Losing weight and staying fit over the holidays

Knowing that I’ve lost 90 pounds[1. On purpose. Sometimes people ask me about that. They’re worried that I’m sick.], and kept it off for nearly 11 months, people often ask me how they can lose weight (or keep weight off) and stay fit during the holidays.[2. Actually, nobody ever asks me that.]

I have a two-word response: Don’t bother.

Improved nutrition is not like alcoholism or quitting smoking, where the goal is zero tolerance. “Never again!” is the goal for an alcoholic or a person who has quite smoking. That person wants to never have another drink, or another puff on a cigarette, ever again.

But the goal for improved nutrition and fitness should be moderation. It’s right to occasionally indulge in rich food, candy, dessert, and booze. It’s right to occasionally do a lot of that, and slack off on exercise for a little while, and gain a few pounds.

Then, when you’ve done that for a while, it’s right to resume a healthier lifestyle.

I was on vacation for the past 12 days, which included Thanksgiving. I drank a lot of wine, ate dessert at almost every meal, ate a lot of red meat and fried food, didn’t exercise many days, and had a great time .

I gained four pounds in the last 12 days. And that’s fine. And now it’s time to resume exercise and take the weight off again.

The goal for fitness is not zero tolerance. The goal for fitness is to lead a healthier, better, and more enjoyable life. And good food is a part of that kind of life, as is a schedule that sometimes does not permit exercise.

The only thing that bothers me about these 12 days is what I’ve learned about myself. For the past few months, I’ve been hoping that one day soon I might be able to give up on compulsively weighing and measuring my food, and logging everything I eat, and instead I could just eat whatever I want. What I learned in the past 12 days is that’s not going to happen. Or not soon at least. When I let myself off the leash, I go back to my old habits of physical sloth and compulsive eating. Oh, well.

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