The holidays are a clear and present danger. Not to our way of life, the holidays ARE our way of life, but to our health. Good cheer threatens our body mass index, blood pressure, lipid panel, gastric lining and by way of exhaustion and social saturation, our emotional stability. We spend the rest of the year getting in shape, so that Santa and his elves can tear us down. So, my question for you is, how do you plan to stay healthy, at the holidays?
Of course, there is the obvious …
- Do not fast before a party
- Light on the horderves, avoid mindless eating
- Eat slowly and do not finish the entire serving
- Bring a healthy dish (vegetable or fruit platter)
- Plenty of sleep
- Wash your hands or use Pyrell; infections spread by contact
- Limit the ETOH (2 drinks for man, 1 for woman); hydrate
- Be aware if certain holiday events, traditions or stressors really bother you
- Drive extra carefully. Plan travel. Avoid fatigue and drunk drivers.
- I also suggest you need an workout plan, maybe set an exercise goal, in order to have the best chance of not breaking the scale.
Taking my own advise, I was mulling my choices when, fortuitously, my son provided the answer.
I like to row and have done so for years. I have a bang-up rowing machine (Concept2). My son, who lives four hours away, also has access to the identical stationary rower. Therefore, he challenged me; who can row the most distance between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Mano-a-mano.
Now I know what you are saying; it is unfair, almost abusive. First, I am 33 years older then he and thus have had three extra decades to prepare for this event. In fact, I have been behind the oar since childhood. When I grew up rowing was not just exercise; it was a way of life… its how we got to school…up stream, both ways.
In addition, I keep my self in shape. I brush my teeth with the stiff bristles. Walk every day, to the mailbox, all the way down the far end of the driveway, without stopping, and all the way back, WITH the mail … and with holiday shopping, we get a lot of mail. My son gets all his correspondence online. No wonder the Millennium Generation is falling apart.
I use a nonbiometric keyboard. Yeah, you heard it, one of those old keyboards that you actually have to bend your wrist to type. Tough, huh? I drink coffee from a BIG mug, and I alternate hands. And I do not sip, I gulp! When the fall colors fell into our yard, I was out there myself, personally, holding a rake to give to the lawn guy and pointing out exactly where to pile the leaves. I know. Macho stuff.
On the other hand, my son is limited by the frailty and inexperience of youth. He does not have a car, so he has to bike everywhere he goes, as much as 20 miles each day. His knees must be shot. Gets up at 5:30am, even in 10-degree winter, to workout with a bunch of wacko health nuts OUTSIDE! (I tell him that it is global warming, not global warm).
He does Tough Mudder, climbing up the side of mountains while scaling obstacles, swimming through ice-laden ponds and getting really dirty. He has to be exhausted. Finally, critically, he is dragged down by a full head of hair, while I have the aerodynamic advantage of a thinning pate.
So, in order to spare him humiliation, I decided the only way to unbalance the odds is; cheat. That way, when I crush his score, I will not crush his ego. He can just say, “Hey, what’s the deal, you cheated!” Reverse fathering psychology.
I tried to hire the lawn guy to do half my workouts. He made some excuse about his back and returned the leaf-clogged rake. I asked my Dad for help figuring that at 88 years old and retired he would have time for his oldest son. However, no, he made some sort of lame excuse about scheduled tennis time and travel. I checked to see if they make a power assist rower. They do, but it actually requires a lake.
Therefore, I did the only thing remaining. I started rowing, early. That’s right, while the rest of you were out eating turkey and being stuffed, I was in the basement, putting away the kilometers. That way, before my son even realized it was on, it was on and I have a comfortable, fatherly, supportive, ego sparing lead. Clever, huh?
So, what is your end-of-year health plan? How will you spare yourself from the holidays? An exercise regimen? Diet approach? Extra sleep? Tonic sans gin? Me, I will be getting ripped and hunky. Look in the very popular and competitive 2014 Hottest Oncologists of Central Jersey Calendar, Eastern Region addition (Mr. June). And, if you happen to know someone in New England who could wander by my son’s gym and maybe hide the rower in the closet, I would be appreciative. It is for his own good.