Fitness Goals & Baby Steps

Happy

Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maintaining your goal weight is a little like having a baby. You know it will be awesome when you get there, but no one tells you the really raw details. While you’re losing weight, you are getting compliments like crazy. (It’s sort of like the baby shower. Instead of being showered in gifts, you’re being showered in compliments.) You are feeling confident and fantastic. In fact, some might even say you’re glowing.

Then the day you have been waiting for arrives! You see that magic number you’ve been working toward (your bundle of joy). You are jumping up and down. Your skinny jeans are loose. LOOSE for heaven’s sake! You ride this high for a while. You feel incredible. You walk around with your head held high and you’re pretty sure that the whole world notices how awesome you are. (Everyone wants to hold that beautiful baby and tell you how absolutely perfect it is!) This could quite possibly be your life’s greatest accomplishment. (Okay, the baby probably is but you get what I’m saying.)

Eventually all the hoopla dies down. People stop complimenting you all the time. (No one is coming over with a dinner casserole and helping with laundry anymore.) Your new, trim physique is just who you are now. People expect you to be that hot every day. (You suddenly realize that passing a person through your vagina or being unnaturally cut open from hip to hip isn’t that big of a deal because women do it every day. Whatevs!)

You walk by a mirror and catch a glimpse of your new <insert goal weight here>self and you’re taken back just a little. Your body doesn’t look quite like you thought it would at that magical goal weight. In fact, it’s oddly just a saggy version of its former fat self. (Really, I don’t think you need a comparison here, do you?)

You start to research and are shocked to find out that your smaller body requires fewer calories. Yes, I said fewer. You know, as in less. Not only that, it requires more exercise to burn the same amount of calories your larger body burned. What the what? Why didn’t you come across this information before? Why didn’t your skinny friends tell you? (I can assure you none of my mommy friends told me during a hot shower I would discover that breast milk actually comes out of about a bazillion holes in your nipple instead of just the one I assumed was there.)

Why am I telling you all this? It’s certainly not to discourage you. Quite the contrary, actually. I want you to know that your “journey” shouldn’t be to a magic number. It should be to a better you. There will be struggles and set-backs along the way (constipation or heart burn anyone?). There will also be fantastic and unexpected gifts, like reaching a jean size you haven’t been in since high school or completing your first 5k. (Much like hearing the baby’s heart beat for the first time or feeling her move.)

Don’t get bogged down with the “journey”. Being healthy is a lifetime commitment. It IS the journey. Approaching it as such will help you from getting discouraged on the bad days (baby being up all night teething.) It will also help you appreciate the good days (hearing that infectious belly laugh.)

Here’s the deal, my perfectly imperfect friends. You will have bad days. You will also have some super, fantastic days. Would you give up on that baby if you had a bad day? I didn’t think so.

Originally posted at The Well Written Woman.

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Life Lessons

Life LessonsToday I learned the secret to living a happy life – from my 8 year old. To say she’s a creative child would be a gross understatement. The kid comes up with some stuff! I’m actually fortunate enough to learn from both my girls pretty regularly. Funny how you can learn life lessons from people who haven’t been living it nearly as long as you.

When I went into her room this morning, several pieces of paper were taped above her bed. (That’s what that photo is above.) They weren’t there yesterday and I honestly have no idea when she did it. There are also other labels taped all throughout her room. Some have the names of her babies above where her babies lie. She has a piece of paper taped to the wall above some dirty clothes she doesn’t want to throw in the hamper that says “play clothes”. (See? Creative!)

The words taped above her bed though, really hit a chord with me. I think if we can apply an 8-year-old’s rules to our regular daily living we’d get through life a lot happier and less stressed.

Sing ~ Have Fun ~ Story Time ~ Nap ~ Work Hard, Be Smart ~ Don’t Bully

1. Sing! Sing like no one is listening (or watching). If your favorite song comes on the radio, belt it out. Sing regular stuff too. Dinner will be a lot more fun if you sing to your family when it’s ready. At the very least, they’ll come running to witness what they think must certainly be your nervous break down.

