Y Notes

Fitting it all in during the holidays

  • As I stood in the check-out line for what seemed like the sixteenth time this week – a close estimate - I determined the items on the conveyor belt would get me through the next 48 hours.

    Not that my cupboards were bare, but rather that the activities and events for the following two days were covered.

    As the items were scanned, I had food for a group lunch and gifts for donations at youth group and at school. Everything after that, such as an upcoming gift exchange or baked items for a concession stand, would be dealt with the next day.

    Between the holiday lunches, teacher gifts and Christmas parties, every day is filled with something that needs to be done or to be purchased or to be made or to be attended.

    But I am not going to get everything done that I want to and that’s o.k.

    The world will keep on turning even if my Christmas tree doesn’t get lit because the segments don’t connect or my Christmas cards evolve into Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day cards.

    They will just stand out more upon their arrival.

    During this especially hectic time of year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

    Rather, we need to take a step back and enjoy each event as it comes along.

    That being said, there are a few things which can’t be put off and need to be attended to in a timely manner, such as the YMCA Board of Directors elections.

    In theory, we could just make the out-going members – Jim Hall, Janet Hubert and Michael Kuhlen - serve another three-year term, but we want them to like us when they leave the board.

    All YMCA members should have received a ballot for the Board of Directors election in the mail this past week.

    They are due by 5 p.m.on Sunday.

    The out-going members have given of their time and talent for the past three years.

    And those who have agreed to run for the board are willingly agreeing to add another item to their already busy schedules.

    When they agreed to run, we didn’t ask if their Christmas cards were done yet.

    We also can’t put off preparing for upcoming events such as a high school swim meet on Friday.

    (The pool will close Friday at 12:30 p.m. with diving at 4 p.m. and swimming events at approximately 5 or 5:30 p.m.)

    Why such a large chunk of time between closing of the pool and the meet starting?

    A swim meet is no small endeavor, asking of time and involvement from a variety of people including the high school coaches, volunteer assistant coaches, parents and school staff who volunteer to be doused – I mean – time at the end of each lane, the YMCA youth swim team which hosts a concession stand and the Y staff, including Aquatic Director Anna Sis and the lifeguards, who spend time before and after the event to make sure the pool is in tip-top shape.

    So over the next few weeks, evaluate if something really needs to be done like putting up a fourth Christmas tree in your house or would that time be better spent making cookies for your neighbor?

    Of course, some things are not optional.

    I would like to say that I got everything I needed for the next two weeks when I was at the store.

    But I didn’t even get out of the store before I ventured back for the forgotten items for a team dinner.

    And for the swim team members, the pre-meet dinner is not optional.

     Text

  • 14-Dec-2018

As I stood in the check-out line for what seemed like the sixteenth time this week – a close estimate - I determined the items on the conveyor belt would get me through the next 48 hours.

Not that my cupboards were bare, but rather that the activities and events for the following two days were covered.

As the items were scanned, I had food for a group lunch and gifts for donations at youth group and at school. Everything after that, such as an upcoming gift exchange or baked items for a concession stand, would be dealt with the next day.

Between the holiday lunches, teacher gifts and Christmas parties, every day is filled with something that needs to be done or to be purchased or to be made or to be attended.

But I am not going to get everything done that I want to and that’s o.k.

The world will keep on turning even if my Christmas tree doesn’t get lit because the segments don’t connect or my Christmas cards evolve into Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day cards.

They will just stand out more upon their arrival.

During this especially hectic time of year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

Rather, we need to take a step back and enjoy each event as it comes along.

That being said, there are a few things which can’t be put off and need to be attended to in a timely manner, such as the YMCA Board of Directors elections.

In theory, we could just make the out-going members – Jim Hall, Janet Hubert and Michael Kuhlen - serve another three-year term, but we want them to like us when they leave the board.

All YMCA members should have received a ballot for the Board of Directors election in the mail this past week.

