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.

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Free Yourself

Last night was the first night of Passover, the Jewish holiday where we celebrate the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and their freedom from slavery.

As I was sitting at our Seder last night I started thinking about slavery and its many forms. There’s the type of slavery that the Jews experienced in Egypt and that African Americans experienced right here in the USA. Insidious and heinous, these types of slavery are not choices, not voluntary. The slaves had little or no control over their lives. A horrible way to live…

Then I started thinking about other types of slavery. Slavery to a job or career. Slavery to debt, or weight, or fashion. Slavery to keeping up with the Joneses, or philately, or being right. Slavery to perfectionism, or isolation or caffeine.

These types of slavery are different because we’re slaves by choice. We started it. Only we can take back the control we’ve always had and choose to make better, healthier choices.

There’s a difference between enjoying something and being a slave to it.

Is there anything you’re a slave to? Well, this is Passover. Whether you’re Jewish or not you can still choose to be free from something that has control over you. Free from this moment on. Make your own emancipation proclamation.

Free yourself today. I am.

Dr. Phil Drives Me Nuts

Am I the only one who doesn’t trust that guy? I’m not a watcher of his show, but during the past few weeks while enjoying all of the benefits of InfectionsRUs, sometimes I was just too tired to change the channel. Besides, what good is a really good illness if you can’t enjoy really bad television?

There are plenty of adjectives to describe him – sanctimonious, arrogant, self-righteous, self-aggrandizing come to mind. Then there’s condescending, pretentious and obnoxious.

Don’t get me wrong – I completely support most of his messages – personal responsibility and accountability, say what you mean and mean what you say, etc. Yay! All really great concepts. But when a decidedly un-svelte Phil calls someone on their weight, the unspoken hypocrisy makes a very good message lose impact. There’s something do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I do about that, and who gets inspired that way? Not me.

But it’s not about the weight. When he’s talking about adultery I’m thinking, “I’ll bet he’s cheated.” When he’s blustering about honesty and integrity I’m guffawing (not a pretty sight, especially when whatever I’m drinking comes out my nose).

He talks a really good talk, but does he walk the walk? There’s just something missing that niggles at me every time I see or hear him. It’s a gut feeling that I couldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. A lack of integrity. And it’s not about the increasingly exploitative bent his program has taken, either.

For me it’s hard to trust the message if I don’t trust the messenger. And although I’m not a huge fan of Oprah’s show (I admit I’d rather watch Judge Judy), I like her. And I think Oprah has lots of integrity. Her support and faith in a buffoon like Dr. Phil has me questioning her judgment.

And from what I hear, that’s something that could get me shot in 49 states. And the District of Columbia.

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