Get a grip

Take control of your post-holiday handles
–by Mary Helen Darah

Boomer handles photo
What do you call a greedy lobster?
A selfish shellfish

It’s hard to imagine that a month ago I was surrounded by images of sugar-frosted cookies, succulent, fat-laden foods and countless other culinary indulgences. It was all A-OK because it was the holidays. Now the same society that not only approved but supported my holiday gluttony, expects me to miraculously lower my cholesterol, drop some pounds and lose my Spanx for the new year. What makes getting a handle on my post-holiday handles even more difficult is the fact that I have never met a baked good that I didn’t bond with immediately. I am also a certified foodie who shows her love for family and friends by feeding them. Soon I will be dealing with Valentine’s Day making my fitness goals even more challenging. I know I should just buy mushy cards but I am a big believer that nothing says “I love you” like chocolate, wine or any dense carb right out of the oven. This year, I vow to be stronger and to adhere to my New Year’s resolutions to get back on track.

Get rid of the “stuff”
The first few days of any weight loss program comes with some pretty high octane psychological “stuff.” The first being the, “I am going to eat every carb in sight today because tomorrow I begin the healthier me” mentality. For me, this state of mind usually lasts about three weeks. Once I get beyond the negative behavior of the, “You’re telling me I can’t have that? Well, I’ll show me!” phase, I finally see some progress. I am going to shorten this phase by reminding myself that I find it necessary to hold my upper arm steady when waving goodbye so I don’t flab someone to death.

Be a fitness techie
There are numerous apps on smart phones and computers that allow you to track your caloric intake and exercise. Last year, I tracked my calories and found out at the end of day that if I were a 6’4”, 280 pound male, I stayed within my budgeted limits. As a 5’10” female, I went through my allotted food consumption by 2 p.m. I know I can make it to at least 6 o’clock this year.

Get moving to a DVD
Last year I attempted to follow along with the various models and celebrities breathing seductively while glistening through an intense workout. While they were able to continue shouting instructions without missing a beat, I sounded like I was giving birth without an epidural as I moved through their insanely difficult routines. Also, seeing their perfect bodies move in their skin-tight yoga pants was a tad deflating. This year I am going to purchase something a bit more realistic. I haven’t found an exercise DVD with real woman with a few curves and jiggles clad in sweat pants and hoodies yet but I will keep you posted.

Eat your veggies and get moving
Once again I am going to try to eat more fruits and vegetables. I will add anything green into my day whenever possible, add fruit to my cereal and I vow to not count a blueberry scone as a fruit serving. One thing that I have had success with is in the area of walking. I purchased a Fitbit and got a Golden Retriever who could outlast the Energizer Bunny on any day that ends in “Y.” I meet a friend and her dog everyday in the park before heading to work. It has been the one thing that I have been able to commit to because I don’t want to let them down. The bottom line in reducing your bottom line, is find something that brings you joy. Hopping on a treadmill would be pure torture for me but heading out to one of our great Metroparks is something that gives me the benefits of exercise, socialization, fresh air and a puppy who doesn’t follow me around 24/7 with a squeaky toy.

Ketchup is NOT a vegetable!
Ketchup is NOT a vegetable!

Crazy diet plans have been around for centuries. In 1087, William the Conqueror, of England, was upset because his wide girth kept him from riding his horse. His brilliant plan of action was to shed his unwanted pounds by substituting alcohol for food. He died from falling off his horse.

William the Conqueror says: Don't Drink and Ride!
William the Conqueror says: Don’t Drink and Ride!

In the year ahead, I wish you good health, and I hope you find a safe, enjoyable and sane way to get a grip on your post-holiday handles.