Every year I gain weight over the holidays. I know, we all do. But I’m talking like 10 or 12 pounds. And then I spend most of the following year trying to lose it only to regain it again. I refuse to do that this year. I refuse I tell you!
I mean every time I go to the gym someone tells me how fabulous I look after losing 16 pounds on their Just Lose It program. (Well, 12 pounds on the program and 4 after.) I can’t waddle into the gym in January fat from holiday gluttony. I’ve got a reputation to uphold.
This year, for the first time ever, I’m staying skinny over the holidays. And I’ll tell you how I’m doing it and how you can do it to.
I wouldn’t exactly call these holiday weight loss tips (because losing weight during the holidays doesn’t sound like any fun and in my opinion goes against nature), so let’s call them holiday weight-maintenance tips. That sounds doable. (Even if it doesn’t sound fun.)
Yeah, running sucks. I will admit that running is getting a (tiny) bit easier, but I’m not enjoying it any better. I hate every single heart-pounding, breath-stealing, body-jarring step I take, but I still aim for running a minimum of three miles three times a week. Why? Because runners are skinny. And honestly, I feel great when I’m done. (In a sore and tired and achy kind of way.)
And pu-leaze don’t tell me that you’re not a runner. Did I tell you that I hate running? I hate it! And I’m even pretty terrible at it. If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would take up running I would have told them to go take another hit of their crack pipe because that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. What kind of crazy person takes up running at the age of 48? That would be me. And as sucktastic as running is (and it is), it works.
That sounds weird, right? Why would you eat if you’re trying to maintain your weight? Because running makes you hungry. (You are running right?) Believe it or not if you’re not getting enough calories your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat. (Oh, the bitter irony.)
The trick is eating the right kinds of food. (But you already knew that right?) So (especially if you are working out) make sure you get a lot of protein – about 20 grams four times a day. I actually eat five times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner with 20 grams of protein at each meal and a mid-morning and afternoon snack with 10 grams of protein. And are you ready for the best part? I also eat carbs. That’s right – 30 grams at each meal and 15 grams at snack time. Again, you just need to eat the right carbs – sweet potatoes, fruit (especially grapefruit), quinoa, brown rice – all good carbs. Bread, pasta and corn chips – bad carbs. BTW – I do eat the bad carbs – look what I had for dinner the other night…
But trust me, this is the exception, not the rule. 99% of the time my dinner looks something like this:
Most days I eat very clean and I never skip meals even if I’m going to a party or a Happy Hour. Going to a party when you’re starving only makes you gorge your way through the buffet table. (As someone whose usual MO is to starve myself before a party so I can dive face first into the food table and stuff as much as humanly possible into my brie and cracker hole, I know what I’m talking about.)
So if you’re going to a dinner party, be sure to eat lunch. That way you’ll be hungry when you arrive, but not famished. If you’re heading out to an appetizer-fest (my absolute favorite), consider eating a light dinner before you go. Maybe 2-3 ounces of chicken with some green beans. That way you can still hang out by the party food table for a little bit, but you’ll be more likely to dip into it instead of swim in it.
Say no to wine. Say no to sugar. Say no to fun. Okay, that sounds a bit extreme. (And maybe even impossible.) Especially since our calendars are all a bit full this month. Why go to a cookie exchange if you can’t eat any cookies? What’s the point of Happy Hour if you can’t get happy? And what are you supposed to do at your friend’s wine tasting party? Compare the subtle differences of mineral strength in different types of bottled water?
Okay, you don’t have to say not to everything. (I certainly won’t be.) But on the nights that I am home this month I do plan on saying no. A lot. No wine with dinner (which totally sucks), no cookies after dinner (even though trust me, we have plenty), and no No NO to eggnog (I’m pretty sure that sticks to your ass faster and more permanently than anything).
No, I am not psychotic (much). I do realize that I just said to say no. But I’ll be saying no at home so I can say yes when I go out. Indulging is what the holidays are all about. Only this year I plan on indulging less. You’d better believe I’ll still be eating cheese. And shortbread cookies (my absolute favorite). And party drinks. Only this year I’m going to do it in (yeah, I’m gonna say it) moderation. Ugh, I know, I hate that word too. (Almost as much as I hate running.) But if moderation were fun or easy everyone would be skinny.
Oh, did I say that already? Well, you probably know that when you’re teaching someone something new, you have to repeat yourself. So I’m repeating myself. And I totally saw you sneak that extra cheese puff in your mouth when you thought no one was looking. (Or was that me?) So suck it up an get running. Otherwise you’ll be waddling the walk of shame into the gym in January.
And you don’t want to do that do you?