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The Holiday Foothills


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We are poised at the foothills. Looming before us are the staggering holiday mountains: Christmas and New Year’s. Though we’ve traversed the Thanksgiving Range with its mighty peaks, the December Ascents remain a consuming and seductive challenge.

Peace and joy and good will claim our attention. Yet, I feel compelled to remind you of the subtle and pervasive pitfalls concealed before us.

It starts. You go to a small party… big deal! And eat a little more than usual…so? And drink a little. Eh!

Trixie brings homemade cookies to work and Biff brings his special eggnog. Good stuff and ’ya can’t say no. Oops! You miss your classic midweek workout. And Friday, shoulders and arms give way to another party… Aunt Sue and Uncle Bob and the kids. Real good people, but they sure can pack it in.

A thin crack appears in your cool discipline. You gain weight, few pounds. Hmpff! Saturday your favorite morning workout is replaced with gift shopping and groceries for your Christmas party. Bring your own booze. Two am, as you clean up the party mess, you vaguely recall devouring a loaf of garlic bread and a bottle of vino with big Tony and big Angela. Those two should exercise.

“How quickly we gain weight,” you muse as you gingerly mount the scale on Monday morning before heading to work. You feel puffy and achy and grumpy. Not enough sleep these days. No way can you go to the gym feeling like a slug. Me llama es El Piggo. “Wednesday I’ll blast it,” you vow. The crack is now a gap and growing.

You eat and eat, forget the Wednesday blasting session and eat again. You feel guilty and fat -- a bad combination. Somebody from the gym asks where you’ve been and you tell him to mind his own business. Who does he think he is? The jerk! You’re a little high strung.

Now your pants don’t fit. Party, party, I love champagne. You hyperventilate. Who needs protein? Pass the pie. Your sneakers don’t fit. What gym? Where?

You’ve contracted bulgebellious miserabeles. Your friends don’t recognize you. Your training gap has become the Grand Canyon. It has a life of its own, like a slobbering alien from Krypton Three. Is this a hideous nightmare? Tell me I’m dreaming! How do I get outta here? Hellllppp meee!

Does this sound familiar, Bunky? Don’t let this happen to you.

Don’t miss your workouts. Cut them in half… and don’t eat too much. Cut that in half, too. Don’t let things get out of hand, 15-30 minutes in the gym two or three times a week is far, far better than deciding, “Why bother?”

These make all the difference in the world to keep you mentally and physically and emotionally together. They keep you connected, in control, toned, confident, strong, alert, disciplined, cute and charming. You’ll be pleased with yourself instead of displeased with yourself, a big dif.

You’ll smile instead of pretending to smile; you’ll laugh, you’ll love.

The gym is always a friendly diversion, and especially so around this peculiar time of the year. Let’s face it. December gets weird -- the job, the markets, the malls, construction, shopping, shipping, receiving, the highways and byways. The gym with its mutually enthusiastic faces is a refuge, the only sane place in this nutty world. Peaceful, it’s your world -- orderly, safe, stress free, productive, happy.

Don’t wander too far… don’t get lost.

Dave

*Originally published 1999*

*****

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