Burning Off Surplus Holiday Calories
How many reading recall, “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
from the timeless wonder, the Nutcracker ballet? Isn’t it interesting that almost without exception, the daintiest dancer in the entire Christmas classic is always the dancer chosen for the song? While it looks superb, is it not just a little ironic that a “sugar plumb” (ie junk food) fairy would be anything other massive? Holiday snacking and enjoyment can lead to enough weight gain that the sugar plum fairy should look like a tsu-mo wrestler, not a dainty ballerina.
All jokes aside, it is not too far fetched of an idea in terms of analogy. That is because even if the willpower holds up just fine, sometimes it is impossible to not eat these fatty foods. There may be not other option available. What is someone going to do at the office party, starve? That is even more unhealthy. It is not likely that organic salads, tofu, and almond milk is going to be an option. Therefore, it is important to arrive into the season with the right mindset. This less than optimal eating happens every year, and as long as it stops as of January 2nd, such eating usually does not present itself as a body altering problem to anyone. The important first step is to freeze or outright give away all of the leftover junk food that may not have been eaten for the event that it was purchased for. Having a few dozen chocolate brownies in the leftover bin after the holidays is never a healthy idea.
With that in mind, there are also a number of other things that can be done to help with weight management and calorie shedding during the holiday season. Owning even a used and highly weathered walking machine is a huge help. If you are going to eat a plate full of Christmas cookies, then do so on the treadmill…or for the less graceful as soon as they are consumed. Look up how many calories are on the item being eaten, and adjust the walk accordingly. Having a reliable pair of walking or running shoes will only aid in the cause.
While on the topic of caloric intake on snacks, there are ways to greatly decrease the fat content of even the most notorious of foods. There are even (all but) fat free cheese cakes(1)! For some, taking the recipe and altering a few ingredients to make the dish healthier is an adventure in food creation. Many find that they have really good outcomes when doing such culinary alterations. For others, this can be a “recipe” for disaster. If this is the case, remember the our friend the internet is never far away. Try typing the words “fat free chocolate delicious” into a search engine, for just one example. “Amazing low calorie peanut butter fudge”, for another. You get the point.
Then there is the matter of shedding the pounds if even all of these ideas did not fully work. If this is the case, there are calorie burning calculators all over the internet, as well. While some people use these after a run to judge how many calories were burned, it is often best to work backwards, and type in what the desired calories shed need to be first. Then the workout can be planned around it. Establishing the goal before the run is much more helpful than doing it the other way around.
Consider adding a walk to the end of a run. For some runners, this is an easy choice that makes a noticeable difference rather quickly. In order for this to work effectively, the runner should conduct a normal run, let’s say five miles, and then add upon the end a half mile to mile long walk. Some runners may choose to put the walk before the run, and that is also just as effective. The added miles will add up in no time, and it will be something that adds to overall endurance in the coming new year. In this regard, this while notion of holiday snacking could almost be seen as beneficial. (that is one way to spin it)
Also, in the weeks following, consider not eating any junk food at all. Cut out all sodas, and try to eat mostly salads that have little or no meat in them. Always consult ones doctor prior to employing any diet changes, but for many this option works quite well. Substituting nuts over meat is a way to stay healthy while doing this if one is not accustomed to an eating pattern such as this. Another option that does allow for a bit more meat is the Paleo Diet. This allows a wide variety of foods, and the Paleo Diet is very popular in circles where healthy eating matters as much as weight loss, which is should. Do remember that post Fukushima, it is best to consume only seafood from the East Coast when possible.
Lastly, there is the obvious answer. The best push-up that a person can do is to push-up from the table before they consume a third plate of figgy pudding, so to speak. Also, GET OUT! That’s right, get outside and walk. Go for a run and stick to the same routine that has always been adhered to. Remember to dress warmly and appropriately because it is wet clothes that are more of a threat to a runner than “catching a cold”. It is has been proven that cold weather does not make a person sick. Still, having shoes that are good at keeping the feet dry is vital. The same is true for using clothes that are made to not hold damp sweat against the runners skin, because that can be a bit dangerous.
If one is new to a healthier lifestyle, then there is not a more prudent time to begin a steady workout routine than during the holidays. By staying in shape and defeating the spare tire that stayed long past the twelve days of Christmas, runners will find that summer marathon and running season is far less daunting to face. Just remember, after this, you are out of the woods until Valentines Day….now about that box of heart shaped chocolates….