Stop the Holiday Bulge

So you’ve finished gobbling down pounds of turkey with gravy, sugary cranberry sauce, hoards of stuffing, marshmallowy sweet potatoes and ooey gooey pies and cakes.  And probably couldn’t move….but today you barely lifted your ass out of the bed or away from the TV to hit the sales at the stores. Well, this is just the beginning of 6 weeks of holiday fun, or should I say: don’t buy that holiday outfit yet because at this rate you wont fit in it!  And in New Orleans we get another 6 weeks of indulging with Mardi Gras, aka King Cake season. starting right after New Years.

I love the Christmas season…the lights, the trees, the music, the scents, the magical feeling, but last year I stood strong and did not give in to the holiday extra pounds.  It’s not that I didn’t or won’t have some fun in the way of food or drinks, but I’ve learned how to not let it control me.  Aren’t you tired of starting the New Year with another useless resolution to lose weight, get in shape and get healthy?  Well it’s okay to start now and still have some Holiday fun.  So, let’s put the Thanksgiving pig-out party aside and go ahead and buy yourself a new outfit for the holiday parties…and girls make it cute and sexy….this will be your first incentive to not gain any more weight this Christmas season.

No more jumping up and down trying to get your jeans on and laying down hoping they will button up…and no more having to wear sweat pants to Christmas dinner because you filled up on Holiday party goodies since Thanksgiving.  I’ve complied a few ideas to keep you on track and no, it won’t include forced vomiting after inhaling piles of cakes, cookies, breads and pies!

  • If you have a workout schedule now, don’t quit.  If you do 4 days a week, do 4 or at least 3.  If you don’t, then take up walking outdoors.  Winter, especially those of you with snow (or even sand) have a great advantage to keeping that heart rate up and staying fit.  Lift some weights!  Chop down your own tree.  Move all those boxes filled with decorations.  Holiday cleaning. Keep moving.
  • Before the holiday parties, eat at home.  Eat a meal or a good hearty snack.  I know you don’t want to cook, but having a good size portion of protein or even some nuts and healthy carbs like fruit or a big sweet potato will fill you up and keep you focused.  There is no worse decision (and I’ve done it before) than to starve yourself all day so you can eat and drink whatever you want that night at the party.  Not sure what is worse, the hangover from not eating all day or the misery of stuffing your face so much because you were starved when you arrived.
  • Choose not to bake this year.  I always felt obligated to bake numerous mounds of family cookie and pie recipes.  And although they bring great memories and taste oh so good, I would say I ate half of them! I’d give them away as gifts, bring them to work…bake and bake and bake and really would eat and eat and eat.  As you’ve read before I am addicted to sugar and most people are…so why put the crack in front of the crack addict?  I WAS a Christmas treat junkie and have put that aside.  Last year I only made meat pies and gave those away.  This year…I am making nothing.  Saving myself and my bank account.
  • If you do want to or need to bake for a party, then choose wisely.  Choose a cookie or treat that won’t make you weighted down, bloated and miserable for giving in.   I can’t go into enough why sugar and gluten (grains) are bad for your health and waistline, but instead of putting all that here, just believe me that using some recipes from many Paleo websites, blogs and cookbooks are definitely the way to go and you will be able to leave the guilt behind. (of course provided you don’t eat the whole pan of those too).  Choose coconut or almond flours instead of gluten filled flours.  Don’t use sugar, but if you must use extra dark chocolate without soy products added or a little local real honey. Nuts and dried fruit make a cookie or dessert hearty and sweet.  Don’t use vegetable shortenings, but instead use lard, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.  Keeping it full of good fats and nutrient filled ingredients instead of glutenous globs of gunk will make your new Christmas desserts a hit!
  • Go ahead and drink some adult beverages (if you are of age, of course).  Since I’ve discovered hard apple cider (or Pear) drafts, I’m hooked.  If that doesn’t suit you for a beer substitute, then just try to steer clear of gluten filled regular or light beer.  And try to steer clear of sugary liquors.  Opt for wine (red preferably) or clear liquor like vodka or tequila.  Egg nog is probably not a good choice because of the sugar and dairy, but if you do have some, and who can have much anyway, stick to the full fat egg nog made of egg and real cream…it’ll be so rich you will only have one.
  • When you hit the buffet, make good choices (as a friend of mine always says).  Go fill up your plate with the meat, seafood (not fried), veggies and fruit.  That will be the most satisfying and you probably won’t want much more. And stay away from the pastas, fried food, sauces, dips, crackers and breads. IF you still crave a “treat”, then go for it after you have filled up on the meat, fruit and veggies.  Just try to hit the non-bread or cake/non-gluten varieties…a piece of fudge is better than a piece of cake or cheesecake and don’t eat the crust or have homemade ice-cream.  Control yourself Sweet Cheeks…one treat is fine…

So, now you’re ready for the Holiday Season right? Let’s have some fun and start it off right with some good decisions we won’t feel guilty about and with a little Christmas cheer from New Orleans (the last time it snowed here in 2008)…

Pain in the…

…Shoulder!  Geez, I use my right arm for everything!!!  Well, last week the shoulder area was bothering me so I lightened up my workout, but still kept at it thinking lighter weights were still a “rest”…sort of.  Then by Saturday after I vacuumed (why do I feel the need to clean sometimes), it hurt even more; a throbbing pain all night.  Some were worried: go to the doctor – could be a tear – you may not be able to workout for weeks.  WHAT? Hell no!

Ok, so I eat pretty strict Paleo to avoid inflammation (I know it’s not arthritis or my bones) and I try not lift more weights than I’m supposed to…like I said I try.  My head tells me I just pulled something or it’s stress in my neck and shoulders.  Nothing that rest and a deep tissue massage won’t cure, right?  I am trying rest for a week or 2, whatever it takes.  No doctor yet.  I don’t do doctors well besides the $40 co-pay will turn into an enormous medical bill I’m sure.

I guess what has put me in a bad mood about all this is, first of all, I cannot work out like I usually do.  Cardio?! YUCK!  Everyone knows I do very little cardio…but I am doing it just to do “something” and not use my arms.  On leg days, well there is more I can do, but I am used to doing dead lifts and weighted squats and lunges and now it’s just using body weight, which isn’t bad, but now I have to do 250 squats compared to 4×15 weighted squats!  Pain in the ass…I mean shoulder.

And not just that, it is amazing what I use my right arm for like vacuuming, mopping, washing dishes, laundry, drying my hair, walking the dogs…it’s almost impossible not to use it just getting ready for work in the morning.  The worst part, however, is not being able to paint.  I attempted to gesso (prime) a canvas and get ready to paint my next big painting and it killed my shoulder.  I tried with the left arm to no avail.  Frustration.  This is screwing up my new schedule of fitting in time to paint.

I will try again today to paint and go easy on the workout.  I have to.  I have goals I need to meet and a lousy shoulder problem cannot stop me!

New Artwork!

Blessed are the weird people, poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters and troubadours

for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.

~Jacob Nordby

Well, I finally finished a painting and what an awesome feeling it is!  There is still a couple other unfinished paintings I just had to put aside and not worry about finishing right now.  Maybe I have lost interest in them.  I am now committed to concentrating on painting or drawing what I feel at the time…thinking now about what to do next…I have a few ideas in mind.  Stay tuned…

A few people were sent progression photos of this painting and I thought I would include them for you to see the development of my painting.  Of course all artists proceed differently, but it will give you an idea of my thought process.

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