2. Have fun! No, really. Let go. Are you afraid of looking silly? Why? I skip through parking lots with my kids. So does my husband. Yeah, we get some crazy looks, but not nearly as many “looks” as we get big, honking smiles. People GET it. And if someone thinks you’re silly for having fun? Well poo poo on them! This is your life to live. Live it like you mean it!

3. Story Time! Relax. Take a break. Step out of reality once in a while. It’s okay to get lost in a good book or even a TV show now and then. We shouldn’t have to be “on” all the time.

4. Nap! Oh, this might be my favorite. There just isn’t much better than a good nap, not that I get them that often. Even if you don’t get to take naps, be rested. Burning your candle at both ends will backfire eventually. It’s not worth it.

5. Work Hard, Be Smart! Good work ethic and a job well done is a life well lived.

6. Don’t Bully. This applies not only to others, but to yourself as well. If friends, families, co-workers, even complete strangers deserve to be treated with respect why don’t you? Would you walk up to a complete stranger and tell them their butt looks big? Nah. So, don’t bully yourself either.

I’m digging these rules. I think the 8-year-old nailed it.

Mommy’s Not Fat – She’s Squishy

Fat Bastard (character)

Fat Bastard (character) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but my vision is pretty horrible. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to pick my own kids out of a line up without the help of glasses or contacts. I can only see close up; and I mean right in my face close up. Anything beyond an arm’s length is just blurred color.

I was at my annual eye exam recently, which is always super fun. I mean, who doesn’t like to go and have air “puffed” into their eye? Just thinking about it now is making me blink compulsively. So there I am, sitting in the exam room waiting on the doctor without my contacts in. Honestly, I think they make you take them out for fun just so you can’t see, but that’s just my opinion. Anyway, the doc walks in and it’s one I haven’t seen before. I can tell it’s a woman with blonde hair. That’s it. Oh, she was also wearing a black shirt (although it could have been navy). She was super nice and we did the whole “is this better, or is that better” routine. (By the way, does that stress anyone else out as much as it does me? I mean seriously, that’s a lot of pressure. This will determine the way I see for the next year. What if I make the wrong call? What if 2 really was better?) We talked about our kids and Christmas and that whole routine. Then she gave me some contacts to put in and said she’d be back in a minute after they have time to settle.

When she walked back in – and I could actually see her – she was super cute! I don’t mean cute like a teenager or whatever. The older I get the worse I become at accurately judging someone’s age, but I’d put her around my age – 35 to 40. I just blurted out, “Oh look, you’re so pretty! I didn’t know that before I could see!” (Yes, I’m a dork. I just can’t help myself. If I feel a compliment, I have to blurt it out even if it makes me feel like the weird aunt sometimes.) Her reaction was so sweet and genuine. She said, “oh my gosh, thank you. I needed that!”

She went on to explain that during Christmas her and her family had spent the day in their pajamas. Her six year old son had told her she looked like she had a baby in her belly. Her husband told the son he couldn’t say stuff like that because it basically meant he was saying his mommy was fat. The six  year old said, “Mommy’s not fat. She just has a squishy belly.”

My own children have also made similar observations. Out loud.

“Mom, why does your butt shake so much when you walk?”

“Mom, why do your boobies look at the ground?”

Out of the mouths of babes.

The mom, my doctor, wasn’t mad at her son of course. Kids have a way of pointing out the obvious, even if their delivery is less than stellar. Doc admitted her belly is a little squishy. That didn’t take the sting out of hearing it out loud. You know what else she heard out loud? My compliment. Look, I’m nobody to her. It’s not like I think by me complimenting someone I’m changing the world. But, I can tell you from the look on her face, it did make a difference to her. Did that make her belly less squishy? Nope. It was the exact size and shape it was the day before when her son told her she looked pregnant. However, she saw herself from a different perspective and  it certainly made her feel good. It is possible to feel good in your own skin right now.

Even with a squishy belly, a shaky butt, or downward looking boobies you are awesome. It’s all a matter of perspective.