They are due by 5 p.m.on Sunday.

The out-going members have given of their time and talent for the past three years.

And those who have agreed to run for the board are willingly agreeing to add another item to their already busy schedules.

When they agreed to run, we didn’t ask if their Christmas cards were done yet.

We also can’t put off preparing for upcoming events such as a high school swim meet on Friday.

(The pool will close Friday at 12:30 p.m. with diving at 4 p.m. and swimming events at approximately 5 or 5:30 p.m.)

Why such a large chunk of time between closing of the pool and the meet starting?

A swim meet is no small endeavor, asking of time and involvement from a variety of people including the high school coaches, volunteer assistant coaches, parents and school staff who volunteer to be doused – I mean – time at the end of each lane, the YMCA youth swim team which hosts a concession stand and the Y staff, including Aquatic Director Anna Sis and the lifeguards, who spend time before and after the event to make sure the pool is in tip-top shape.

So over the next few weeks, evaluate if something really needs to be done like putting up a fourth Christmas tree in your house or would that time be better spent making cookies for your neighbor?

Of course, some things are not optional.

I would like to say that I got everything I needed for the next two weeks when I was at the store.

But I didn’t even get out of the store before I ventured back for the forgotten items for a team dinner.

And for the swim team members, the pre-meet dinner is not optional.

 Text

Struggling to Resume Exercise Routine

  • Since Monday was a holiday, everyone gets a free pass this shortened week to put off the inevitable: resuming a routine. (Who else kept thinking it was a Monday until at least 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday?)

    With school back in session and sports practices underway and music lessons resumed, it is time to get back on a routine - on a healthy routine with more sleep, more exercise, nutritious meals and, in general, less chaos.

    Monday, let’s aim for Monday with a full, glorious week ahead of us to establish a good, healthy routine.

    But there is a lot of work ahead and a lot of bad habits to combat.

    As summer progressed, bedtime at my house got later and later. It’s hard to go to crawl in bed - much less go to sleep - when there is still light in the sky.

    As the first day of school approached, I tried to get my kids to bed earlier.

    But even two weeks in, we are still struggling to eat dinner before 8:30 p.m. and get to bed at a decent time.

    But I am determined to get the family back on a routine, whether it’s a meal plan for the week or making sure the designated homework area is clear of clutter.

    And resuming a routine won’t just benefit the kids.

    My exercise routine has taken a hit as of late because of disorganization, lack of sleep. and a general lack of enthusiasm.

    People think I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. so I can arrive at the Y when it opens at 5 a.m.

    In reality, I’m lucky if I’m on a treadmill by 5:30 a.m. these days.

    I will readily confess that I didn’t show up until 5:48 a.m. Wednesday…and left at 6:06 a.m. for coffee. Priorities.

    There are a variety of reasons why I’m struggling to get back into a good exercise routine.

    Washing dishes late into the night, helping with homework that was “misplaced” until it was time for bed, or the inability to not watch whatever random Netflix show my husband is watching.

    The excuses are infinite.

    And it’s not just me who are struggling to get back into a routine.

    Throughout the day, I regularly see people who were dedicated 5 a.m. exercisers, but have fallen out of practice over the summer.

    After a variety of excuses, the conversation boils down to that they are out of their normal routine.

    They swear they will get back into a regular regimen after school gets back in session or after the holidays or when they can get more than 5 hours of sleep.

    Again, the excuses are infinite.

    But the time has come to dig out those sweatpants from the bottom of your laundry basket.

    While we all know the drill, here’s a few gentle reminders to get you back on track, whether it comes to exercising or just trying to fit something healthy back to your life:

    Lay out your workout clothes the night before.

    Whether it’s a swimsuit for a few laps in the pool or biking shoes for the indoor cycling class, you are more apt to fit in your exercise session if the clothes are out in the open and ready to go.

    Develop a training schedule.

