Post Xmas Recovery
Surrounded by family and sweets
It’s Christmas Eve in Robinson, a small town in Illinois with a population of about 7500. It’s always a great time surrounded by my loving extended family, beautiful snow covered country landscape, and plenty of glutenous drinks and foods. Although as I’m drinking my morning coffee in the kitchen chatting with my early riser family members, it’s 8 AM and my stomach is growling craving the sugar in the adjacent room.
The night before was our yearly family dinner at the local pizza joint, which is always a fun (loud) event eating breadsticks, pizza squares while singing Christmas carols obnoxiously for the whole restaurant to hear. Later we exchange gifts in the white elephant game followed by staying up past midnight chatting and drinking plenty of IPA’s.
I have to give a shoutout to all the treats I over-sampled:
- 4X Sugar cookies made by mom.
- 2X Sugar cookies made by my aunt.
- 4X Gingerbread cookies made by me.
- 8X Hershey kiss blossom cookies made by my cousins.
- 3X Chocolate covered rice crispy treats (scotcharoos) made by my aunt.
- 1X White chocolate pretzels made by my mom.
- 3X Peanut butter fudge made by my aunt.
- 1X Green icing covered corn flakes and red-hot wreaths made by my aunt.
- 6X Chocolate covered crackers and peanut butter made by my aunt.
- 1X Brownies made by grandma.
- 1X Chocolate chip cookies made by my grandma.
- 1X Cashew brittle brought by my uncle.
Mealtimes weren’t much better. It was the typical midwestern delight with high-carb gut fillers: mashed potatoes, noodles, bread rolls, sweet corn, ham, turkey, filling, cranberry salad, deviled eggs, green beans. The only savior was eating from the ranch centered veggie tray sparingly and cramming eggs with avocado in the mornings. (See the family home movie footage here. Warning its 45 min long.)
Can you relate?
This was my scenario for the week surrounding Christmas. I felt trapped. At the mercy of my everyone else’s schedules. Not having my typical control of rhythms and healthy habits.
Note: I’m not the Grinch or Scrooge. I thoroughly love my family and spending time with everyone (and the sweets)! I wouldn't have it any other way … maybe going to bed an hour earlier would be great though.
Going into the holidays I knew I would fall off the wagon with fitness. And I did. Don’t worry, my brothers were sure to remind me of my hypocritical behavior. Multiple times I was talking about Bachelor.Fitness while chowing down on a handful of cookies. But I semi-prepared. Leading up to the trip I normally eat strictly, get quality sleep, exercise frequently, and recently performed a 3 day fast (read more about my fast here).
Still, having mentally and physically prepared for the binge. I felt shitty. I was ready to feel and look better.
Ease back into it
After my immediate family got back to my parents’ house in Tulsa, Oklahoma I had more control to ease back into health. Better food selection, amazing gym access, and more relaxed schedule to focus on proper sleep and eating window. I leveraged the Bachelor.Fitness training mentality to get my fitness back where I want it to be.
I reflected on my current status. I had lost a little muscle mass due to not working out for 7 days, and I gained a noticeable amount of fat around my muffin-top and abdominal section. My weight had not changed, so I’d guess the weight I lost and gained was muscle mass and body fat respectively. Overall I felt mentally clouded and dissatisfied with my appearance with this extra muffin-top and oilier than normal complexion. I didn’t record any nutrition, but over the Christmas week, it’d be littered with carbs and non-nutritious caloric foods. Yummy though!
I was back fully in control of the metronome for my body rhythms. When spending time with family it’s common to stay up late and snack 24/7. My sleep over the Christmas week was about 5 hours on average sleeping and sliding on a leather couch. My neck is still recovering. I quickly fixed this by getting 7.5+ hours and sleeping in a quality bed. My food intake also got adjusted back to eating within a ~10-hour window in order to give my gut the proper time to digest, metabolize and regenerate itself. It’s amazing how quick and how much better I felt mentally after getting good sleep and eating within 10 hours after the first two days.
It probably helped I started tapering off carbohydrates and sugars. I say tapered because I couldn’t help myself from downing a fresh hot homemade cinnamon roll my parents’ neighbors brought over. Don’t judge because going on a high-carb binge can leave you with severe cravings, headaches or fatigue just like heroin or heavy opioid withdrawals. Sugar and heroin activate the same neurotransmitters and hormones! So to satisfy my sweet tooth I didn’t feel too bad about the cinnamon roll and made some coconut oil salted plantain chips. Excellent snack. Just try to only have one handful. Bet you can’t! Since then I’ve maintained a lax ketogenic diet high in dietary fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbs. My last dinner at my parents' house mom made some delicious bacon Brussel sprouts, roast, and spinach salad all heavy with avocado and olive oils. Bfit approved!
Finally, I was able to exercise giving both my muscles and my mental stress some relieving. It doesn’t hurt the gym my family goes to is an amazing Lifetime fitness with every amenity. A bit too many roid-filled puffy-muscle heads to my liking, but still a solid gym. I was able to stretch, do high-intensity cardio work, and lift weights. Give me those abs back, baby! After two sessions back at the gym, After 3 days of working out, I feel almost back to my norm in terms of muscle mass and endurance … taking a bit longer to eat away at that muffin-top. I’d like to note that I think it's easier to get “back into shape” after being in shape. It’s almost as if your body remembers the path back home to a better you.
That ends my journey home for the holidays. From being glutenous spending time with family to currently in-flight back to Cincinnati to what I know and can control. If you’ve fallen off the rails recently, motivate yourself to a better you by setting your life back in order after this holiday season.
Feel confident in your skin again. Welcome back! Now I need to find my gloves, brrr. See you in 2018.
Have a happy new year, from my family to yours!