I’m not sure what part of the world you live in, but I live in the Great White North and Christmas isn’t Christmas unless there’s a dusting of snow on Baby Jesus’ birthday. Then that’s it for me, no more snow, I want it gone. Don’t get me wrong, Canadian winters can be utterly stunning, especially when you feel like you’re living within a picturesque snow globe, but then there’s this….
And the older I get, I don’t want to shovel THIS anymore. Or drive in it. Or get stuck in it. My mind totally understands the appeal of being a snowbird, unfortunately my wallet doesn’t comprehend the concept.
Another problem with getting older is weight loss becomes harder to achieve. It seems with every passing year it’s exponentially more difficult to lose the same pound. Along with all the other gifts that come with aging: seniors’ discounts at Shoppers, neck wattle, and cataracts, our metabolism slows down. I’m convinced mine died in 1998. According to WebMD, “metabolism tends to decelerate by about 5% for every decade of life past age 40”, and in order to maintain our weight we have to eat 100 calories less a day – how the heck do we do that over the holidays, let alone the rest of the year? One-hundred calories equates to 1 shortbread cookie, or 2.5 Quality Street chocolates, or 2 candy canes! Wait, it gets worse… if we want to lose weight, we might as well start eating the grocery store flyers because that’s the closest we’ll get to food without packing on the pounds!
Does this mean those of us north of 40 should wire our jaws shut, or become calorie-pinching Scrooges during the holidays? I hope not – I want to jingle my bells and get my ho-ho-ho on this season! So how do we deck the halls and enjoy Aunt Gertie’s famous mozzarella and salami turkey stuffing without worrying we’ll still be wearing it on our hips after St. Nick is long gone and sunning himself on some beach in the Caribbean?
One word – PLAN. For me I define it as: Prepare. List. Adjust. Negotiate.
I’m starting to learn that I must be deliberate with my choices – preparing my menu in advance, shopping with a grocery list in hand, journaling in my food diary, etc., but also being flexible so that I can adjust where needed and negotiate situations that I did not anticipate. So this season my plan includes: moderation, opting for lighter versions of my favourite holiday food, and squeezing in a few extra exercise sessions – especially resistance training. I believe this is my best strategy to keep my weight down and my spirits up this season.
Change begins with seemingly small decisions, like eliminating our hidden foods, or buying less – which is lighter on our pocketbook as well as our waistlines – and over time, healthy habits take root and lead us a healthier version of ourselves.
I wish you all a very Merry and Healthy Christmas and Happy New Year!