Imagine That

December 17, 2007

Okay, I understand it’s the holiday season, where friends and family gather for good times and giving. I understand that because of the season people will do things during this time of year that they probably would never do otherwise, like drinking eggnog or indulging on seasonal sweet pastries. But…and you knew there would be one…when is enough really enough? When is it time to hit the “off” button or at least shift down a gear or 3?

I had a conversation with a good friend this weekend that blew me away. Let me tell you just how the conversation went without giving away his name (Guido), or too much information about him (he’s a paramedic in Fort Lauderdale and I’ve known him since our service in the Navy together…sorry Guido,lol).

The conversation started in regards to his workout program and how he’s getting stronger by the day, which is good for him since his goals are strength increases and overall muscle building. However, about 5 minutes into the conversation he made a comment about how he doesn’t understand why he’s gaining inches around his waist. 3 1/2 to be exact; over a period of 1 month! So I asked him what his nutritional intake looked like. Without hesitation he said his nutrition was spot on, which is why he just didn’t understand why this was happening. He went on to tell me he eats 6 or 7 meals a day (perfect!) and never, ever misses a scheduled workout. His protein intake was adequate (200mg/lb), if just a little low for his lean body mass (220lbs), his carb intake seemed fine (roughly 300gms) and fat intake was virtually non-existant. so how in the world is he gaining so many inches around his waistline???

As if on cue the conversation took a turn when, in the background, I could hear his fiance telling him to hurry up or else they’d be late for the party. “What party,” I asked. “Just some Christmas party for her work,” he tells me. “It’s been non-stop for the past month, bro,” he continues to say.

So I asked, without really implying anything, just how many parties he’s been to. The answer to my question was dead silence….

“Hello?”

“Yeah, I’m here,” he says, “I’m just trying to think about how many we’ve been to. I think 6 or 7 so far and we still have 2 or 3 more to go to.”

“Sounds like fun,” I say and start laughing. Guido, being the man he is, instantly realizes why I’m laughing and lets out an audible sigh. “I can’t believe this! I’ve been shooting myself in the foot for a month. All those drinks and all that food! I never even thought about it. Dude, I must have eaten more than a thousand calories at each of those parties.”

You see, folks, it’s so easy to lose track of your fitness goals during this time of year. Especially if you’re a socialite like my friend Guido (yes, that’s his real name). Without realizing it he partied himself into an extra few pounds. It can happen to any of us. He’s just one example of many, many more out there.

So my point this week is this: if you plan on stopping at a few Christmas parties just try to stay aware of what you’re eating and drinking and how much. Guido’s case may be a bit extreme, having gained almost 3 and 1/2 inches around his waist, but there are people out there reading this right now and realizing why they’ve gained an extra 7 or 8 pounds this month. It’s too easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking we can just do a bit of extra cardio to burn off the excess calories we eat at parties and functions. The truth of the matter is you can avoid all the extra sweating and endless time spent on the treadmill by watching just how much you eat and what you eat at these parties. How hard is it really? The better question is…how badly do you really want to be in the shape you say want to be in?  

Look, I’m not saying you should sequester yourself and not go to these parties. That’s what the season is for. What I’m saying is there has to come a point when you say, “enough is enough.” Remember all the time you’ve already put into you quest for optimal fitness and keep that thought at the forefront of your mind when you see that eggnog in front of you. Instead of having 6 of these and half a dozen of the other simply downshift and enjoy 2 of each. Trust me when I tell you, it makes one heck of a difference in the long run.

So, by all means, go out. Enjoy the season. Have merry times and good food. Just have merry times and good food in moderation. Merry Christmas!

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