How to Not End the Year Fatter than You Are Now

Did you know that the average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day? And if you’re like me you gave two different Thanksgiving dinners to attend.  That reminds me – put Pepto-Bismol on the shopping list!

For many of us, the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day become one long excuse to eat and drink to our heart’s content  I’ve taken that to the Nth degree and have been on the 12 month plan.  Not my  best idea.  Time to make some changes.

Holiday parties and gatherings with family and friends can take a toll on our willpower and our waistlines which is why millions of us pledge to go on a diet come January 1st. Here are some tips to make the holidays less weighty, and perhaps start the new year with a few less pounds to lose.

  1. Exercise. Not only is exercise a great way to burn off a lot of those extra calories you’ll be consuming, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Have a houseload of guests? Too many obligations and not enough time to get it all done? Take a break and take a walk, each and every day.
  2. Eat before you go out. Lots of us think that by not eating before we go out, we’re saving calories that we can use up while we’re out. Makes sense but often, we eat more than we normally would because we’re starving. Have a healthy meal, or even an apple and a glass of water before you go out and you’ll likely eat less later.
  3. Adapt old traditions. Make the traditions you’ve always enjoyed healthier.  Here’s an idea: use those cookie cutters to make fun holiday shapes out of cheese instead of cookie dough.
  4. Start new traditions. How about a healthy recipe exchange amongst your friends and family?  Everyone can bring their favorite healthy dish and written copies of the recipe to taste and share.
  5. Listen to you. If you feel stressed out and want to leave a party or get away from your family and friends for a bit, do it. Don’t force yourself to be uncomfortable, neither you nor any-one around you will have any fun.
  6. Remember what’s important. We all wish we were thinner and that our houses were cleaner, but that’s not why we get together with family and friends and it shouldn’t diminish our enjoyment of these social events. If you’re going out, don’t obsess over how you look; no one else will notice that you’re less than perfect. If you’re having people over, don’t frantically clean if you don’t have the time (except the toilet – that must be done, especially of you have a four-year-old with less-than-perfect aim). The point is to spend time with the people you care about, celebrate life and have fun.

Adapted from an article in Husband’s company newsletter.   Some are theirs as I found them, some of theirs I changed, and  some are all mine.  Please don’t sue me.

Water Pistols and Mimosas

I love traditions. Holiday traditions like decorating the tree to the soothing sounds of Frank Sinatra, birthday traditions like allowing the birthday person to dictate the day’s menu, wedding traditions like wearing your Mom’s necklace – they all make my heart happy. It’s a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself, being a blip on a timeline that started long ago, instead of being the beginning and the end. It’s knowing that others before me have had the same fun I’m having.

Son is only three and though he’s in preschool it’s only two days a week, and it’s not on a school year calendar. Once he is on a somewhat regular calendar I want to start some new school traditions, and I’m going to use my sister’s traditions as a starting off point…

The other night I was on the phone with her and she told me this great story. Every year on the last day of school the Moms in her neighborhood meet the bus with water pistols in hand and promptly start a water fight with the kids as they are getting off the bus. Everyone then heads over to the pool for a School’s Out! Party, and summer has officially begun.

I just love that. They’ve been doing it since he started school, and it’s become something everyone really looks forward to.

This year, though, my nephew tried to prepare. My sister had said nothing about the last day of school plans, but it seems my nephew remembered on his own. The day before he told my sister, “Mom, I’m just going to ride my bike over to the bus stop and come right back. I don’t want you to worry about it.” When she questioned him further he added, very nonchalantly, “I’m just going for a ride with my water pistol, but if I forget to bring it back I don’t want you to worry about it.”

Uh huh.

Later that night he laid out his clothes for the next day and instead of underwear he laid out a swimsuit. “Don’t worry about that, Mom. I just feel like wearing one. Just forget it.”

The next day the Moms were waiting, the water fight was on and the pool party was a blast! Terrific memories were made for each and every kid, and each and every Mom.

The kids aren’t the only ones to have school traditions. Come fall, when it’s time to go back to school after a long, activity-filled summer, my sister will do her yearly tradition to mark the beginning of the school year.

Every year on the first day of school she walks my nephew to the bus and sees him on his way. Then she goes home, takes out the orange juice and the champagne and waits for the other Moms in the neighborhood to arrive for their very own Back to School party.

Isn’t that great? I love it.

I want to have some of our own traditions, too, and I’m sure they’ll develop naturally.

Traditions help mark special days in our lives. What are some of your favorite traditions – back to school or otherwise?

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