Are you concerned about gaining weight from holiday feasting? Well, weight gain is not inevitable for those who know how to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are a few things to think about:
- Feasting is good. In fact, it’s great. It’s a Christian obligation. We need to eat and drink with absolutely celebratory hearts in thanks to God for His kind provision. And that means going the whole way: full fat milk (if that’s what you enjoy), heavy whipped cream on the pecan pie, and the calorie-dense dark meat. The key is celebration of God and giving thanks for His good gifts, whether it’s at Thanksgiving or some other time of feasting.
- Overindulgence is bad. Whether we’re talking about sex or alcohol or fire or narcotics, things that should be good can be abused. Feasting is obedient; gluttony is sinful. Merrymaking with wine is obedient; drunkenness is sinful. You get the idea. A question I ask when feasting is whether I’ll actually enjoy what I put in my mouth. A second piece of pumpkin pie can be enjoyable; fifth piece is not. Don’t eat if you’re full.
- Calorie deficit. If you’re going to indulge big time on Thursday, eat less than you usually do on Wednesday. It’ll help balance things out. Also, go easy on the calories on Friday, too. You’ll have plenty of energy stores to burn from Thursday’s feast.
- Pre-feast exercise. It is good to sandwich your feasting with good workouts. Ideally, some metabolic resistance training (like I write about all the time here at PS.C) will get your metabolism revving prior to your indulgence. Good ol’ interval training will do the trick, too. Doing such a workout on the day before a feast (or even the morning of) is great.
- Post-feast exercise. On the day AFTER a feast, get in another good workout. And this one should definitely involve resistance training (e.g., lifting weights or heavy kettlebells). You’ll have crazy glycogen stores to draw on and you’ll get a great pump, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I believe feasting is an important part of practical stewardship, and it is a must for Christians. And far from sabotaging your fitness goals, when done on occasion it will not hurt you (it can actually help hormonally when done strategically, but that’s another topic).
A person who frequently justifies overindulgence won’t get far on his fitness goals. But when it comes to holiday feasting, work out hard before and after, go easy on the calories before and after, and feast heartily.