Laura Flynn Endres
It's the Holidays! Bring on the Calories!
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Summer… leisurely days filled with ice cream and hot dogs…
Holidays…. Massive buffet tables with your family’s favorites…
Winter…. Time to hole up and nestle in and eat more and move less…
Whatever your association with these calendar commitments, it’s normal to worry - or even assume - that with all these opportunities for over-eating and indulgence, you'll gain weight.
And it follows that we believe we shouldn’t focus on any sort of fitness or nutrition program before or during because what's the point? We're busy, treats are going to happen, we'll worry about that another day. (New Year's resolution!)
But Here's Where You're Wrong
You’ve heard that 3,500 calories equals 1 pound, right?
In other words, you must burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound.
But the opposite is true as well. You must overeat by 3,500 calories to gain a pound!
That means if your maintenance calorie level is 2,500 calories per day, you’d have to eat 6,000 calories to gain a pound in a day!
For perspective, most experts estimate that we take in about 3,000 calories in a typical Thanksgiving meal.
Assuming you might also eat one or two other meals that day, plus leftovers later on, let's say you do actually consume 5,000 or 6,000 calories that day. That means you’ll gain ONE POUND that day. (And that’s assuming you gain it and keep it.)
One measly pound!
Pardon me for a moment.... who the f*ck cares about one measly pound!?
(Calm yourself, Laura.)
Also, that pound is largely the result of an excess of sodium and carbs.
And you know what carbs are good for? ENERGY! So take a walk or a run, jump around, do some jumping jacks and squats and push-ups - use those carbs!
In the grand scheme of things, that one meal will not sabotage you.
Unless, however….. you don't stop there.
For many of us, it’s not that one meal that's the problem. It’s that once we “fall off” and over-indulge, we’re more likely to stay off and struggle to get back on track.
And it’s not even you or your willpower that’s to blame - it’s physiology!
Sugar and carbs can elevate your blood sugar, which is followed by a dip, and it’s in that dip that cravings hit. Your body is literally asking you to balance it out.
“Oops, went too high! Wait, now we’re too low. Please eat.”
For me, getting off this roller coaster as soon as possible is the answer.
Here’s how I do that:
Drink lots of water and tea
Immediately get back to eating reasonable portions and doing Eat Wait
Give away, freeze, or throw away leftovers (I keep and eat some, but not an excess)
Find ways to treat myself that don’t involve over-eating, like outings with friends or family, a movie, a visit to a holiday event
Now what do those habits remind me of.... oh, I remember! These are the ways you earn points in the game!
Regularly eating above maintenance calorie levels leads to weight gain.
Weight loss and gain is not linear, though; there are ups and downs. You have an ideal weight range, not number. My weight fluctuates within a 5-pound range.
Don't obsess about a pound up or down. Watch the trend of your range - is it gradually trending higher? Lower? Hovering about the same?
I just spent two weeks in Los Angeles working, seeing clients socially, seeing friends socially, and doing all my favorite local things.
I was busy busy busy - and I had ELEVEN social engagements that involved coffee, a meal, or drinks in 13 days.
Needless to say, I would leave for an outdoor brewery weighing a certain weight and the next morning I’d weigh up to 3 lbs more.
But when I wasn’t out wining and dining, I adhered to the strategies I listed above, I ate only game-compliant foods, I took power naps, I drank lots of water infused with ginger, cucumber, lime, and fresh mint (great for digestion!), and never missed a workout.
I wasn't perfect in my habits, but I stayed on track.
I’m home now, and my weight is in the normal range - despite so many restaurant meals and more alcohol than usual!
(What? I’m human!)
Another thing that comes with holidays is stress and a slammed schedule. You still have to work and run the household and manage the kids, and now you have a to create a magical holiday with all the trimmings for your ungrateful family!
When you’re busier than usual, and more stressed than usual, you won’t exercise as often or get all your steps in or get enough sleep or remember to drink water or make time for yourself or do any of the self-care activities that help you make sensible choices and keep your stress level down.
:::pant pant pant:::
So here’s my advice.
* Enjoy the holidays and gatherings
* Enjoy the foods of the season
* Don’t over-think it and don’t over-worry. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to adopt a “f*ck it” attitude which leads to more choices that don’t support your physical OR emotional health
* Get right back on track - you know what to do. So DO IT.
And if you’re carb-loaded and need a butt kickin’ you know I’m your girl!