    If you know you are supposed to do an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the bike, you are more likely to stick with the plan.

    Join a fitness class or find an exercise buddy. There is nothing like the guilt of missing a few classes or knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to motivate you.

    And there is no time like the present.

    If we don’t get a routine established now, we will soon be derailed by other important priorities, like giant pumpkin flavored lattes, endless Christmas cookies, countless holiday parties, where you are going to try just one…of everything.

     Text

  • 07-Sep-2018

Since Monday was a holiday, everyone gets a free pass this shortened week to put off the inevitable: resuming a routine. (Who else kept thinking it was a Monday until at least 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday?)

With school back in session and sports practices underway and music lessons resumed, it is time to get back on a routine - on a healthy routine with more sleep, more exercise, nutritious meals and, in general, less chaos.

Monday, let’s aim for Monday with a full, glorious week ahead of us to establish a good, healthy routine.

But there is a lot of work ahead and a lot of bad habits to combat.

As summer progressed, bedtime at my house got later and later. It’s hard to go to crawl in bed - much less go to sleep - when there is still light in the sky.

As the first day of school approached, I tried to get my kids to bed earlier.

But even two weeks in, we are still struggling to eat dinner before 8:30 p.m. and get to bed at a decent time.

But I am determined to get the family back on a routine, whether it’s a meal plan for the week or making sure the designated homework area is clear of clutter.

And resuming a routine won’t just benefit the kids.

My exercise routine has taken a hit as of late because of disorganization, lack of sleep. and a general lack of enthusiasm.

People think I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. so I can arrive at the Y when it opens at 5 a.m.

In reality, I’m lucky if I’m on a treadmill by 5:30 a.m. these days.

I will readily confess that I didn’t show up until 5:48 a.m. Wednesday…and left at 6:06 a.m. for coffee. Priorities.

There are a variety of reasons why I’m struggling to get back into a good exercise routine.

Washing dishes late into the night, helping with homework that was “misplaced” until it was time for bed, or the inability to not watch whatever random Netflix show my husband is watching.

The excuses are infinite.

And it’s not just me who are struggling to get back into a routine.

Throughout the day, I regularly see people who were dedicated 5 a.m. exercisers, but have fallen out of practice over the summer.

After a variety of excuses, the conversation boils down to that they are out of their normal routine.

They swear they will get back into a regular regimen after school gets back in session or after the holidays or when they can get more than 5 hours of sleep.

Again, the excuses are infinite.

But the time has come to dig out those sweatpants from the bottom of your laundry basket.

While we all know the drill, here’s a few gentle reminders to get you back on track, whether it comes to exercising or just trying to fit something healthy back to your life:

Lay out your workout clothes the night before.

Whether it’s a swimsuit for a few laps in the pool or biking shoes for the indoor cycling class, you are more apt to fit in your exercise session if the clothes are out in the open and ready to go.

Develop a training schedule.

If you know you are supposed to do an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the bike, you are more likely to stick with the plan.

Join a fitness class or find an exercise buddy. There is nothing like the guilt of missing a few classes or knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to motivate you.

And there is no time like the present.

If we don’t get a routine established now, we will soon be derailed by other important priorities, like giant pumpkin flavored lattes, endless Christmas cookies, countless holiday parties, where you are going to try just one…of everything.

 Text

Nothing to do? Not in McCook

  • Today, I dropped off the third Graff child for college at UNL.

    A few weeks ago, we were talking about all the things he would be able to do in Lincoln, from meeting new people to participating in new opportunities to attending new events.

    That is when he lamented that McCook didn’t offer those same options.

    It is true that McCook doesn’t have the same range of restaurants and shopping and can’t host the same number of activities; we simply don’t have the population base to support everything we want here.

    But you cannot say we don’t have anything to do.

    This past weekend is a perfect example of amply opportunities and activities in the area, from Old Settlers in Indianola, to the Malleck Memorial Thrashing to the Prairie Roots Festival in Barnett Park.