What You Can Learn From An Eleven Year Old Swimmer

Coach

Coach (Photo credit: williamnyk)

My eleven year old daughter is a swimmer. She gives herself this label unapologetically. She doesn’t say, “oh, I swim.” No. She says, “I’m a swimmer.” It doesn’t matter how fast she goes, how many personal best times she hits, or how many first place positions she receives. She is  a swimmer. We don’t have to ask if she’s going to practice. She is. We don’t have to check before entering her into a swim meet. She’s swimming. We don’t have to wonder if she’ll like the funny swim tee we found. She will. She’s a swimmer.

At her meet this weekend she didn’t do so hot. She added times to every single swim; not just a little, but a significant amount of time. She tried to brush it off like it didn’t bother her. Of course it did. Her Dad and I are her biggest cheerleaders. We are at every single swim meet whispering under our breaths, “Come on, baby, come on, baby!” at her every stroke, every turn. We meet with her after every single swim and discuss how she did – good or bad. Her Dad is passionate. In fact, we don’t see eye to eye on the best way to motivate and keep her motivated. He grew up in a competitive household and I didn’t. Naturally we approach things differently. His passion sometimes manifests itself with flailing arms and a loud voice when he’s discussing her swim. He got so frustrated at the meet this weekend that he just stopped. He couldn’t say anything to her. And she cried. She asked me to talk to him. “Mom, he doesn’t even care. He didn’t even discuss my swim, he just asked if I had enough snacks.” I asked her in return, “I thought you got upset when Daddy talked to you like that. I didn’t think you’d want him going over each swim with you. You always get argumentative and insist you did your best.” Her response? “No, I want Daddy to talk about it with me. That’s how I get better. That’s how I know what to work on.” Daddy 1 – Mommy 0.

Her Dad emailed the Coach on Monday following the meet, asking what she needed to work on since she had posted some less than stellar times. (Side note – she cut some SERIOUS time on her previous two meets. I’m talking kick-ass, hell yeah that’s my baby! time.) The Coach responded with, “she’s doing fine”. Fine? But, she added time! The Coach went on to explain that if she focuses on technique, improved times always follows. The important thing is that she enjoys it and perfects her technique. She needs to focus on the “how” and the improvement will follow. And the most important thing of all is that she continues to enjoy her sport because she will not improve at a sport she resents.

I learn a lot from my kids. I’d be missing out on a major opportunity if I didn’t. Here are the lessons to be learned from this:

  • Own it. You are an athlete. If you run, you’re a runner. If you swim, you’re a swimmer. Own it. You don’t need an Olympic medal to be proud of what you do. It doesn’t matter if everyone around you is better. You just have to show up and claim it. Mindset is half the battle.
  • Find what works for you regardless of outside pressure. I thought her Dad’s style was too rough. I didn’t grow up playing sports. Not that I’m of the “oh, everybody’s a winner” mentality. Far from it. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. But, his style worked for her. She craved the feedback and apparently the way it was delivered even if it made me cringe. It pushed her. It made her want to be better. It helped her focus and she loved it. My hugs and high fives were only part of what she needed after each swim. She also needed a kick in the ass. She craved it and when she didn’t get it, she was upset. This is the feedback that worked for her and she knew that enough to insist on it. INSIST on using what works for you even if no one else can understand why.
  • Doing things the right way consistently is more important that being the best. You cannot improve if you don’t focus on doing things the right way. If she focused on having good times every single time she swam, she’d give up. Who wouldn’t? Does she get excited when she posts a good time? Hell YES! She worked for that shit. She practiced and practiced. She took the time to improve every stroke. She paid attention to the details. So WHAT if you can’t run as fast as your friend? So what if everyone around you has already run a half marathon, lost 100 pounds, or (seems to) eat perfect all the time. Do YOU, baby! Focus on the tedious, the technique, the little stuff. Show up. Every damn day. The successes will come. They always do when you put in the work.
  • P.S. If you tell my daughter I’ve learned anything from her OR tell my husband that he was right, I’ll have to delete this post and any supporting evidence. So, let’s just keep this between us, kay?

Getting Fat – Part 3 – My Highest Weight

Okay, where was I? That’s right! I told you about how I was thin when I met my husband but our bad habits caught up with us quickly. I also shared with you how I gained waaaay more weight than I was supposed to when I got pregnant the first time.

