Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One Hour Challenge

It's that time again.  Thanksgiving is 22 days away.  Christmas, 53 days away.  And we are just 59 short days away from 2012.  Woah!  I always have a hard time with the holidays.  See, I like to eat.  Thus, endurance training works well for me, because I get to eat what I want (within reason!) and then melt off those munchies by going for a long ride or run (no, that's not why I do it.  But it's certainly an added bonus, I'll tell ya!).  However, for most of the world, myself included, November-December = off season.  Darnit.  How to manage?  Well, I am by no means an expert, but here's how I plan to get through the next 59 days without a) depriving myself, b) being a total social loser, and c) without gaining 10 pounds!

1.  Follow the one hour a day challenge.  Every morning, I reset my trusty dusty Ironman stopwatch (yeah, its a 30 dollar watch most triathletes would laugh at, but hey, it works!) and aim to get in one hour of exercise a day.  30 minute swim at lunch?  Halfway there.  Add in 30 minutes of pilates or weights after work and it's a go.  Sometimes I get it all in in one shot, more often than not, in bits and pieces.  But it all adds up!
2.  Don't forget about NEAT!  Get up from your desk every half hour to stretch.  Pace while you're on the phone...or get a hands free and fold some laundry while catching up!  Forgo the snow blower and shovel the driveway....or at least the sidewalk.  It all adds up.  Our bodies were meant to be in motion, not sitting. 

3.  Go Shopping.  Yes, this goes against my money saving tips, I know.  Bear with me, we'll do a "How to Play for Less" for the holidays soon.  I'm talking about shopping for you.  Buy a piece of clothing that you can wear for holiday get togethers that is flattering, but form fitting in some way.  It's easier for us girls (Little black dress!) but guys can always but a new shirt or belt and keep tabs on the notch. I've got my eye on this baby right here.  Practical?  Probably not...but I know I'll hit up a sale and find a dress for 30 bucks or so, hang it on the door, and look at it every day when I'm tempted with my 5th cookie.  C'mon, you know you've been there.
4.  Help out the hostess.  Every year, we go to my cousin's for Christmas Eve.  It's such a wonderful time, full of Polish food (no gagging, it's yummy!), relatives, fun stories, and food FOOD FOOD!!  Of course I enjoy it (see next tip) but it's always wonderful to have at least one dish that I know I can indulge in without elasti-pants syndrome.  So I offer to help out!  Our traditional feast include french fries, which are yummy, but hardly health food.  So I make baked potato wedges and sweet potato fries....they are extremely popular at the table, I can load up, and I've helped out my awesome cousin, who is kind enough to host a dozen off us every year.  Win-win-win!
5.  Be discriminating.  It's the holidays.  Of COURSE there's gonna be alot of food.  The trick is to decide what's worth it, and what isn't.  Cousin Karen's chocolate oatmeal nut cookies and homemade pierogies?  WORTH IT.  Chocolate chip cookies and coleslaw?  Not so much.  I can have those anytime.
6.  Load up on the Good Stuff!   Good stuff does not always have to be high our family, we have homemade pasta sauce for dinner.  Super good, super high in veggies.  So I load up, and sub out pasta for spaghetti squash.  For Thanksgiving....sure there are the usual pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes...and also a ton of veggies!  Load up on the sweet potatoes, cranberries, broccoli, white meat and have a taste of the less nutritious indulgences.
7.  Play like a Kid.  Kids have a TON of energy, especially around the holidays!  We don't have any yet, but there are always the cousins and other relatives that do!  After dinner, chase a kid or two and play!  Option B-If there are no little guys around, bundle up after dinner and go for a stroll around the neighborhood.  It helps digestion and, of course, gives you room for those holiday desserts :-). 

So there ya go.  Moderation.  Moving.  And some planning.  And 2011 season will be the best yet!  Do you have any tips I forgot?

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