Holidays are a tough time for anyone who has ever struggled with weight. Two years ago, instead of trying to think of ways to work off the extra calories around this time of the year, I would have looked to January 1st as the beginning of a new diet. I simply can't do the yo-yo dieting, binge-today-starve-tomorrow lifestyle. Frankly, it's horrible to learn all the new diet ins and outs then come to the realization that you can't have chocolate cake, like ever. Then, getting so frustrated with your diet, that instead of eating one slice of chocolate cake, you eat the whole damn cake.
So to tackle the holidays, I like to focus on portion size and exercise:
Portion Size: I'm still going to eat the foods that I like but I do try to eat less of them. When I go to holiday parties, I grab the dessert sized plates for my meal. This helps me to stay with the smaller portion sizes, fill my plate, and still eat everything I like. If I don't really love a food (corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls, etc), it will not have a place on my plate. Lesson learned: What's the point of wasting your appetite on stuff you don't even like? The foods I do love like mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, stuffing will make it on my plate every time. I've learned to not eat foods that I don't actually really like.
Exercise: Nothing clears my mind like a good run, I love going outside and putting my mind on mute for a long run. During the holidays, I write up a special training plan that includes running on Thanksgiving morning and Christmas Eve. This helps me to pack in those foods I love and be calm, present, and relaxed during the holiday celebrations.
Simple trick to help you feel better, get in a tiny bit of activity: stand during Christmas parties. Walk around and visit with everyone. The small bit of activity you get is better than what you would have done spending the afternoon in your jammies watching TV! And laugh because that's just good for the soul :)
Although I've learned a lot, I'm still not perfect at this whole weight loss/maintaining, exercise, choosing the best foods thing. This past week, I ate a lot of chocolate but we won't tell my food tracker quite how much. Then over the weekend, I went to a seafood buffet with my mom where I ate a piece of pecan pie (my all time favorite) and cherry-covered cheesecake right after trying all kinds of chocolate covered nuts in old town Williamsburg. The biggest change that I can see in myself is that the day after, I got up and ran 4 miles in 35 degree weather. First, I hate the cold like absolutely despise cold weather so I was really proud of myself for getting my butt out to run. Second, two years ago, I would have never got up the next morning to exercise.
I have to be honest, I've gained a couple pounds back from my weight loss, I'm about 8 pounds heavier than my goal weight. Sure, I want to stay around my goal weight but it's not just about a number on the scale anymore. I want to be fueled for my runs and a salad with no dressing can't fuel a marathon, trust me. My weight fluctuates a ridiculous amount throughout the month, one week I'll be up 2 pounds, then down 3, then down 1, then back up 3. Knowing that about myself, I try not to sweat the small gains but, admittedly, it can be hard on my ego because I've struggled with weight problems my whole life.
Speaking of life-long weight struggles, I'm still surprised when meet people for the first time and I tell them about my weight struggles and they tell me that they never would have imagined me any larger. It surprises me because when I see myself, I still see that person who felt like a 60 year old woman because of weight. It will always be a part of me. I will always struggle to make the right food and exercise choices.