Of course, right after I had the baby in 2001 I decided I was totally going to get in shape. When I wasn’t staring at her beautiful little face, which was A LOT, or sitting around watching soap operas I did start walking. We lived in a super hilly neighborhood at the time and I was determined to get the weight off. Breast feeding just wasn’t working fast enough for me (ps, breast feeding didn’t cause me to lose ANY weight). So, I strapped my little girl in her stroller and headed out into the blazing August sun for a walk up those moutainous hills every single day. Until I got crazy sick. I soon learned I had mastitis, which luckily took care of itself. However, by the time I recovered from it, my only concern was being a mommy. I totally didn’t care anymore how I looked. I learned how to dress cute “for my size” and just said screw it. I look “good enough”.

I was obsessed with being a mommy and I despised going back to work. Not that I didn’t have a decent enough job. I just wanted to be home with her. An opportunity came up that allowed me to change jobs and take her to work with me. She was in the same building as me, with a nanny, but I could see her anytime I wanted. I thought this was a decent compromise. Somehow in the early weeks of taking this new job, I got into the habit of going to the gas station next door before I went into the office. Every single morning I would buy a Mountain Dew and a six pack of chocolate donuts. Every.Single.Morning. Couple that with sitting on my butt all day at work and absolutely no exercise and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out I was getting fatter by the day.

I ditched this habit a few (six) months in and started walking with a friend. Then I joined a gym. I went there probably about…ten times. We paid for a year. Those first two years I just honestly wasn’t concerned enough with how I looked (or felt) to do anything about it. I was still in double digit clothing, but as I said before I learned how to dress my body well enough that it wasn’t a big deal to me. I told myself that if I could do what I was doing and look no worse than I already did, then I was satisfied. And what I mean by satisfied is “settling”.

Fast forward to November 2003. We decide to add to our family and I have a positive pregnancy test on New Years Eve 2003. New Years Day I tell my husband this pregnancy is going to be different. I’m not going to let myself gain all that weight again because it was just ridiculous. We even went for a really long walk that day. I weighed 205 pounds the day baby number 2 was born in August 2004, which is even more than I weighed with baby number 1. I think I actually outweighed my husband on that one. Oh, and she was induced one week early.

Right after baby number 2 was born, my mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer. My daughter was 9 days old at the funeral. We were also in the process of selling our house so we could move from Illinois to North Carolina for my job. I didn’t get to participate in the purchase of our new house because I was too pregnant to fly. So, after giving birth at the end of August, dealing with the death of a beloved family member, and selling our house literally the day we left Illinois, we drove up to our new home (which I had never seen) the last week of October 2004. Needless to say, this was a damn stressful time in our lives. Oh, did I mention I also had post-partem depression? Weight loss was so far down on my list of priorities it never even crossed my mind. I did lose most of the baby weight within six months or so. I think more from sheer exhaustion than any effort on my part. But I was still considered overweight. It would be another two years before I would care enough (or have the energy) to do anything about it.

Getting Fat – Part 2 – We're Having A Baby!

A pregnant woman

Image via Wikipedia

This is part 2 of how I got fat. If you missed the beginning of the story you may want to get caught up.

I was just catching my groove on the whole working out thing. And by “catching my groove” I mean I hadn’t missed an appointment with my personal trainer in two weeks. Maybe three. I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt here. You may remember this was about the time my husband and I decided to start our family. Much to my surprise, I was pretty damn fertile.

We both really wanted to have a baby and I realize how incredibly fortunate we were to get pregnant pretty much right away. That, however, did not take away from the utter shock of that positive pregnancy test. And the other four that followed (in the next 10 minutes). I made my doctor’s appointment right away and yep, there was in fact a little bun in the oven. Also, according to my doctor, I was a little short for my weight. He told me I’d have to be careful with putting weight on since I was already considered “overweight”. Thankfully it was only by a few pounds (if I remember correctly I was 155 or so and I’m 5’4), but seriously, who wants to hear that crap? And, it’s not like I could start dieting then anyway. But I did decide I would still go to the gym. I vowed to myself that when I delivered I would have really buff arms and perfectly pedicured feet. I went to approximately two aerobics classes and the only sport I did after that was eating. My feet, however, looked fabulous on delivery day!

