How to Eat Whatever You Want Over the Holidays
and Not Gain Weight
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are back home and in bed with the flu trying to rest up and get well for our next events. But look forward for new pictures and slide shows soon.
This holiday season, while you pad your body with figgy pudding and take shots of eggnog off a sugarplum fairy, thou shalt feel no guilt. And thou shall not necessarily gain weight.
Moderation is not just key. Moderation is everything.
Traveling around the world and attending events and parties while doing our holiday parties for children living with HIV, I did come away some useful tips for guilt-free holiday noshing.
Track your calories
I get punchy when svelte celebrities say in a singsong voice, ďeverything in moderation.Ē Eating in moderation is hard and it sucks; if tethering your lust for that second piece of pie were easy, everyone would look amazing all the time. Those not inclined to moderation (humans) try tracking their calories. As unsexy as it sounds, thatís the way to give you a subconscious baseline. When you do force yourself to track this stuff, for better or for worse it makes you realize oh, geez, that extra sauce I got just added an extra 250 calories to my lunch. Even if you donít have a specific plan, just tracking alone will nudge your behavior.
Ask yourself two questions about the latest health studies
My familyís Thanksgiving was monopolized by discussion of a recent study suggesting that bacon and other processed meats increase your risk of cancer. We stop and think before we revise our behaviors in response to whatever new study has the health communityís panties in a twist that week. I recommend you ask yourself two questions before jumping to conclusions: What is the absolute risk in the first place? And by how much does that risk actually increase for you? For example, if your absolute risk is already very low, eating processed meats only raises your risk 20 percent relative to your baseline. If that amount of risk bothers you, then donít eat bacon. I respect that, but I think that most people, when they just see the headlines, have the takeaway that itís a much more serious risk factor than it might really be.
Go ham over the holidays, but then cease and desist
If I can come back from eating less nutrionally for 30 days straight, you can come back from a few days of gluttony with your family. I think weights tend to change when we have long term habits, not when we do something for two days or five days. If you extrapolate those five days to the rest of the year, thatís a real problem. Assuming itís just the holidays, put things in perspective and give yourself a pass. Have a cheat week or two.
Enjoy your food
Even moderation should be in moderation. Iím someone who definitely loves to binge at times and be an ascetic at times. Some people have their three squares a day, never more and never less ó thatís really boring. Some of lifeís great pleasures are indulging and throwing caution to the wind. Preach.
Hope all of you have a beary safe and great Tuesday!
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,