You really need a plan

I’ve deleted three attempts at writing a post for today, because they were all maudlin whining about my lack of success at trying to lose weight.  And honestly, that’s not what I want to write about.  So, let me try a different tactic.  First, for no particular reason other than I want to, I’m going to share one of my current favorite Christmas songs.

And now, with that happy music in my ears, I’m going to drag myself out of my funk.  Because this is a hard time of the year to exercise and try to lose weight.  we’re between calorie-laden Thanksgiving holiday and the calorie-laden Christmas holiday, making our way through the minefields of fudge and Christmas cookies and office parties and all.  The days are getting shorter, the temperature is falling, and if you’re like me all you want to do is curl up under a quilt and hibernate until spring.  I love cold Christmas weather, but what I love about cold Christmas weather is bundling up, staying indoors, and sipping hot chocolate while watching old Christmas movies.

What I don’t love about cold Christmas weather is trying to go finish walking five and a half miles in the cold.  That’s a recipe for a hacking cough, in my experience.  And treadmills are boring.

Oops.  I’m whining again.  In short, this is a hard time of the year to do a lot of exercise and to eat sensibly.  But it’s not impossible.  I managed to hit my calorie goals and work out yesterday, as proof of that.  Which is where I’m tempted to say something like “it just requires some discipline”, but that’s not helpful.  Not in the slightest.  Because it doesn’t say anything useful.  What’s useful is to say that it requires having a plan.  A realistic plan.  Here’s mine:

  1. Keep walking.  Sure, it’s cold outside.  But a whole lot of my walking – 3.5 to 4 miles of walking – happens at work as I walk the halls and climb the stairs and travel from my car to my desk and back.  So, by the time I’m getting my son to bed, I typically have around a mile or less left to cover.  And boring or not, if it’s too cold to go outside and walk then I’ve got easy access to a treadmill.  And I’ve got headphones.
  2. Eat sensibly.  I love food, and I especially love the kind of sugary dessert food that everybody likes to make and share at this time of year.  Chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter fudge?  Yes, please!  And you know what?  There’s nothing wrong with that in the slightest.  As long as I remember that I don’t need to have a dozen cookies and a pound of fudge for lunch.  My actual meals, when I make them myself, usually come out between 1,500 and 1,800 calories per day, so I’ve got room for a little restrained indulgence.
  3. Have a schedule.  Like most people, I’m a creature of habit.  It’s easiest for me to keep up with an exercise program if I do it at the same time every day.  For me, that means doing it after I help my son get his homework done and before I make dinner.  The holidays can be disruptive, though, so I need to work with that.  And since the disruptions are all planned, I can plan my exercise around those disruptions.  Plus, most of the disruptions are on weekends (when I don’t schedule workouts or have a set walking goal).

Simple, right?  No, not really.  Life is complex, and life around the holidays is even more complex.  But, with a plan, it’s still doable.  So don’t give up!

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