I left the doctor’s office and headed straight to the first Wendy’s drive thru I could find. I was a hot mess and hadn’t been able to get in touch with my husband. (I think I had paged him. Hello, it was 2000!) I ordered a salad (of the taco variety). Hey, I was eating for two so I was being healthy. (This was before I knew a taco salad wasn’t actually healthy.) I also ordered a large Frosty. For the calcium, of course. (I’m not even sure those are actually milk based to be honest with you.) This was just the beginning of my pregnancy melt down. Oh, and I was approximately five weeks pregnant at this point.

There were many, many binges during this pregnancy. And the food wasn’t just craptastic. I was a freaking maniac and would eat anything I could get my hands on. I remember laying on my bathroom floor crying in shame because I had just eaten five bananas. I was hormonal and clearly unstable. The good news was, my pregnancy was a breeze and I absolutely LOVED being pregnant.

Toward the end of my pregnancy our 15 year old nephew, Chris,  started staying with us to take care of our dogs when I went into the hospital. I had also already began my maternity leave because I was too fat to work. Okay, that’s not really true. But the simple act of blow drying my hair literally winded me. The walk from my car to my office was exhausting. It was summer time and you don’t even want to know about all the sweating. UGH! Plus, there was food to be eaten. I was far too distracted for working. So, instead, my nephew and I went to Golden Corral every day for lunch while my husband worked. We would see who could eat the most. If you have ever seen a 15 year old boy eat, you know how absolutely ridiculous that is. I gained 10 pounds in my 8th month. Yep, ten. Iwas wearing XXL maternity clothes. DOUBLE EXTRA LARGE! Holy fatness!

Two days before I delivered our daughter, I weighed 201 pounds. Two hundred and one pounds. I weighed the same as my husband (who had also gained the required “sympathy weight”). You know that gross, blubbery, snotty cry that people do? Yeah, I totally did that. And then went to lunch at Golden Corral. I fully expected someone to come out of the back and yell, “YOU GO HOME NOW!”. They never did. And we kept eating. And eating!

I told myself after the baby was born it would be on like Donkey Kong. She was born in August 2001….

My Anti-Resolutions

image via nyc-architecture.com

I hate New Years’ resolutions. To me it’s like saying, “hey, check out this big list of shit I’m going to fail at, probably before January is even over”. I have no idea why that is, but I’m thinking it’s not just me. Why else is it impossible to get in a spin class the first three weeks of January and then everything goes right back to normal by February?

Our list of resolutions are pretty awesome though. It’s a list of ways we want to be a better person. Perhaps even a perfect person. That’s completely impossible obviously, and maybe why most fail. Maybe the lists are too big and overwhelming, so we just give up. (I mean, how can you lose 30 pounds, bake cookies for the PTA, call your mom every day, AND run a marathon by January 2nd to prove your awesomeness?)

It’s hard to resist the call to “be a better person” when the calendar rolls over, though. Everyone’s talking about resolutions; getting in shape, drinking more water, giving up sugar, etc. I propose the anti-resolution. I’m not going to ADD to my list of awesomeness. I’m going to whittle it down to the three things that are most important to me. If what I’m doing doesn’t fit into one of these three categories or can benefit it in some way, I’m not wasting energy on it.

Family, fitness, and finances. Yep. That’s my focus. My anti-resolutions.

My family obviously deserves to be a priority. I’m sure my kids won’t look back and say, “well, mom ran a kick ass facebook page”. But they will remember the time I spend with them. My husband won’t care how many hits I have on a post, but he will care about how much time I spend with him.

Fitness is also a priority. I do care about how I look. Part of it is vanity and part of it is wanting to be around a long time for my family and not laid up in a bed at age 70. I want to be the crazy grandma that people can’t believe how “old” she is. I want to go out dancing when I’m 80 and be the Queen of the Bingo.

