Thoughts on a Healthy Holiday

I am one of those weirdos who actually really loves to work out.

No, really.  I LOVE it.  I try to sweat at least once a day.

It clears my head and my body of stress and toxins.  I actually like to put in a little elliptical time in the afternoon, after I’ve gotten a few bits of power vinyasa yoga in earlier in the day.  But this is just me.  If I don’t do a bit of cardio or a light interval every day, I get antsy, bored and jumpy.  Back when I compulsively exercised, this meant I would go to the gym and stay there until I hit 800 on the “Calories Burned” meter on the elliptical.  Sometimes I would even go to 1000.  This only wore me out and didn’t cause me to lose a single pound.  Now that I’ve backed off to about 40 minutes of elliptical a day (sometimes 35 if I do yoga as well), I’ve actually lost a pound or two.  And I am proud to say I have not attempted to burn 800 calories on any sort of machine for the past 10 months, and it’s only recently due to vast improvements in my calorie intake that I’ve managed to get up to 500 again.  NEVER will I try to go past 600, and I’ve learned to step off the machine if I feel like I’ve worked to fatigue.

I LIVE for intervals.  I didn’t lose the last twenty pounds until I cleaned up my bingeing AND I started doing intervals on the elliptical.  By alternating easy resistance with difficult resistance, your body is shocked into burning fat.  When I ran this year, yes I stayed thin, but my muscles were nonexistent.  Doing yoga and reincorporating some light weights has seriously pronounced my muscles again.  When it comes right down to it, I’d rather be ripped than slender.

During the holidays, my eating disorder would swing into high gear.  This used to mean I would eat everything in sight and gain ten pounds, the way a lot of people do.  However much I don’t want to do that this year, I also don’t want to do what I did last year, which was punish myself at the gym.

So…what do I plan to do this year?

My motto, as I’ve already stated here, is simple: I do NOT see the holidays as a reason to binge eat every single day on cookies.  There is no need for that.  Plus, there is just too much fun to be had when you’re with family and friends.  I don’t want to spend all day and all night slaving in the gym.  It wears you out.

This works for me, because I am not only a survivor of an eating disorder, I am also dealing with the fallout from my binge eating days.  This is the first Christmas of my life where I am free from any disordered eating.  If I want a cookie, I will have it.  But my personality type can’t allow me to have it in the middle of the day.  Everything has its place.

So, my plan is simple: 20-45 minutes of light elliptical cardio (depending on the day), six days a week, with hot yoga 4 times a week.

But really, working out has NEVER been an issue for me.  Food is.  I plan on baking a lot of cookies, having candy and ice cream, and lots of delicious food.  But I don’t want to go overboard.

So I plan on having one sweet a day.  That’s right.  One delicious, decadent, luscious dessert every single day after dinner.  An amazing Christmas cookie.  A few pieces of dark chocolate.   The broken body parts of a gingerbread man.  Peppermint hot chocolate, or peppermint ice cream with a candy cane crushed on top. If you don’t deny yourself anything, you won’t want to gorge.  Trust me.  Trust yourself.  

One thing that might trip me up is that my workouts have gone way down since I stopped running.  But, thankfully so has my appetite, so I’ve found myself naturally eating less.

Basically, my point is this: Eat three big meals a day, and you won’t feel the urge to snack.  I’ve been following the Ayurvedic principle of three meals a day (three BIG meals, with lunch being close to 600 calories), and I’ve never felt better in my life.  Now, that doesn’t work for everyone, but it sure works for me! I used to get really worried if I missed my granola bar snack at 4 PM.  My body would start to panic, causing my blood sugar to drop.  But now, I just bulk up my lunch and have a very light snack of perhaps a few dates in the afternoon, and all is well.  I’ve also pumped up my fat intake so I feel nourished and full during these cold winter months (plus it seriously helps my hair).

However, I AM going to eat a lot on Christmas Day, and on New Year’s Eve.  It’s just a natural thing.  And wine will be imbibed.  And I can’t resist my friend’s annual New Year’s Eve present of chocolate dipped delights.  If I follow a proper healthy plan for the rest of the holiday season, and have time for daily indulgences, I’m sure I’ll survive this holiday happy, healthy, and whole.

Published by The Curious Ally Cat

I'm a 34 year old adjunct professor and writer in Connecticut. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late.

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