Welcome to December. It feels like just yesterday I was complaining about the seemingly unending heat. Time, you sure do fly.
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is affectionately known as the eating season. And it’s true. To me, the holidays are about devouring goodies just as much as they’re about spending time with loved ones.
On holiday weight gain
And obviously you- or most of you- agree. I mean, don’t we hear people cry all the time that they gained 5 or 10 lbs. over the holidays?
Clearly, most of those people are exaggerating. But there is slight merit to these complaints. Most of us pack on an entire pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. (source)
Stop reading now if you think this post is going to be chock-full of tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain. Quite the contrary, my friends.
Instead of depriving myself, I prefer to enjoy the eating season to its fullest. For me, the pumpkin pie, gingerbread men, eggnog, and other holiday treats are worth the one pound weight gain.
It amazes me how wrapped up we can get in our waistlines. For example, shall we look at this conversation I had with my nameless friend the other day?
Me: Hi Nameless, how was your Thanksgiving?
Nameless: Good, but I ate SO much. I am so disgusting and fat. I gained 3 lbs.
Me: No you didn’t. It’s water weight and you’ll be back to normal in a few days.
Nameless: No, I won’t. I need to get my eating under control now or else I’ll gain 10 lbs. by New Year’s!
Me: No, you won’t.
Nameless: Yes, I will. I would be a blimp if I gained 10 lbs. It would be horrible.
Me: Clearly, the worst thing in the world.
Nameless: Right?! I’m going on a diet. I will lose these 3 lbs. plus 5 more by New Year’s.
Me: I’m glad we live in different states…
I mean seriously, who would you rather be? The girl who deprives herself of all festive goodies and maintains her waistline? Or the girl who indulges in plates and glasses of holiday cheer and puts on a single pound?
Of course, I’m not saying the holidays are a reason to throw all healthy eating habits and exercise routines to the wind until January 1. But for many of us, reasonably indulging is good for the mind, and not so bad for the body.
You better believe I’m going to own that extra pound. Watch out, snow-dusted cookies and peppermint sticks. I’m coming for you
If you don't share my beliefs, that's fine. Just do me a favor, and don't whine to your friends
How do you approach holiday eating? Do you indulge without borders, within reason, or not at all? Honestly, I always go way overboard but keep up my exercise routine so it’s never too big of a deal.
Why you should exercise vs. why you do exercise
I’m pretty sure each one of you is well aware of why you should be physically active. A lower risk of killers like heart disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes. A better mood, more energy, and a longer life expectancy, among many other reasons (source).
But is that why you do exercise?
This answer will be different for each person, but reducing my risk of metabolic syndrome is not what gets me out the door everyday. I think about how my active lifestyle helps my health every now and then, but it’s definitely not my main motive to move. (I know, bad health educator.)
Why do I exercise?
When people ask me this question, it usually comes back to running. I’m training for X race, trying to improve my speed, keep up my fitness in the off season, etc.
But if I was told tomorrow I could never run another race again, I wouldn’t stop exercising? Hell no.
I exercise because I like how it makes me feel.
After completely gorging myself on Thanksgiving and the day after, I felt awful. Despite running a turkey trot on Thursday and an easy run on Friday, I felt bloated and sluggish. I woke up Saturday with a stomach ache and no motivation. But I miraculously put on my running shoes and felt immeasurably better once I got moving.
I’m not going to lie. It took about 9 miles of running for my “full” feeling to mostly disappear. Even after completing 12 miles, I still felt a bit “off”. Luckily, hubby and furball were up for a hike.
The easy hike was so beautiful and exactly what my body needed. And I couldn’t believe how much better it made me feel. Exercise is such an amazing gift. (I proceeded to gorge myself again to the point of pain once we returned to my in-laws but that’s beside the point ).
This really got me thinking. If you asked me in college why I exercised all the time it was to improve how I looked, not how I felt. I’m not sure when or how my motives changed, but I am so glad they did. You just can’t beat the feeling of completing a good workout
What gets you moving?
Gobble, gobble, gobble! Happy Thanksgiving, folks
I cannot think of any better way to kick off a day of thanks (and a 4 day weekend) than with a fun race.
Well, it would be better if friends were there...
And so did my hubby. I had a goal to beat hubby because I hoped his legs were still sore from his Ironman. But, that didn’t happen He still beat me by almost a minute even though he was tired and sick all week. Not cool.
As far as personal time goals for this race, I didn’t know what to expect. I have not done speedwork since tapering for marathon attempt one began almost two months ago.
But I also haven’t run any 5 mile races since last Thanksgiving. My PR is old. All I had to do was keep it below an 8:15 pace, so I knew I’d PR.
This wasn’t going to be my fastest 5 miles ever, but probably my fastest 5 mile race… if that makes sense. I was cool with that.
Close to 8,000 people ran this rainy race.
I started at a conservative pace, dodging strollers and puddles. Before I knew it, the race was half way done. Short races are awesome like that. Note to self, do them more often.
Since I didn’t start out like a bat out of hell, I never burned out. In fact, I felt comfortably uncomfortable the entire race. All of my miles were right around 7:20- exect mile 3 which had a never-ending hill so that was 7:29).
I shocked myself and finished under 37 minutes. An 8k PR of 36:40 (gun time), 7:22 pace. I didn’t think I had it in me
The best part? (Well second best after the cool turkey shirt.) No stomach problems! My lactose-free diet is not fun, but I feel SO much better.
We’re off to my in-laws on the other side of the state for the long holiday weekend. May you all have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.
Have you ever done a turkey trot? Since we moved here last year, I’ve wanted to organize one in my community (I live in a small town right outside Charlotte). But I can only imagine the headache race organizing would cause.