    And those are just a few of the events around the area.

    But it took people coming up with an idea. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take willingness to devote time and energy to a plan.

    For example, look at the Dive-In Movie, the YMCA hosted Friday with Youth Change Reaction as a back-to-school event for 11-19 year olds.

    It’s a simple idea: show a scary, water-themed movie while sitting in the water.

    But the idea involved collaboration between the YMCA and YCR and McCook High School, which loaned the video and audio equipment.

    It took organization to figure out how to create a movie theater in the pool area.

    And it took people willing to give up their night to host the event.

    A huge thank-you to YMCA Aquatic Director Anna Sis and her lifeguards, Alex Erickson, Alissa Erickson and Moriah Payton, for guarding the pool during the movie.

    The response before and after has been great to the event and it is something the YMCA hopes to again, perhaps showing Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid for the younger crowd or Sharknado (so bad, the original made-for-TV-movie has three sequels) for an adult-themed evening.

    People wants things to do for themselves and their families, but that requires stepping up to help when asked or when you see an opportunity.

    Another great example is youth sports at the YMCA, which cannot function without volunteers.

    With youth flag football and youth volleyball registration ending Friday - hint, hint parents - teams will be forming, which means coaches, assistant coaches and officials will be in high demand.

    We need parents and adults willing to step in and coach their child and someone else’s child. (O.K. it’s not always necessary to coach your own child and in fact, I’ve discovered it can actually be easier to not coach your own child.)

    It is a commitment of time, of expertise and most importantly, of patience.

    Without those willing to step up, we wouldn’t have a program.

    So thank you in advance to those volunteering this fall for youth sports.

    Many people will say they are already busy.

    And that is true.

    But if we want to have a vibrant, successful community, we need to people willing to volunteer for these events and activities.

    And then - and this is almost just as important - take the next step:

    Show up for these activities.

    I’m not making this last part up:

    While standing in the middle of Prairie Roots Festival concert on Sunday, someone lamented to one of the organizers that there was nothing to do in McCook and that we needed more fun events.

    It would have been funny if he didn’t have to shout his concern over the music.

     Text

  • 17-Aug-2018

Today, I dropped off the third Graff child for college at UNL.

A few weeks ago, we were talking about all the things he would be able to do in Lincoln, from meeting new people to participating in new opportunities to attending new events.

That is when he lamented that McCook didn’t offer those same options.

It is true that McCook doesn’t have the same range of restaurants and shopping and can’t host the same number of activities; we simply don’t have the population base to support everything we want here.

But you cannot say we don’t have anything to do.

This past weekend is a perfect example of amply opportunities and activities in the area, from Old Settlers in Indianola, to the Malleck Memorial Thrashing to the Prairie Roots Festival in Barnett Park.

And those are just a few of the events around the area.

But it took people coming up with an idea. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take willingness to devote time and energy to a plan.

For example, look at the Dive-In Movie, the YMCA hosted Friday with Youth Change Reaction as a back-to-school event for 11-19 year olds.

It’s a simple idea: show a scary, water-themed movie while sitting in the water.

But the idea involved collaboration between the YMCA and YCR and McCook High School, which loaned the video and audio equipment.

It took organization to figure out how to create a movie theater in the pool area.

And it took people willing to give up their night to host the event.

A huge thank-you to YMCA Aquatic Director Anna Sis and her lifeguards, Alex Erickson, Alissa Erickson and Moriah Payton, for guarding the pool during the movie.

The response before and after has been great to the event and it is something the YMCA hopes to again, perhaps showing Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid for the younger crowd or Sharknado (so bad, the original made-for-TV-movie has three sequels) for an adult-themed evening.

People wants things to do for themselves and their families, but that requires stepping up to help when asked or when you see an opportunity.

Another great example is youth sports at the YMCA, which cannot function without volunteers.

