Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The 11 Day Survival Plan (or how to keep Christmas from becoming a metaphorical cruise ship)

I'm getting ready to wrap things up at the office and get prepared for 11 days of rest and recuperation before our traditional January weight loss jam fest.  As it is for most people, the 11 days of Christmas (or 12 in some cultures) can be a perilous time.  One way to think of it is the statistic that people gain an average of 7 pounds on a cruise.  Does this also apply to 10 cold days in Connecticut, stuck inside with a buffet in the form of a refrigerator?  Possibly.

So as not to have another Thanksgiving weekend holiday train wreck, I am going to try to go in with a rational plan this time around.  So here I go (red marks BIG FUN/Bad Food days):

  • Day 1 (Wed Dec 23):  Have a healthy breakfast.  Have a healthy lunch.  Spend time with family in the city doing the big Christmas thing, and pre-select my select my dinner options from restaurant menu on the internet.  And have a huge workout.    
  • Day 2 (Christmas Eve):  Keep it together for breakfast and lunch.  Have a huge workout.  Abandon hope for Christmas Eve dinner at friend's house.  Choose not to have remorse.  
  • Day 3 (Christmas Day):  No exercise.  Rich food.  Candy.  etc. etc. etc.  Choose not to have remorse.
  • Day 4/5 (Boxing Day and Day After Boxing Day):  I've never celebrated Boxing Day before, but why not?  Spending the weekend away with DSW.  Will plan to get workouts in (probably not huge ones) to mitigate some of the damage.  Not planning to be perfect this weekend.
  • Day 6-8 (Mon-Wed):  Exercise like a maniac.  Live like a cold-hearted Puritan for all breakfasts and lunches.  Keep it sane for dinner.  Seek to avoid stealing candy from my children.  
  • Day 9 (New Years Eve):  Big workout again.  Keep it sane for breakfast/lunch.  Behave poorly New Years Eve.
  • Day 10 (New Years Day):  Rub temples gently.  Get a big workout.  Keep it pretty normal for a Saturday.
  • Day 11 (Sunday):  Back on plan.  

** Additional consideration:  I will give myself bonus points if I can avoid the temptation to graze betwixt meals, particularly on BIG FUN days.

Predicted damage:  I am conservatively forecasting about 8 to 10 meals not on program and roughly 24 meals on program.  This translates into about 27% indulgence rate, which seems manageable for a young(ish) man on maintenance.  Hopefully, 10 days of solid exercise will also be a mitigating factor.  All-in-all, my plan feels fun/pretty relaxed while also unlikely to cause massive self-loathing and regret when it is all over.  Unlike going on a cruise.

I'm planning on giving myself at least a few days before I get my weigh-in.  If I were a betting man, I would put my post-vacation weight at about 3-4 lbs above goal.  I am already planning to spend January working back down to fighting weight.  I really don't want to have to start paying to go to my Weight Watchers meetings.

Happy Holidays!!!




  1. best line: "cold-hearted puritan" - awesome. i'm going to be able to escape multiple large gatherings but will allow small indulgences on christmas eve. after that it's back on plan!


  2. This is hilarious. And so totally realistic. I think I will plan to do the same planning. good idea. Happy Holidays--Look forward to your future blogs.

  3. i LOVE your honesty and humor! great plan for the upcoming days :)

  4. So funny. (and realistic) GREAT PLAN.

    I am very wildly curious about what "huge workout" looks like. Treadmill? Stairmaster? How many minutes? How many APs? I just discovered this new machine at the gym which is sort of like a combo stairclimber/elliptical and I LOVE it. Do you always do the same thing or do you mix it up?

    I had a BIG FUN/Bad Food day today. It was my mother's birthday and we took her out for a big meal. But it reminded me of your "I'm gonna have a big bad breakfast but then end up ordering oatmeal" story. I ordered something called "prime rib stew" which I thought was going to be, you know, like beef stew but richer? and it turned out to be more like a Progresso Light One Point Broth. LOL. Then when it was dessert time my daughters let me have ONE SPOONFUL and then they started attacking me with utensils. This is what "asking for help" looks like in our family. So I think I managed to get out of the BIG FUN/BAD FOOD night with not so much damage.

  5. DSW? You're spending the weekend away with a shoe store chain?

  6. You have a plan and I think that is great. Good for you and enjoy the holidays.

  7. Thanks! That was good inspiration! I think I will guess my indulgence rate......and see how well I do...See if I do better than my guess!

  8. Hey Dave: Weightwatchers is about LIVING not obsessing. Enjoy--

  9. I'm starting my WW lifestyle again on 01-01-10. I can't wait to rejuvenate my diet and get motivated for New Year's. Plus, I'm going public and documenting every day of my WW diet on my new blog at http://thepracticaldieter.blogspot.com, with different exercises, recipes and ideas I try out!

    Wish me luck!

    The Practical Dieter

  10. I have re-discovered the WW web site and the blogs which are new to me look to be an excellent resource. Hope the plan kept the damage to a minimum... I weighed Sat and had to pay for my meeting but only 2nd time since hitting LT in Oct 2002 so I'll take your example and keep the self loathing to a minimum while trying to get more of a workout in as I re-enter every day life from the holiday zone and get OP. Happy 2010! Thanks for taking the time to blog.

  11. David,

    My journey to lose 275 pounds has been enormously successful. Along the way I've picked apart most every weight loss company, plan, and/or product. But from Day 1, I knew that Weight Watchers was different. I have much respect and admiration for WW. and always will. It's the one "plan" that closely resembles exactly what I've been doing for nearly 500 days and 233 pounds...Living and learning about portion control--being aware and being responsible and honest with myself.
    Writing about it everyday has helped me break through the mistakes and patterns of the past. I'm breaking free in grand fashion!
    I was honored to have my words of advice featured on the same post with your words of advice on Jack's blog.
    You look incredible by the way!

    Sean Anderson
    The Daily Diary of A Winning Loser

  12. Discovered you through JackSh*t's blog. While I didn't use WW myself to lose my 110+ lbs, I've known a lot of folks that have been very successful on the plan. Also, I very much respect the attitude (and humor) you have - once you build the habits and establish a healthy lifestyle, you don't have to be a "cold hearted puritan". Everything in moderation, even moderation, I say! Will definitely keep following you to see what 2010 holds!

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  14. iam always ready for such a Christmas cruise : nice of u
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