Lacie Jo and I have these friends that get into the giving mindset this time of year. But, they aren’t just looking for opportunities to serve meals at soup kitchens. They always take the time to drive around town and look for homeless people that are seeking shelter. They then invite them into their home for the holidays.
Usually, it is right about this point in the story that the listener exhibits one of two expressions:
or perhaps if you are kind-spirited yourself:
But, there is a catch. Each year they spend thousands of dollars in time, labor, and materials to remodel and decorate their homes, and every year, their holiday house guests steal, break, and demolish their hard-earned investment.
Crazy, I know. And yet, each year they continue to fall into this naïve trap. Even when Lacie and I sit them down every October just to play our part in swaying their terrible habit, they always respond the same way: “But Tyler, it’s the holidays…”
Hmm, now where have I heard that phrase before…? Ah yes, from the majority of folks that complain about their holiday weight gain or inflammatory bowel disease flare-ups. Amazing how hard people work all year to lose 5 lbs and will throw it all out of the window in one fail swoop because… you know… it’s the holidays. My friends’ homeless Tasmanian Devil houseguest is equivalent to your sweet potato pie, crescent roll mash-a-role. For a while there with the homeless story, I had some of you questioning, “Now why in the world would they do such a thing…”, yet this is the same thing that I ask myself every…single…year.
Humorous and perplexing all in the same breath. Sort of like this cat:
If that green ponytail was covered in pecan-crusted brown sugar icing, I would honestly fear for his life around some people during the holidays. Y’all would smell that hair-do decadence from a mile away and be inviting him in your home, just like our holiday-horror friends.
Okay, Okay, that’s enough of that. So, what can you do to ensure that your Christmas Holidays turn out better than your Thanksgiving indulgence last week? Here are a few tips:
1. If you choose to drink, then go ahead and drink. Get drunk and nibble, but good lord please stop thinking that you can binge on the alcohol AND the meal. A hangover lasts for hours. Your 10lbs of fluid and flab are going to stick around much longer than that. (How to Drink and Thrive)
2. Slow Down while sitting to enjoy your meal. No one is going to steal your food off of your plate. Here’s why you may want to eat a bit more slowly and consciously this Christmas:
- Physiological - It takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.
- Psychological - When you slow down, “sense into”, and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less but enjoy what you’ve eaten more.
3. Stop worrying about hurting your great grandmother’s feelings. “But, great aunt Sheila gets upset if I don’t have a slice of her blueberry diabetic cobbler…” So, what! Tell her you are allergic. Tell her that you will have to spend the next 45 minutes on the toilet if you eat it. Tell her anything. If your family members would rather see you eat their dessert even if it means that your only conversation for the remainder of the evening will be with the plunger, then Boo, you at da wrong party.
4. Perform 50 bodyweight squats and eat a huge salad or make a large shake before you go to the party. This does two things: 1. It sends the right hormonal signals to your thighs before you shovel in the wrong types of food. 2. The salad will at least keep you satiated while you mingle before the meal. Oh, and #3, it’ll keep you sober enough to not embarrass yourself as you gingerly guzzle your wine.
5. Fast the day before. “But, T, the WHOLE day?” Yes, or just have veggies and broth for dinner with tons of water before. Will this work for everyone? No, probably not. Mainly because most people haven’t worked their fasting stamina up all year in preparation. But, if you’re game, go ahead and try it. See how you feel the next day. If you don’t want to fast before out of fear of starvation, then by all means, just fast the day following your holiday party. We all know that you will have enough fuel in the tank for a few days much less a few hours.
There you have it. Is it conventional health information? No, not really. We don’t exactly take the conventional approach to many things at HPHI. But, since the only measure of performance is performance, itself, give these a whirl and see how you do. If you are still stuck, give us a call and let’s break through that plateau.
Oh, and I am not condemning the idea of helping the homeless out around this giving, holiday season. But, please take proper precautions when inviting strangers, gluten, dairy, and emotional Aunt Sheila into your home.