With youth flag football and youth volleyball registration ending Friday - hint, hint parents - teams will be forming, which means coaches, assistant coaches and officials will be in high demand.

We need parents and adults willing to step in and coach their child and someone else’s child. (O.K. it’s not always necessary to coach your own child and in fact, I’ve discovered it can actually be easier to not coach your own child.)

It is a commitment of time, of expertise and most importantly, of patience.

Without those willing to step up, we wouldn’t have a program.

So thank you in advance to those volunteering this fall for youth sports.

Many people will say they are already busy.

And that is true.

But if we want to have a vibrant, successful community, we need to people willing to volunteer for these events and activities.

And then - and this is almost just as important - take the next step:

Show up for these activities.

I’m not making this last part up:

While standing in the middle of Prairie Roots Festival concert on Sunday, someone lamented to one of the organizers that there was nothing to do in McCook and that we needed more fun events.

It would have been funny if he didn’t have to shout his concern over the music.

 Text

Braving the cold

  • As the year comes to a close, I️ was fully prepared to offer advice about trying something new, something different, something adventurous to start out the new year.

    In fact, I️ was going to promote an outdoor hike on New Year’s Day since the YMCA will be closed. And then I looked at the forecast….combine an outdoor hike with freezing temperatures and you will really be pushed out of your comfort zone.

    Red Willow State Recreational Area is one of 10 locations across Nebraska which are part of the First Hikes by Nebraska Games and Parks. The hike north of McCook is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. from the Archery Range parking lot with a second hike at 3 p.m. from the South Dam parking lot.

    Initially, the hike was going to be the perfect opportunity to get some exercise on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. It was going to be the perfect opportunity to kick off the New Year on the right foot (or left), either is fine. It was going to be the perfect opportunity to get outside after building up all this fitness inside at the YMCA.

    But then winter actually rolled in. It is never a good day when there is a negative symbol in the weather forecast and over the next week, the temperature dips below zero more than a few times including overnight on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.

    When I️ agreed to coordinate this First Hike, I️ knew there was the possibility of adverse weather.

    As part of the Republican River Fitness Series, we monitor the weather but very rarely change a date because of the conditions. Last year, I️ did move the Reindeer Run from a Saturday to a Sunday because the wind was blowing around 47 mph and the windchill was approximately -43 degrees. But otherwise, we are outside rain or shine, snow or sun.

    And cold temperatures won’t deter me from going outdoors for a hike Monday on New Year’s Day either. I’ll just gather multiple pairs of mittens, a couple hooded sweatshirts and those flannel-lined jeans, which are not flattering but are terribly warm. It will be cold and there will likely still be snow on the ground, but I will be out there, trying something new, something different and most definitely something adventurous for the New Year.

     

    ***

    Just a few more days remain for new members to sign up without the joiner fee. The $50 fee will be waived for all those who sign up for a membership by Sunday, Dec. 31.

    If you have been telling yourself that you will lead a healthy, active lifestyle next year, here is the perfect opportunity to take a concrete step in the right direction….followed by a few more steps on the treadmills and indoor track.

     

    Registration is open through Sunday for the YMCA’s Lighten Up Team Challenge. You can grab 14 of your closest friends and family members to form a team or just sign up by yourself and be assigned to a team. Either way, you will be doing weekly workouts with this group of people for the next three months.

    The moment of truth is Jan. 2-7, when all participants will have their initial weigh-ins and fitness assessments. The kick-off is Sunday, Jan. 7 when everyone will gather in the YMCA gym for a group workout. The fee is $50 and you must be a YMCA member to participate in the Lighten Up.

     

    Finally, the YMCA will have regular hours through New Year’s Eve, when the YMCA will close at 5 p.m. The YMCA will be closed all day Monday to celebrate the New Year, reopening at 5 a.m. Tuesday. We hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year’s celebration.

     

     Text

  • 29-Dec-2017

As the year comes to a close, I️ was fully prepared to offer advice about trying something new, something different, something adventurous to start out the new year.

