Surviving the Holidays Like a French Girl
It’s the holiday season!
Home-baked goodies! (sound of applause).
Seasonal cocktails! (cheering).
Parties! (the crowd goes wild).
5 – 10 extra pounds! (record scratch).
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but a study from Cornell University showed that Americans gain on average around 5-10 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. Typically, half of the weight gain is lost fairly quickly. The other half hangs around like your least favorite cousin at a family reunion.
Lucky for you, I’ve got the formula for coming through the holidays completely unscathed and sans sacrifice, and I’m going to share it with you now.
Pay it Forward
Don’t just make up for the sins you’ve already committed, be proactive! Got a big party coming up? Spend a few days eating salads and broth-based soups beforehand, and buy yourself that extra pound or two (that you might not even gain).
You know those people who are always going to “start exercising”, but they never do? I believe it boils down to one of two things (or maybe two of two things):
- Basic inertia – a body at rest tends to stay at rest, or
- Thinking you’ve got to do something drastic like join a gym or find a class or find a 25th hour in your day or buy roller skates, before you can start.
All it really takes is a 15-20 minute commitment to move every day. Is more better? Of course it is! But Nike had a good point – Just Do It.
Go for a walk (not a stroll – put a little snap in your step), maybe even run some errands à pied. Do some squats and lunges. Grab some weights (or a bleach bottle or a cat) and do some arm curls and shoulder presses.
If you can do more, which you’ll probably want to do once you get started, then do more. But do … something.
You can enjoy whatever you want, but you don’t have to enjoy everything, all at once.
When dinner is a buffet of nibbles, it can be hard to judge how much you’re consuming, and it’s easy to get carried away.
Instead of randomly picking at the grazing table, use a plate so you have a visual on the amount of food you’re choosing. And focus on the fresh fruits and veggies, with a nice glass of wine and maybe that one dessert you’ve had your eye on. And if a bite or two satisfies, leave it at that (you can turn in your membership card to the “Clean Plate Club”).
Be a Heavy Drinker
Of water! What did you think I meant? Lots and lots of water. Here’s why:
- The dry winter months, compounded by using heat indoors, sucks the moisture right out of you.
- Water is a natural appetite suppressor. And often when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty.
- Water helps you eliminate properly so you don’t accumulate toxins and things that make you all bloat-y.
A good rule of thumb is: half your body weight, in ounces. For example, a 130-pound woman would aim for about 65 ounces of water a day. But more is fine.
Stay on Top of Things
The French woman generally monitors her weight with her hands – how her body feels and how her clothes fit. I’ll admit, being fun-sized (I’m 5’2″ so every extra pound shows), I monitor my weight daily with that modern invention known as the scale.
Either way, stay on top of your weight and don’t let the pounds accumulate. Weight that goes on fast, comes off fast. You can easily pick up a pound or two after a big dinner, but if you act fast you can lose it quickly too, without letting it settle in and get cozy for the winter.
You can mitigate a multitude of sins with a few days of some extra-long scenic walks, a couple of “soup days”, and lots of water.
Give these tips a try and celebrate the New Year with nothing to lose!
Hoping your holidays are filled with beauty, love and joy!
Bonjour! Je suis Kelley
Hi, I’m Kelley – thrower of parties, drinker of wine, and lover of all things French. I hope you enjoy my Lessons in Becoming French!