Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Optimist's Club

192 pounds
If you haven't already noticed, my weight has gone up a few pounds over the last month even though it's supposed to be going down. There are two simple reasons why this has happened.

First and foremost, as some of you know, I had surgery just over six weeks ago, and afterwards, I lost six pounds without even blinking.

On Tuesday, December 8th, my official weight on this blog was 189 pounds. (Though I actually hit a low of 187 the weekend after my surgery, which is technically six pounds less than the 193 I weighed before surgery.)

Sure, it was wonderful to see the scale dip into the 180s, but it was an artificial low caused by the fact that I was eating next to nothing and loaded up with medication that made it hard to keep anything in my body. I was back at 190 within a couple of weeks, and I think my weight might have leveled off there if it hadn't been for one other thing . . .

. . . the holidays

I'm not one of those people who buys into the idea that we should all be super careful about what we eat during the holidays. My feeling, as I said in my "Season of Indulgence" post, is that the holidays are a time to have fun, and we should enjoy that once-a-year reprieve from thinking about every calorie that goes in our mouth. I'm a firm believer in the idea that we should all give into our indulgences from time to time—usually once or twice a week—and Christmas, Hannakuh, and New Year's are no different.

Another reason we gain weight during the holidays is because of the added stress of traveling, seeing family, buying gifts, etc. I know that I definitely ate more food between Christmas and New Year's precisely because I was dealing with family and other holiday commitments.

No, feeding our emotions isn't the healthiest response to stress, but it's a fact of life. I'd rather admit that than ignore it. Yes, like everyone else, I sometimes use eating as a way to cope. But as long as I know that, I can make sure I don't do it too often.

And if that means I gain a pound or two (the national average) during the holidays, so be it. We all need a little extra lining to keep us warm through January, February, and March, right?

Studies have shown that the issue is not that measly pound so many people pick up over the holidays. The real issue is not dropping that pound before spring sets in. In fact, as long as we lose what we've gained within the next few months, there are no long-term consequences for having a little bit too much eggnog for a few weeks each December.

Yes, real problems occur for the people who don't shed the weight they put on each year during the holidays because the pounds start adding up over time. But I guess I prefer to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty—as long as we get our collective act together after January 1st, it's really not a big deal.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I kind of hate it when people beat themselves up after the holidays because they ate a little too much. I would rather that we all recognize how easy it is to gain weight over the holidays and how much more important it is to focus on being healthy again than sitting around crying into our new desk calendars about it.

So that's what I have to do now . . . get my act together and drop the two pounds I picked up over the last month. It won't be easy, but I know it can be done.

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