Thanksgiving is next week, and if you're like me, it's pretty much a second (but earlier) Christmas. I love to eat, and when I sit down to my Thanksgiving dinner, I'll be acting like I've just opened the greatest present of all time.
That's right....a NINTENDO SIXTY FOUURRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, maybe I'll be a *little* tamer than that.
But, while I'll be stuffing my face and apologizing to no one, I realize that Thanksgiving can often invoke a different type of stress for other people.
"Are the stuffing and cranberry sauce Paleo approved? If not, I can't eat it."
"I'll have some grass-fed butter in my after-dinner coffee."
"What do you mean we RAN. OUT. OF. PALEO ROLLS!?"
Alas, I jest. (And besides, Paleo is so 2013.)
In all seriousness, if you're someone that's hosting Thanksgiving this year, my hat is off to you. This year will only be the third time Lindsay and I are hosting, and every year we tend to have a lot of fun. Fingers crossed, I'll escape this year's cooking with minimal cuts and burns.
Anyway, while I tend to crush Thanksgiving like a Lost Boy in "Hook," I realize that Thanksgiving kicks off a six week stretch that can really stress many people out. Why? Because social situations, cold weather, and delicious baked goods seem to culminate in a perfect storm that can send the previous 10 and 1/2 months to the crapper.
Throw in the fact that weight loss isn't well understood by our culture, and you can see why weight gain is such a big topic around this time of year. Sure, we know we have to burn more calories than we take in, but is it really that simple? Are all calories created equal? I'd argue that the answers to both questions are a resounding no.
To illustrate how poorly our culture understands weight loss, I wanted to highlight the following article that was sent to me last week:
The article, which cites a study that was published last month, was made up of overweight and obese females. Rather than look at their diets, the study only intervened with an "aerobic" exercise routine. As a result, I really wasn't all that surprised to read the weight loss results were really limited, and how a fair amount of the women actually gained weight.
The timing, of course, was peculiar as a few days prior to that article, I had written this piece in our gym's monthly newsletter. To quickly summarize what I wrote, the same case occurred to a client of mine - they saw notable increases in their strength and conditioning, but they gained bodyfat. I go on to explain that if you're looking at exercise to solve any weight problems you may have, it's a lot like using a mop to clean a wet floor....when the ceiling is leaking. Sure, exercise will help - especially when it stops raining - but it's only after you fix the roof that all of your efforts will really have an effect. Diet is, and always will be, the driving force behind weight loss for every single one of us.
However, the problem is that there are two sides to every coin. While some "get it" and immediately change their diet and start to see results, others believe that the only way to lose weight is by becoming a healthy eating reverend, who preaches daily from the Church of Kale.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
That's why I wanted to share one MORE link with all of you, published by Precision Nutrition earlier this week:
The infographic is absolutely terrific, as it shows how small changes can lead someone from very unhealthy to a healthier bodyfat. It also explains how the transition between stages can be relatively easy. Meanwhile, if you're already in the "healthy" bodyfat category and trying to look like a greek god or goddess, the transition is much tougher. And, you'll need to give up a lot of social opportunities to keep your abz at a "Channing Tatum" level.
So, what am I saying here? When it comes to the holidays, go wild on what you eat. We don't give our bodies enough credit on its ability to compensate and adjust. However, the day after Thanksgiving, go back to exactly how you were eating the day before. It's not what you do one day, it's what you do everyday.
And if you're really looking to lose weight? Small changes are exactly what the weight loss doctor ordered.