This was written by Jen Waak, who pens a monthly health column for The Solopreneur Life.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. The clocks just turned back and Thanksgiving is two weeks away. That means that the official start of the holiday overeating season is almost here.
There are some interesting statistics around holiday weight gain—the average weight gain is only a pound, but that pound tends not to ever come back off. Even more fascinating, individuals who are already overweight tend to put on 5 to 7 pounds.
As solopreneurs, we get to avoid (not-so-)well-intentioned co-workers bringing in fruitcake and cookies “to share,” but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have our fair share of temptations during the holiday season. As a matter of fact – it’s oftentimes worse! We’re already making cookies and candy for the family, and it’s just there—tempting us, taunting us, and virtually BEGGING to be eaten.
So, how DOES the health-conscious solopreneur make it through the holiday season without having to let their belt out a notch?
(And just so you know, buying all new clothes or switching to elastic-waist pants is cheating. Let’s talk about a real solution.)
In Sync With Your Body’s Rhythms
Most people writing columns similar to this take one of two positions. The first group says that you still need to count your calories, stay reasonable, and lower your expectations for weight loss. The other group talks about how it’s only one day, and that it takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound, and says, “don’t worry about it.”
My approach blends both of these theories, and the bonus is that it’s something you can use every day for the rest of your life. Plus, it works with the body’s natural rhythms, processes food, and sends hunger signals.
First of all, forget about daily caloric totals. Note, I did not tell you to stop keeping track of what you eat!
Instead, keep track of your weekly and monthly averages. That way, you are not worrying about coming in at exactly 1,500 calories (or whatever that magical number is for you) every single day. The idea is to work to get your averages to 1,500 calories. This gives you the wiggle-room you need to live your life.
One day—or 24 hours—is an arbitrary number from our body’s standpoint. And, it’s fairly meaningless in the great scheme of all things weight-loss:
• In one day you can really blow your caloric totals for the week. A couple pieces of pizza (1 slice = 300 calories), ice cream (a pint of Cherry Garcia = 520 calories), and a piece of pie after every meal (1 slice pumpkin pie = 230 calories).
• Activity levels impact how hungry we are. It makes sense that if you work extra hard for a few days, you will want more food, and vice versa.
• Hormones and other internal rhythms affect our hunger levels.
• Stress and emotion can cause us to overeat or undereat.
If one day ends up at 1,200 calories because you got busy and forgot to eat, that’s fine. If another day you eat 1,800 because you had a cookie, don’t worry about it. Just know that you will need to make that up some time soon. The important part is that it averages out in the end.
How Do You Cope With Holiday Eating?
Please share your thoughts below in the comments.