In fact, I️ was going to promote an outdoor hike on New Year’s Day since the YMCA will be closed. And then I looked at the forecast….combine an outdoor hike with freezing temperatures and you will really be pushed out of your comfort zone.

Red Willow State Recreational Area is one of 10 locations across Nebraska which are part of the First Hikes by Nebraska Games and Parks. The hike north of McCook is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. from the Archery Range parking lot with a second hike at 3 p.m. from the South Dam parking lot.

Initially, the hike was going to be the perfect opportunity to get some exercise on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. It was going to be the perfect opportunity to kick off the New Year on the right foot (or left), either is fine. It was going to be the perfect opportunity to get outside after building up all this fitness inside at the YMCA.

But then winter actually rolled in. It is never a good day when there is a negative symbol in the weather forecast and over the next week, the temperature dips below zero more than a few times including overnight on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.

When I️ agreed to coordinate this First Hike, I️ knew there was the possibility of adverse weather.

As part of the Republican River Fitness Series, we monitor the weather but very rarely change a date because of the conditions. Last year, I️ did move the Reindeer Run from a Saturday to a Sunday because the wind was blowing around 47 mph and the windchill was approximately -43 degrees. But otherwise, we are outside rain or shine, snow or sun.

And cold temperatures won’t deter me from going outdoors for a hike Monday on New Year’s Day either. I’ll just gather multiple pairs of mittens, a couple hooded sweatshirts and those flannel-lined jeans, which are not flattering but are terribly warm. It will be cold and there will likely still be snow on the ground, but I will be out there, trying something new, something different and most definitely something adventurous for the New Year.

 

***

Just a few more days remain for new members to sign up without the joiner fee. The $50 fee will be waived for all those who sign up for a membership by Sunday, Dec. 31.

If you have been telling yourself that you will lead a healthy, active lifestyle next year, here is the perfect opportunity to take a concrete step in the right direction….followed by a few more steps on the treadmills and indoor track.

 

Registration is open through Sunday for the YMCA’s Lighten Up Team Challenge. You can grab 14 of your closest friends and family members to form a team or just sign up by yourself and be assigned to a team. Either way, you will be doing weekly workouts with this group of people for the next three months.

The moment of truth is Jan. 2-7, when all participants will have their initial weigh-ins and fitness assessments. The kick-off is Sunday, Jan. 7 when everyone will gather in the YMCA gym for a group workout. The fee is $50 and you must be a YMCA member to participate in the Lighten Up.

 

Finally, the YMCA will have regular hours through New Year’s Eve, when the YMCA will close at 5 p.m. The YMCA will be closed all day Monday to celebrate the New Year, reopening at 5 a.m. Tuesday. We hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year’s celebration.

 

 Text

Preparing for the holidays

  • Admit if you have experienced this feeling: You select a pair of pants for the day but there is trepidation because sometimes they are loose, sometimes they are snug. You slowly pull them on, wondering if you will be able to breathe freely today or if the waistband will be digging into your mid-section all day. Finally, you button the top button and it’s not completely uncomfortable. Maybe you are imagining it, but there’s a little gap. Heck, you may even need to find a belt. You do a little happy dance and your day just got off to a good start.

    Now image that same scenario the week after Christmas. You’ve lost track of how many holiday parties you have attended. Dozens of family members have come and gone, each requiring a multi-course dinner. And those cookie-exchanges… you wouldn’t dream of eating a dozen sugar cookies, but you can’t pass up trying each of the 12 different holiday-themed cookies you swapped.

    Now, those “fat-pants” have become your skinny jeans and there is still the New Year’s Eve party to contend with. When it comes to weight management during the holidays, there are as many different theories as there are people.

    One friend told me all bets are off from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. He will eat whatever he wants and not feel guilty about it, knowing that he will resume healthy eating after the first of the year.