Finances. I don’t want to be an extreme couponer. Those people totally freak me out. But, I’m pretty sure there are ways our family can save money and I plan to find those ways. Without giving up shoes.

What? These sound like resolutions, you say? I guess to some they could be considered resolutions. I consider them anti-resolutions because by focusing on just these three things, I’m freeing up a whole lot of myself. Instead of spreading myself too thin, I’m giving myself only a few things to focus on. Like I said, if at any given time what I’m doing doesn’t benefit or contribute to one of those things in some way, I’m out. I will turn my focus on those three important things. If I’m stressed out about something, I’ll ask myself, “is this helping the big 3?”. If the answer is yes, then it’s obviously important. If the answer is no, then why am I wasting my precious time on it? There doesn’t seem to be enough time as it is! (In case you’re wondering, writing contributes to my mental fitness. It serves as an outlet for me.)

I encourage YOU to whittle down your huge list of ways to be perfect and consider what’s truly important to you. A person can’t be perfect and they certainly can’t be perfect at everything. What do I want to remember about my life when I’m old? Do I want to remember surfing on facebook while my kids watch tv? Or do I want to remember playing games with my kids and talking about their day? What do I want to be remembered for? Being “too busy” to talk to my kids, or looking in their eyes completely undistracted while they talk to me? What legacy am I leaving? What legacy are YOU leaving?

I Am NOT An Extreme Couponer!

 It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend Crystal (fun coincidence, huh?). She is the queen of deals. Recently at a party she was telling a group of us how she bought ALL of her groceries for $50 or less PER WEEK! I couldn’t believe it. So, I asked her to write about it and share with all of us how she does it. Please give her a warm welcome so she’ll come back and share more of her money saving secrets.

image via wikipedia

image via wikipedia

You won’t find my garage stock-piled with canned food to last the next five years. Nor will you see a deep freezer stuffed to the brim. I am simply a frugal mom and wife looking to fill my 1×7 ft pantry and single fridge with healthy food for my family. What’s so special about me you ask?  Well, I buy groceries (including paper products, cleaning and beauty supplies) for under $50 each week!

How?  It’s all strategy!

1.  Set a Grocery Budget (and stick to it)
Average your family’s grocery expenses from the past 6 weeks.  Now, commit to reducing that number by 50% over the next 6 weeks. For my family, we began with $125/ week nearly six years ago. After learning the “Grocery Game,” we have successfully reduced our budget to $50/ week. My motto is.. “The amount of money you spend is more important than the amount of money you save!”

2.  Collect Coupons
Couponing Is Awesome! You can easily cut your weekly expenses by a third from simply collecting coupon circulars in each week’s Sunday newspaper. Heed this warning, you have to collect about a month’s worth of coupons before fully maximizing your savings. Do you really think Harris Teeter is going to put ketchup on sale the same week a coupon is released- I think not. But, two weeks after the coupon- you better believe it!

3.  Shop the Sales Ads and Make a List
I typically shop at two grocery stores each week depending on where the best deals are. You can bet I will hit Harris Teeter each week because they double coupons up to 99 cents every day. Pair that with a good Buy-One-Get-One sale, and you have yourself two bags of yogurt covered raisins for free!  Recently, I have been shopping WalMart for produce and any other items needed to complete our weekly menu. Their store policy is to price match any advertised deal. Thus, I collect the ads, find the best prices, and take all of those to WalMart for a one-stop, lowest price grocery trip.  This is where you have to exercise your strongest will-power and resist the urge to pick up those items your family wants. If it’s not a planned item, skip it and make room for it on next week’s list.

