Eat, drink and be wary!
It’s holiday season.
From the end of November (and for some it starts with Halloween at the end of October!) through until the first week of the new year, when the rush of guilt, panic and/or depression set in – many people from all over the world – many cultures, many religions, both Northern & Southern Hemispheres and that hot band that ties them together around the middle of the planet, celebrate with food-centered days, that often go into evenings and on across weekends and months.
The problem of obesity around the whole world is so prevalent it has earned it’s own term: Globesity. There are ample books to read on the subject, Fat Planet is one place to start.
Expat women get an extra wave of the holiday food tsunami because there are all the celebrations leading up to the mass migration home, where the food continues to swirl in dizzying speeds from meal to meal.
There is a great debate in the health and fitness industry where personal trainers and nutrition counselors support clients on a quest to amp up their fitness game as much as take control of their body composition – the number one reason most people say they are at the gym is to lose weight. We now know that exercise compliments fat loss, and fat loss is assisted with caloric expenditure, but food consumption, which is not a gym thing, it’s a kitchen thing, is what has to be tackled for fat-loss to occur.
*Side note: I say ‘body-composition’ and ‘fat-loss’ and not ‘losing weight’ because the scale is not very reliable in marking progress. Increased muscle mass with simultaneous fat loss is a source of much frustration – just ask me…I know…and it is the stuff of another blog.
But you can’t NOT eat…
A friend of mine is on a mission to get fitness trainers to pay attention to our language surrounding holiday pig-outs. It is a lively discussion. Here is some of it:
With his permission to share, he writes:
Folks are trippin’ over my comments about over eating and holidays.
All I’m saying is that you can enjoy the holidays and indulge without over eating. If weight-loss is your struggle, then indulge without over eating.
The average holiday meal is 3000-4500 calories.
You cannot work that off.
“holy sh*t – it’s just food, LOL!” is my favorite response so far…
“No sh*t..!” is my response to that one…
The pain is real.
The resentment is real.
The sabotage is real.
The guilt is real.
The depression is real.
The struggle is real.
If it’s your struggle – stay strong, focused, and disciplined.
If it’s not – STFU.
Group fitness instructors, personal trainers, gym management messaging, industry magazines go a little crazy at this time of year linking the balance game of calorie consumption and calorie burn.
“Yes, Zumba is on through the holidays! Come burn that ham off your butt in our best class of the year!”
“Go ahead, indulge. We’ve got your back…but you have to come back to the gym.”
“One piece of fruit cake = 2.5 Spinning® classes.”
Physiologically the calorie burn (depending on a lot of factors regarding your age and metabolism, your muscle mass and more) in physical activity does not cover a lot of excess calories. It just doesn’t. But this is not entirely the point.
As my friend points out, “If this is your struggle…” you are better off not consuming the calories in the first place. You are not fit enough, nor do you have the time to crank out the excess calories on a treadmill or a CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day).
Trainers (and the fitness industry at large) who do not struggle with the metabolism issues that obese people struggle with are stuck in simple math mode which is not applicable to all people. It is irresponsible to link overindulgence of food (and specifically calories) with a simplistic remedy to “burn it off.”
The food on the table is not the problem
I could argue that the food on your fork is not even the problem. The biggest challenge for people who wish to avoid unnecessary (but seemingly inevitable) weight gain across the holiday seasons is this ingrained permission we give ourselves for “cheat day,” – a concept like releasing the stress valve…you’ve worked so hard…if you don’t indulge a little you’re going to indulge a lot. Along with “cheat day” is a closely related “specialness” of the holiday and the abundance of food.
You can be grateful for water and not drink from a fire hydrant at full release.
You can be grateful for electricity without sticking a fork in a socket.
You can be grateful for toothpaste without sucking down the whole tube.
(Side note: Gag.)
Taking in more than you need is not a treat. It is harmful and thwarts even the best of intentions.
Acknowledge and Appreciate
At Global Fitness, we do free monthly challenges for our Facebook community. For the month of November, we challenged you to the ABC Diet – the Anything But Crap Diet. You got to define what “crap” was and determine to eliminate it from your month. Did you do it? You can still try!
In December, we have a new challenge coming. Acknowledge and Appreciate.
The details are coming, but we hope you use this to carry you through the Days of Daze over the Holidays… Perhaps we’ll call it the Holidaze…
When it comes to the bounty of food, take a moment to stop and contemplate. Acknowledge the time and effort it took to prepare the food. Acknowledge the family history and love that comes with that food – the connection we feel over sharing a meal. Appreciate the aroma in the room – detect the different smells. Let the aroma of home cooking fill you. Notice the colors. Take a moment of gratitude for the farmers who keep us fed. This slowing down to Acknowledge and Appreciate – indulge in this.
Need help with portion control? Check out this info-graphic by our friends at Precision Nutrition.
Need help shifting toward a healthier, fitter you? Do not wait for Monday. Do not wait for the New Year. Our motto at Global Fitness is “You know you should and I know you can!” Mia and Cori can get you through the season – content and on track. We don’t diet or restrict calories. We help you determine what “enough” is, relax in the abundance without having to indulge in the abundance and help keep you accountable to your scale, measuring tape and vital energy.
Don’t forget to check out our pilot Holiday Challenge – a first of its kind, never to be seen again, drop dead pricing – 30 days of 30 minutes/day training program for the crazy low price (our gift to you) of $30. Registration for a limited number of people opening soon.