Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Holidays: Making Spirits and Scales Soar

It starts with Thanksgiving, sometimes several rounds of eating, depending on your group of family and friends. The Christmas parties come next: work, clients, gym, book club, to name a few. Christmas itself is usually multiple occurrences of cookies and comfort food, too. New Year's Eve is next, with surefire snacking until the wee hours of the New Year. Of course, between all of these celebrations, your schedule is probably so packed that the drive-through seems like a sensible solution to the state of "hangry" you find yourself in.

Come January 2nd, you look in the mirror and hardly recognize the person staring back at you who looks at least 20lbs heavier than you know you are. You become one of the thousands of people joining a gym to fight off the bulge for another 1-11 months, until the holidays come again.

Sound familiar? This year, I'm bound and determined to NOT have that as my story. My job is in it's second year of "The Holiday Weight Maintenance Challenge", from which you win a prize if you can maintain your weight from before Thanksgiving through the New Year within a 2 lb window. I admit that last year, I barely made it into the window, for shame.

To help avoid the danger zone this year, I'm participating in the gym's "Holiday Nutrition Challenge", which has laid out five nutritional stages that CrossFit encourages (Eating Clean, Gluten Free, Zone, Paleo, Eat to Perform), and challenges you to pick one that is one step above where you currently are and stick to it for 20 days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The idea is that you will be building good habits and encouraging good food choices at holiday events which will offset any weight gain brought on by holiday indulgences.

Nick and I picked the Eating Clean phase to try to stick to, with a smattering of the Gluten Free stage. We already ate pretty clean, but I knew that I definitely wanted to push myself to eliminate more processed foods and added sugar and salt from my diet. The Monday night after Thanksgiving, we went on a huge shopping trip and collected a serious stock of veggies, sweet potatoes, chicken and fish.

It makes sense, right? Sure, we have to get up a little earlier or take a little more time out of our evenings to prepare healthy dinners and brown bag lunches, but living a long and healthy life while getting a boost towards our fitness goals is certainly worth it. 

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