Danger week

This was week 131 of my Operation Melt journey that started with my goal to escape obesity and lose over 100 pounds in under a year. As you probably know I achieved that goal (in just 9 months) and then a whole lot more. I went from 325 pounds to completing my first half marathon in just 14 months with a total weight loss of over 130 pounds.

I accomplished this by applying concepts of project management and managing my transformation as a project just like I have helped businesses do for two decades.

After achieving my initial goal, and countless others, my journey of personal transformation has grown into a quest to turn myself and others into goal-crushing machines. My vision for Operation Melt is to build a world where goals don’t die of loneliness.

My weekly Operation Melt blog posts are about continuing to hold myself accountable while sharing my journey with you. My hope is that something that I am doing will inspire you to try to crush your own goal, will motivate you to keep going and will equip you with some additional tools that have helped me manage my journey.

Danger week

This is Christmas week and it is the most wonderful time of the year. Friends and family. Giving. Traditions. Music. Church. So many things that make this time of the year amazing.

While there are many reasons to love this time of year there are also some dangers hiding deep inside the traditions. These dangers are risks to your fitness successes.

I don’t know about your holiday traditions but a lot of mine have always involved calories. Big family dinners on Christmas day and high calorie / high sodium snacking on Christmas Eve. Big trays of Christmas cookies. Glasses of egg nog (which is crazy high-calorie) including boozy egg nog which makes it even higher in calories. Plus the gym is closed and the weather is usually too cold for outdoor workouts.

All of these high calorie consumption and low calorie burn traditions can translate to disaster for your fitness goals. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American’s weight increases by 0.4% over Christmas. Whether you are considering starting, are in the middle of or have recently completed a weight loss journey this is enough to cause a fair amount of anxiety.

When faced with holiday fitness risks you have two choices: acceptance or avoidance.

One school of thought says that you should just accept the fact that you are going to consume way more calories. It is just once a year and your focus should be the holiday and not your fitness. Just enjoy the season and correct any weight gain afterwards. That is a perfectly acceptable approach and I salute anybody who embraces this strategy.

The acceptance strategy is not for me and I am planning the other choice, avoidance.

The avoidance strategy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the traditions. I will certainly have some boozy egg nog and some Christmas cookies. I will enjoy the Christmas dinner including some wine and maybe some bourbon. I am not going to deprive myself of these things. But I am not going to do it mindlessly. I will continue to log everything and will know exactly how many calories I have consumed. And I will probably nearly double my normal daily calorie target – hopefully a lot less.

The entire week of Christmas I plan to really step up my exercise. I will either run or head to the gym every day. On Christmas morning I will start my day with a long run – fortunately Christmas is forecasted to by 50 degrees so outdoor running will be possible. My goal is to burn way more than my average week of calories to accommodate the increased calorie intake from partaking in the Christmas festivities. I also plan to make smart choices for all of the other meals through the week to make sure that Christmas isn’t a negative impact.

I have a plan to make the holidays both magical and healthy. It worked for me last year and I am confident that it will work for me again this year. Are you ready to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year while maintaining your fitness success?

Thanks so much for reading. I hope that my experiences and my tips can help you achieve your own big goals. If we work together we can build a world where goals never die of loneliness!