good breakfast options are oatmeal (steel cut oats + nonfat milk or water; add Splenda®, cinnamon, and whatever other festive negligible calorie seasonings you desire); Greek yogurt and fruit; or a vegetable omelet (with a side of dry whole wheat toast if preferred).

If you will eat the same amount later at your holiday party no matter what your previous intake is for the day, maybe rather than a substantial meal, instead spread a few small snacks throughout the day to sustain you. Grab an apple or some nuts and conserve your calorie allotment for your evening holiday celebration if you must. But let’s try to practice self-control. Starting out with a healthy meal and/or consuming small frequent nutritious snacks will keep you level-headed and more apt to make rational holiday party food choices.

Give yourself permission.

Sometimes, if you tell yourself – “It’s OK, I know I’m going to eat sugar cookies with sprinkles, inhale an entire tray of crab cake appetizers, and drink 3 glasses of wine.” – then you do it, you won’t feel so bad. You knew it was going to happen, it happened, and then you can go back to your normal routine the next day. Don’t fall off the wagon. If anything, fall off the stationary bicycle.

Keep active.

I know most gyms have abbreviated holiday hours, but that doesn’t mean your physical activity need be abbreviated as well. Winter is full of inventive opportunities to keep moving. Ice skating is always a good choice. And if you’re not into that, chances are you’ll slip on some ice (if it ever gets cold and snows this season) and when that happens just keep going until your legs give out. Hey, movement is movement.

If you insist on staying atop dry land, just push people out of the way while doing your holiday shopping. I know I got an upper body workout while shoving tourists on 5th Avenue last week so I could catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It’s every man for himself out there. Be strategic. Bulky shopping bags are just an unnecessary and dangerous obstacle. Proficient shopping tip: think small; buy jewelry.

My parents read this so I can’t say have sex – however, not only does sex burn calories, it also keeps you warm in this frigid winter weather (it’s literally 70° right now in New York City, but that’s immaterial).

There you have it: eat, cheat, and move your feet. The perfect holiday recipe. Speaking of recipes, skip the drink concoctions and stick to wine and straight hard liquor. Happy holidays!



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