It’s that time of year when many people worry about those holiday pounds. Eggnog, fig pudding, sugar plums – all these indulgences threaten our waistlines and can make what should be a fun time of year rather torturous. It’s tough going to a Christmas party and seeing a table laden with a large selection of delectable goodies and feel that you must refrain from having one of everything. Or maybe two of everything.
One pound is 3600 calories. In order to lose one pound in one week, you would have to eliminate 600 calories every day (with Sundays off for good behavior). A 3 oz portion of roast chicken breast is only 140 calories. You would need to not eat nearly 13 oz (more than 3/4 of a pound) of chicken every day for one week to lose that one pound. That’s quite a bit.
Or perhaps you could exercise instead. A person who weighs 140 pounds burns 160 calories walking for 30 minutes. You would need to walk for nearly 2 hours every day for a week to lose one pound. Or you could run at a 6 mph pace and only have to exercise for 43 minutes every day to accomplish the same goal.
All the women’s magazines right now are full of advice about avoiding all these extra calories. Drink lots of water before meals or before going to a party. Fill up on the raw veggies before facing the dessert table. Honestly, if you feel you have to do these tricks, it would be better if you just stayed home and locked the doors. Pull a Healthy Choice frozen dinner out of the freezer and go to town.
My best advice for avoiding weight gain this time of year: forget about it. Eat your heart out. Don’t count any calories from December 24th through January 1st. You can go on a diet or start an exercise regime beginning January 2nd. For now hide the scale, wear clothes with some extra give in the waistband and enjoy yourself.
Not convinced? Still worried about how hard it is to lose a few pounds? Don’t think you can manage an extra 2 hours of walking every day? Let’s look at things the other way.
Suppose you are completely happy with your weight right now. Congratulations. You are in the minority! Let’s pretend you are happy with your weight. You would need to add 600 calories to your daily diet to gain a pound this week. Eggnog is 190 calories for 1/2 cup. You would have to drink 3 servings every day – every day – to gain one pound. It’d be worth it, I tell you! Suppose you love Hershey Kisses. It takes 24 of them every day for a week to gain that pound. You could do it, but it’s a lot of chocolate. Granted, it’s not too tough to have one serving of eggnog and a few Christmas cookies every day. Add to that one or two Hershey Kisses every time you pass by the candy dish and there you are a pound or two heavier. But in the end, isn’t that better than carrot sticks and water and trying to ignore those Russian tea cake cookies that are calling you by name?
Soon the cookies will be gone and the stores will even stop stocking eggnog. It wouldn’t be a new year without a resolution to lose weight. And failing that, Lent isn’t too far away.