A Little Less Gravy

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Tips & Tricks to Stay Fit This Holiday Season

With the Holidays approaching, my thoughts dwell on turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, stuffing, dressing, cornbread, rolls, biscuits, butter beans, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, collard greens, yams, cake, chocolate fudge, apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, deviled eggs, cheese plate, crackers, pickles, olives, pistachios, walnuts, beer, wine, spirits, cider – and a whole lot of gravy.

My battle with weight loss is a never ending trudge through a swamp of temptation. It’s filled with automatic do-overs and constant lies to myself that salad tastes better than pizza. For this article, I have to be honest here, I’m not someone at their peak of physical fitness, thus having all the answers to your weary, weight loss woes. I’m somewhere near the other end of the spectrum, still trying new things and experiencing success and failure at regular intervals.

Before I started working at Performance I was a cook at a hospital for 6 years. During that time I learned a lot about the body’s dietary needs and what a healthy diet should look like. I also had access to a lot of delicious food. Food that demanded I taste everything for assured quality control. (It was a tough job, but I was good at it.) Long story short, although I had the knowledge to change, I still lacked the will to do so. By the time I left, I had gained almost fifty pounds!

Since I started working at Performance it feels I’m closer than ever to my goal weight. I’m making significant progress and it feels pretty good. Within the last year I’ve paid close attention to my tendencies and triggers. These are some of the tricks I’ve employed to keep the weight down. They will especially come in handy during the Holiday season when delicious treats lurk around every corner.

 

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I Ride My Bike

The bike is my lifeline. Without it I can forget about making any significant progress. I’ve never been one to go to a gym – I just won’t do it. But the bike is fun for me. It gets me out and moving. Once I’m moving, it forces me to adapt to my environment. I need to move faster to make it through the light, I need to push harder to make it up the hill. When I return, I’m tired – but happy.

I usually ride three to four days a week, for about an hour or so each time. For the holidays, I plan to ride the day before and the day after.

I Joined Strava

It’s free and it has the stat I’m truly interested in: How many calories did I burn? The only thing that’s really important is looking at that number when you’re done with your ride. It’s extremely gratifying to see how many calories you’ve burned and that alone makes me want to keep trying.

 

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Drink Water

You hear this one all the time. On the average, doctors recommend drinking about eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. But the question is when? While it seems simple enough, sometimes we just forget. For me, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning, it’s the last thing I do before I go to bed and it’s also the first thing I do before every meal. Water is a great way to curb your hunger. Remember, it takes twenty minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full. Drinking a glass of water 20 minutes before you eat a meal really does help.

It also helps during the holidays when those adult beverages are in constant flow. What I like to do here is alternate the alcohol with a glass of water. Glass of wine. Glass of water. Glass of champagne. Glass of water. Then I’ll find that by the time we get to the turkey, I’m a little less hungry and less likely to pile up the food on my plate. I also limit myself to one plate. I don’t go back for seconds. Then, after my meal, I drink another glass of water.

 

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Carbs

Oh how I love carbs! When I was growing up, the items that took up the most real estate on my Thanksgiving plate was stuffing and dinner rolls. Then I’d smother everything in gravy. Maybe I’d include a little bit of turkey and maybe a spoonful of green beans. But mostly, it was all about the carbs.

While it’s important for me to improve my health and lose weight, I consider bread and pasta a cultural staple and part of the joys of living. But my palette has evolved to appreciate more than just bread and bread related dishes. Your plate should have some color. For the holidays, I’m going to have a small portion of stuffing, a little bit of turkey, and a whole lot of veggies. What about the gravy you ask? Oh yes, there will be gravy. Just not as much.

 

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Beer

This one is hard for me. If you want to talk about staples and the joys of living, beer is up there on my list. A lager on a hot day, a porter on a cold one – there’s a beer for every occasion. But if I really want to lose weight, I know have to say my goodbyes. I came to realize this when I started counting my calories. I would attempt to eat less during the day so I could make enough room for a beer or two at night. However, this ultimately just lead to overeating. Now, I limit my beer intake to just once a week and, of course, on the holidays.

 

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Sweets

This one is also difficult for me to resist, but only if its in front of me. I generally avoid buying anything sweet and find this is to be a good tactic in keeping refined sugars out of my daily diet. Inevitably someone at work will bring in cupcakes or cookies and I like to use this time to enjoy those types of foods. But, I’ll always limit myself to one and seek out the smallest looking option. Usually a cookie. For Thanksgiving, I’m going to limit myself to one piece of pumpkin pie. For Christmas, maybe some kind of cake soaked in bourbon.

If you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share, feel free to message us below. We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!

 

3 thoughts on “A Little Less Gravy

  1. I ride my bike as well and of what I read I’m eating less thinking I couldn’t eat more but of lm going to follow on what I read on your blog. I think I was starving myself. This thanksgiving I’m going to enjoy myself more and with a glass of wine. Thanks for the info. Happy thanksgiving.

  2. I have found that cycling is the answer to all life’s questions and is the only thing you need to achieve and maintain your desired weight. I try to ride around 100 miles per week and walk to and from the train to the office. By sticking to these activities I have experienced that I can occasionally enjoy things like pumpkin pie, beers, pizza etc. with zero guilt because, like the author noted, I am burning 1,000+ calories per day. By choosing this lifestyle I have already lost close to 12 pounds really by just riding. All the time spent in the saddle has made me stronger and a significantly better rider as well. I love cycling because you get in shape while exploring, suffering, making friends and challenging yourself in ways no gym membership can. Your mind is completely set free left only to wander and ensure you make it home safely. The sport is a beautiful thing and I hope more people realize that the bike is all you need. My plan for the holidays is going to be to enjoy everything because the bike will take care of you, so long as you saddle up and stay committed.

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