    Another weighs himself every Monday. He doesn’t change his eating habits or his workout schedule. He just wants to know if the scale is creeping up or down.

    Personally, I’m just going for maintain, not gain over the holidays. I will try to eat healthy, but I’m not going to pass up a piece of pie that someone has worked so hard to make – it would be an insult to them. And I will continue to work-out on a regular basis, especially since the YMCA will be open with regular hours except on the actual holidays.

    Ultimately, life is too short to not enjoy all good food and drinks over the holidays. It’s just trying to find that balance of a healthy – and enjoyable – lifestyle.

    You have to ask yourself: Would my friends and family rather be around someone who is watching every calorie, every morsel, and every bite? Or would they want to be around someone who is enjoying themselves….even if he or she has resorted to wearing sweatpants to all the holiday gatherings? I’m betting on the elastic-waistband.

    ***

    When you make a mistake, you are supposed to acknowledge it and then move on so that is what I’m doing. In my column two weeks ago, I thanked all the ladies who threw a surprise party after my triathlon. Unfortunately, because of automatic spell-check, one person’s name was “fixed” for me. Since I’ve known this person from my pre-kid days, I’d like to again thank Kristy Pollnow – not Kristy Pillow - although it makes a good alias.

    ***

    The YMCA will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, but will reopen Friday at 5 a.m. with regular hours and fitness classes. Happy Thanksgiving from the entire YMCA staff.


     Text

  • 23-Nov-2017

Admit if you have experienced this feeling: You select a pair of pants for the day but there is trepidation because sometimes they are loose, sometimes they are snug. You slowly pull them on, wondering if you will be able to breathe freely today or if the waistband will be digging into your mid-section all day. Finally, you button the top button and it’s not completely uncomfortable. Maybe you are imagining it, but there’s a little gap. Heck, you may even need to find a belt. You do a little happy dance and your day just got off to a good start.

Now image that same scenario the week after Christmas. You’ve lost track of how many holiday parties you have attended. Dozens of family members have come and gone, each requiring a multi-course dinner. And those cookie-exchanges… you wouldn’t dream of eating a dozen sugar cookies, but you can’t pass up trying each of the 12 different holiday-themed cookies you swapped.

Now, those “fat-pants” have become your skinny jeans and there is still the New Year’s Eve party to contend with. When it comes to weight management during the holidays, there are as many different theories as there are people.

One friend told me all bets are off from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. He will eat whatever he wants and not feel guilty about it, knowing that he will resume healthy eating after the first of the year.

Another weighs himself every Monday. He doesn’t change his eating habits or his workout schedule. He just wants to know if the scale is creeping up or down.

Personally, I’m just going for maintain, not gain over the holidays. I will try to eat healthy, but I’m not going to pass up a piece of pie that someone has worked so hard to make – it would be an insult to them. And I will continue to work-out on a regular basis, especially since the YMCA will be open with regular hours except on the actual holidays.

Ultimately, life is too short to not enjoy all good food and drinks over the holidays. It’s just trying to find that balance of a healthy – and enjoyable – lifestyle.

You have to ask yourself: Would my friends and family rather be around someone who is watching every calorie, every morsel, and every bite? Or would they want to be around someone who is enjoying themselves….even if he or she has resorted to wearing sweatpants to all the holiday gatherings? I’m betting on the elastic-waistband.

***

When you make a mistake, you are supposed to acknowledge it and then move on so that is what I’m doing. In my column two weeks ago, I thanked all the ladies who threw a surprise party after my triathlon. Unfortunately, because of automatic spell-check, one person’s name was “fixed” for me. Since I’ve known this person from my pre-kid days, I’d like to again thank Kristy Pollnow – not Kristy Pillow - although it makes a good alias.

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The YMCA will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, but will reopen Friday at 5 a.m. with regular hours and fitness classes. Happy Thanksgiving from the entire YMCA staff.


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