Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holiday eating

There's nothing like a being out of routine to totally distort your eating habits. This has been a tough winter for me as I've travelled for work during what is usually my fitness focus time. Then we went on a 2 week holiday. It reminded me that weight loss about more than just counting calories and/or going to the gym.

While studies show exercise doesn't make you loose weight by "balancing" calories it does give many important benefits. I admire people who travel intermittently and fit in exercise. I always intend to do it first thing in the morning since I usually have more time but instead I take advantage of being able to sleep in. Rats. I find business trips very sedentary. Not only is there little time during the day for walking around, but frequently the evenings are scheduled with activities that aren't particularly active. I find it easy to just suspend my activities until I get back home. I'm sure if I actually travelled regularly I would find a way to incorporate exercise. Holidays are different of course as you set your own schedules. When we go for our tropical vacation we do stuff we don't do at home because of time or availability. Most days we kayak, snorkel and walk as much as possible since we aren't on a schedule.

Over time I have come to prefer grilled food over fried food, internalized schedule eating so I don't snack when I have nothing to do, and better estimate serving size. I know I have to be careful as, like so many, if I get really hungry feeling I over eat tremendously. I also find that the novelty of free fall gorging gets thin pretty quickly, although dessert never seems to get old :^)

So how did it work out this year? After holidays I noticed my exercise clothes fit differently. I'm in the middle of the BMI range but I have developed a tummy so it feels to me like I'm doing crunches with a firm pillow in the way. Just a reminder that sweets are not a food group.

I've read articles denigrating the attitude that to loose weight effectively one has to consider it a lifestyle change. I think it can't be emphasised enough that without that lifestyle change any weight loss effort is bound to fail over the long term. Weight gain is quite subtle and it's easy to get into a bouncing cycle or just resign yourself to buying larger clothes every year. It would be awesome if everyone learned healthy eating before having a weight problem but our culture seems to be more into being reactive than proactive.