Cambrian: Opinion

Don’t let the holidays be an excuse to get out of shape

The weather is hinting at fall, finally. Our clocks are playing tricks on us. Holiday travel plans are confirmed. What does it all mean? food!

I just read a post online, “I don’t mean to brag, but I finished my 14-day diet in 3 hours and 12 minutes!”

Sound familiar? Exercise seems impossible when you are running around like crazy getting things “ready.” Doesn’t all the moving in circles count as exercise anyway? Uh, no.

But what is a poor overstuffed body to do? Stop making excuses. Don’t make forgoing dessert a prison sentence and don’t brainwash yourself into thinking working out or walking is a burden. Change your mindset. You got it where it is — you can put it where you want it!

No time? Have you ever been a passenger in a car moving along at a good clip when you focus your eyes closer to the road, rather than farther? Pretty blurry, right? That’s how we treat our days — move so fast you can’t focus. Time management begins by slowing down, not by speeding up. Funny, other busy people adhere to the same laws of physics of time as we do, and yet they still exercise.

Change your attitude. Instead of thinking of it as torture, make it fun, make it fit into your schedule, make it time to contemplate life, get a partner. Give yourself a reward — time to sit for five minutes afterwards without doing anything, give yourself a new book to read, a night out or something equally satisfying but noncaloric, after exercising X number of days.

No discipline? This is my personal cop-out. You have the discipline to get up in the morning, to go to work (most of us). You do have the discipline to have only one bite of a treat, that way you don’t feel like you are denying yourself completely.

Set realistic goals. Wanting to lose 30 pounds before Christmas is not going to happen if you’re healthy, so how about maintaining your current weight? By not allowing yourself to overdo it (“I can do 50 pushups a day, no problem!”) you are more likely not to regret exercising in order to keep the pounds in check. Just keep moving.

This is an emotional time of the year. Emotional eating is, well, a featured attraction most of the year for many of us. The marquee lights get even brighter right about now! Be honest: Consider why you are eating. Granted, holidays bring everyone together, and since the beginning of time, eating has been how you celebrate. But, in the beginning of time, they didn’t have as much as we do, nor did they follow it up with a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream from Starbucks after every meal.

“I deserve this!” What? Bad knees, heart disease, cancer and on and on? If you say so. … Many of us have associated good times, rewards and comfort with food from our earliest memories. But, you deserve better! Consider what you could do with the money spent on that froo-froo coffee. How much better will your liver feel, how much more energy will you have if you share a treat. Have a drink of water in place of every other cocktail. You do not deserve to suffer for the sake of your past.

Make an agreement with your family or friends or whomever you are celebrating with that you are on a mission to have a healthy holiday. You will all go for a walk each day; you will have one small serving of the goods; you will not have excessive sweets in the house for temptation. (“Please don’t bring boxes of chocolates, etc. — we can make homemade goodies together and spread the wealth, as it were.”)

More movement, fewer calories, no excuses, start a new habit — and don’t be afraid to fail … even I fall for a good glazed donut once in a while. I try not to sabotage myself by getting “in harm’s way,” thereby cutting down the opportunity. By not flogging myself for giving in, I allow my morale to remain intact. I didn’t go for a walk today — but I can do some jumping jacks right here and now while I’m thinking about it, plank for 60 seconds, whatever. Squeeze those buns.

I wish you good health and good luck! Definitely makes life more worthwhile.

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at ltd@ lady tie di .com, or visit her website at www .lady tie di .com.