By Noelle Dick
I am not a nutritionist. I am not a Shape model. I am 43 years old, in the best shape of my life, and I own a boutique fitness gym. I listen everyday to athletes and regular folks talk about their struggles with weight and working out. I have battled the same 15 pounds since puberty. I have waged the war in extremes. “Take this, Fat—I’m cutting your rations to one meal! Or no sugar, no carbs, no alcohol till you surrender!” I’ve bargained. “How about this, Fat? One small cheat a day, and the rest I’ll be good?” And I’ve been kind. “If I talk nice to you, Fat; if I accept you, will you go away?” I have tried it all.
For the first time in my life I am happy with my body. It’s strong, it’s imperfect, but I like the way it looks. How you ask? I accepted my body. I eat right most of the time, and I move.
What about YOU? How can you survive this holiday season? Well let’s talk turkey—I mean Thanksgiving.
Here are four keys distilled from all the advice given and heard that will help you maintain during the holidays.
1. Chill Out. Stress is not only the number one reason people overeat, but without even putting a thing in your mouth, stress will make your body clamp on to your fat reserve as if it were hanging onto a life preserver. Stress releases cortisol, and that gem of a hormone tells your body you need this extra 20 pounds because your body believes you are either going to fight or flee. Let’s face it, during Thanksgiving, fighting or fleeing is a very real possibility.
LET IT GO! Accept the day’s imperfections. Accept that you can’t and don’t want to ‘fix’ any of your relatives, friends, or spouse on this day or any day for that matter. The best moments, the ones we remember, are always the screw-ups anyway. When you start to feel stress, LAUGH. It will work. Or they’ll think you’re crazy and leave you alone.
2. Drink Up! Oh yes I went there, but the catch? I mean water. Okay, well mostly water. Whatever amount you consume in alcohol/sugary drinks you need to match with the same amount in water. You will be shocked at how hydrated and less hungry you feel, plus there is no hangover .
3. Move it. Put the food in the oven, then take the family on a walk to catch up and talk. Even if mom won’t leave the casserole, I bet the kids in the house will be takers and you need a breather anyway. Halftime? Man Up! Demonstrate your incredible spiral or catch the long throw like Randall Cobb. After the meal, take another walk. Most gyms are closed Thanksgiving, but many offer day-after classes specifically designed to have some fun and work extra hard.
4. Eat. Yes that is right—EAT! Two thoughts here. First, don’t make Thanksgiving your attempt to do the one-meal-per-day diet. Doesn’t work. You will feel miserable! Eat something substantial in the morning like eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt. Eat something that will stick to your stomach that is more protein than carb. If you wait till the ONE meal, you’ll be starved. You will eat fast and before your food settles, you will feel like a pig at a luau, stuffed, hot and about to blow.
That brings me to the second thought. ENJOY!!! Seriously, give yourself a break on this one day. Thanksgiving is about gratitude. Absolutely do not beat yourself up for enjoying the rare treats of the day. Take the time with each bite to savor it. Give thanks you have this feast to enjoy, many do not. Love yourself enough to love your beautiful body as it is. We can always better ourselves. It’s a long journey—not a destination. Happy Thanksgiving!