It’s that time of the year.
The Holiday Season officially begins next Thursday, on Thanksgiving.
Here’s a stat that may surprise you. The average person gains 8 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Okay, maybe that doesn’t surprise you… but how about this…
The weight gain trends of our population in America have been studied. Not only does the average person gain 8 pounds during the holidays, but they spend the next 11 months trying to lose those 8 pounds (on average, of course). They succeed in losing 6 of the 8 pounds. For a net gain each year of 2 pounds.
Which means that, on average, Americans gain 2 pounds per year. Or 20 pounds for every 10 years.
Ok. Now THAT’S a wild statistic…
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your holidays.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in some treats.
This doesn’t mean you should take your chicken and broccoli Tupperware containers to your family parties.
But this does mean you should have a game plan.
My game plan for clients is simple.
On “The Big 5”, have some fun.
Don’t binge, but enjoy yourself and have some treats.
I tell them to emphasize the protein dishes.
Have a taste of all the sides.
And even enjoy a reasonable sized treat or dessert.
You might think that’s strange advice coming from a fitness coach. But keep in mind, there’s a reason why our clients get such fantastic results. First and foremost, you need to live your life. If scratching your sweet tooth itch on the holidays helps you to be consistent in the long term, then it’s a net positive for you.
But here’s the catch… while you should have fun and enjoy the holidays, you need to turn the page immediately the next day.
What are “The Big 5”, you ask?
The Big 5 are the 5, actual holidays during the Holiday Seaason.
The “Big 5” are:
- Christmas Eve
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
Nobody gained 8 pounds from enjoying themselves in 5 days out of 40. Gaining 8 pounds of body fat would mean you ate 28,000 calories over your maintenance. Even the most gluttonous of individuals would have a hard time pulling off that feat. You can enjoy yourself on “The Big 5”.
But you need to be careful on all the other days.
Back to reality
You need to avoid the non-stop cookies and candies in your break room at work during the week. You need to be careful on the weekends where you don’t feel like cooking, so you go out to eat instead.
You’re likely to have a half dozen holiday parties on top of “The Big 5”. You end up drinking more alcohol than normal. And you’re also likely to have leftovers and treats that will last for days, adding unwanted calories to your diet.
Resist this. Throw away the leftovers or donate them. Don’t let the holidays turn into non-stop booze drinking. Enjoy The Big 5, but on all the other days, be on track with your diet and exercise regimen.
Have your fun, but afterwards, turn the page, move on, and hit the gym – smash those weights and turn the food into some gains.
And you’ll breeze into the New Year without doing much damage at all.
Which leads me to the next message… if you want to be known as the “Dessert God (or Goddess) Of The Holidays”, I have a recipe for you – My Infamous Pumpkin Pie Crunch.
My first year teaching, one of the Room Moms made the teachers this recipe.
I had never had something like this before.
I took one bite, and my knees buckled it was so good (seriously).
I immediately emailed the Mom who made it and demanded the recipe.
And now… I will give the recipe to YOU…
Coach J’s Infamous Pumpkin Pie Crunch
First, blend together:
- 3 cups brown sugar
- 1 can of full fat evaporated milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 large can of pumpkin (NOT “pumpkin pie filling” – actual pumpkin)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Pour the mixture into a greased, 9 x 13 cake pan.
Over the mixture, sprinkle an entire box of yellow cake mix evenly.
Next, melt 2 sticks of full fat butter over the top of the cake mix, attempting to saturate all the mix (if it’s not perfect, it’s all good).
Add crushed nuts if you wish and there are no allergies in your family.
Bake at 350 for an hour.
Allow to cool; put in a fridge overnight – it’s best served with Cool Whip and/or vanilla ice cream.
And that’s it!
Fair warning: With great power comes great responsibility.
If you make this, your family and friends will BEG you to make it every year. So be sure you’re confident you want this as your new responsibility before you make it!
Loads of my clients make this every year; it’s become something of a tradition in our community. If you make your own pumpkin pie crunch, be sure you post about it on social and tag me! (Here’s my Facebook profile if you’d like to add me.)
And of course, this isn’t healthy.
Not in the least.
It’s LOADED with calories, sugar, and fat.
With almost zero protein.
But it’s the holidays!
You should enjoy yourself and have some fun.
Just be sure to turn the page the day after Thanksgiving, and get back to business and you’ll be just fine.
Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Jason Helmes is a former Plymouth-Canton teacher who owns and operates Anyman Fitness out of his Canton home. Anyman Fitness is an online fitness coaching service that helps its clients reach their goals in a simple, straightforward manner. You can contact Jason at email@example.com, or visit his site here for more information.