4.  Make a Meal Plan
After shopping the sales ads and inspecting my pantry and freezer, I select which items will fit into our weekly budget. From there, I plan breakfast and lunch options for the week and a set menu for all dinners. I post the menu to hold us accountable to our plan and to avoid last-minute fast-food stops. This week’s menu included (plus more)…

Breakfast:
grapefruit
oatmeal
whole grain homemade muffins

Lunch:
roast beef and cheese sandwiches
clementines
organic mac-n- cheese
carrot sticks and cucumber slices
hummus

Dinner:
homemade beef vegetable soup (two meals worth)
turkey sausage, egg white, and cheese casserole
faux-fried chicken breast
meatball subs on whole grain rolls
shrimp cocktail
Hebrew National hot dogs

All of that my friends, plus snacks, sides and milk, for a whopping grand total of $48.32. A little higher than a typical week because I stocked up on cheap boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Plus, I added items to my pantry, bought toilet paper and even managed to sneak in a new body wash for my husband. Miracle, no. Smart shopping, yes!

Crystal is a smart shopping wife and mom who strives to feed her family fresh, healthy food on a junk food budget. A pearl-wearing southern girl born and bred, she aspires to be as crafty as Martha Stewart but often uses Betty Crocker shortcuts. Most importantly, she never pays full price for anything!

“Give a man a fish, he will be fed for one day.  Teach a man to fish, he will be fed for a lifetime.”

Crystal Coltrain Dempsey
North Carolina Principal Fellow
North Carolina Teaching Fellow 2005
Honor Graduate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

December Is NOT a Free For All

image via hotfrog.co.uk

“I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just going to gain weight during the holidays.”

Uh, say what? I resisted writing this post for a couple of weeks because it’s so cliché. You can find “holiday survival guides” all over the place right now. Unfortunately, the closer we get to Christmas the more often I’m hearing some variation of this. So, I’m chiming in. You’ve probably heard most or all of these tips. But, I promise you, December does not have to be a free for all. Why undo all the work you’ve done this year? Why start in January?

1. Pick your poison. Chances are you don’t LOVE every food that’s being offered. So, be a food snob. Only put the things you love on your plate. Don’t eat it because that’s what you’ve always eaten at a party. If you take a bite of a pig in a blanket and it isn’t absolutely divine to your palate, STOP EATING IT! This is an opportunity to eat fabulous food that you don’t normally get to eat. Don’t waste the room in your belly on crap.

2. Don’t go hungry. For heaven’s sake, don’t think you are “saving up your calories” for the party. Do you know what will happen? You will be famished when you get there. You will pile your plate with a bunch of junk you won’t even taste because you’re wolfing it down so fast. You will end up eating more calories this way and you won’t even taste them. I promise. Trust me on this.

3. Have water between each adult beverage. This will help you save some calories. It will also keep you from getting buzzed and eating 42 cookies and a whole bowl of dip.

4. Don’t stand around the food. It seems like everyone always gravitates toward the food. And just stands there. That makes it easy to grab a chip when there’s a lull in the conversation. Or when someone else is talking. Or when no one is looking. Prepare your plate and step away from the table.

5. Be active! If the kids are playing Wii, play with them. If there isn’t 10 feet of snow outside, grab some people and go for a walk. This may seem awkward, especially if your family isn’t particularly active. But you might be surprised by who will join you. OR who you inspire to get moving who might not have otherwise. Being active also goes for your workout routine. If your schedule is tight do some lunges, squats, push ups, tricep dips and planks at home. You can do these any time you have a little free time. You CAN squeeze activity into your day.

Don’t let December blow all your hard work. You can enjoy all the festivities without regret, guilt, and feeling like crap. Keep your goals in mind and make this the year you become even MORE awesome in December.

Fitness Goals and Baby Steps

Hands & Feet

As you know, two things I love are writing and fitness. I’ve been able to incorporate the two here and have been lucky enough to have you read it. Another thing I love to do is read lots of other blogs. (I’m a total stalker.) One of my favorites, The Well Written Woman, said they were looking for new contributors. I’m not even sure I finished reading that sentence before I was shooting off an email begging for a chance. (The subject line read, “Pick me! Pick me!”. No, I have no shame.) To my surprise, they said they would love for me to submit something for their review. To my shock, they said they would PUBLISH IT! Holy crap. I was literally jumping up and down with excitement. This is the first published piece that wasn’t “my story of weight loss” (on a page that I didn’t own or co-own). I hope you’ll check out the piece and The Well Written Woman. They blog on a variety of topics and the women over there are absolutely fabulous writers!