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21 Dec 2020

Holiday Pains

Fat Turkey

Just a handful of tips for the holidays to keep you feeling fine!

It likely comes as no surprise that the holidays can create a few bad habits. Not likely lifelong habits, but seasonal habits. One such bad habit is the tendency to drink or eat a bit too much and a bit too much of what we shouldn’t! Last year, I put on about 7 – 10 pounds. I’m guessing because I didn’t weight myself for about two weeks after New Year’s… I know it wasn’t going to be pretty. So, 7 is an actual number, and 10 is an estimate of how bad it might have actually been!

Am I alone in those numbers? Well, yes and no. When I did a google search, I found one study citing that between American Thanksgiving and Christmas, the average American put on about 1.5 pounds. I found another research paper that said that over the holidays the average American gained over 5 pounds. I couldn’t find any Canadian statistics… but I think I’m safe to say that last year, I was an ‘over-achiever’!!!

This year, I am going to try to be better… and by better, I mean an ‘under-achiever’ in the weight gain department! 

It’s not going to be easy. Our lunch room has so many amazing treats and goodies that have been brought in. On work days, it’s pretty darn hard to resist. So, I don’t! I resist temptations on the days I’m not at the clinic. 

There are a couple of things I’ve noticed:

1. On my clinic days (aka eat chocolates and goodies days), my joints hurt a bit more than normal. This actually makes sense if we look what health gurus advise that we avoid eating in order to reduce inflammation. (P.S. Here’s a general list: Added sugars, processed meats or excessive amounts of red meat, gluten, highly processed foods, alcohol, certain vegetable oils, excessive amounts of salt, Advanced glycation end product (AGE) foods – such as fried foods, American cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, and foods that are fried or high fat meats that are cooked in certain ways.

2. I retain water on my clinic-binge-eating days. So, on my non-clinic days (when I utilize a strategy that I will share below), I urinate like a thoroughbred (aka pee like a racehorse). So, all of that not-so-good-for-me food messes with my normal metabolic processes it would seem.

3. I don’t exercise on my clinic days either. This tends to impact my digestion as well. Let’s just say that when I have the time to move… my digestive tract ‘moves’ too! And when my digestive tract moves, I feel better!

So, since Christmas is once a year, and those treats are only there in the clinic kitchen (or at home) for just a short time of the year, I have adopted a strategy to keep me from becoming a waddling turkey this year!

This year, I am being extra diligent about ‘time restricted feeding’ and ‘intermittent fasting’ on alternate days. So, on a work day, I enjoy the goodies and maybe have a glass of wine when I get home. On the alternate days, I don’t eat until noon or later and try to keep my calorie intake below 900 calories. On the non-work days, I try to make a point of walking (outside or on my land treadmill), which seems to help my digestive tract and I am better at remembering my vitamins. Vitamin C also helps the digestive tract, as does Magnesium… and both are good for inflammation. Right now (both because of the pandemic and because of the lack of sunlight) I am diligent about getting 4000 – 6000 IU of vitamin D. Vitamin D is also good for sleep, which tends to help with healing and restoration as well.

PS. Here are two great YouTube videos on Vitamin D! (Vitamin D and Covid-19) (Vitamin D and sleep)

I am also aware that when Christmas is over and we go back to ‘normal’… that to get rid of that 1.5 pounds (I’m aiming lower this year!!!), I will have to rely much more of diet than exercise. Research shows that diet changes can attribute to 60 – 80% of weight loss, whereas exercise only contributes about 10 – 20%.

All in all, I think I’m better prepared this year heading into this holiday season than last year, and I hope this helps some of you to have a less painful, less inflamed, less bloated, less backed up, less over-achieving weight gain holiday as well!

Cheers!  Laurie