It’s Time To Gain That Holiday Weight Again

“Oh yeah,” Lee said from his side of the table at the Two Sisters Cafe in Idaho Springs, “you know how many calories you burn just trying to stay warm?” I took huge guiltless bites of a breakfast burrito. The question was purely rhetorical—neither of us said “500 per hour” or “300 per hour.”

My answer, through a mouthful of cheese, eggs, tortillas and salsa, was “Yeff.” Not Yes I Know How Many Calories You Burn Trying To Stay Warm; Yes, I Agree That You Burn A Lot Of Calories Trying To Stay Warm. And yes I may order another one of these breakfast burritos after I finish this one.

We had bailed a few minutes earlier on a winter climb of a Colorado peak, something that I’ve since learned usually has a 40% chance of success and a slightly lower chance of fun, with high winds, plentiful blowing snow blasting exposed skin, and postholing. If we summited, I would celebrate by eating whatever I wanted. But we bailed, so I ate whatever I wanted anyway. Because it was cold, I was hungry, and I’m an adult who has given up on achieving, or even setting, any fitness goals in the month of December. Maybe you should too. I mean, bears do the same thing, right?

It’s that time of year again. Baby, It’s Cold Outside. And we should eat more butter and frosting. Do You Hear What I Hear? That’s my voice ordering dessert. ’Tis the season for me to eat a plate of snowman-shaped cookies like they were Ritz Bits.

Did you know if you Google the phrase “holiday eating,” the first 10 results contain the word “health” or “healthy”?

The truth is, you can eat better during the holidays. That is one option. You can also just decide to say Fuck It. After all, you’re probably going to wake up on January 1st and tell yourself you’re going to lose weight regardless of how you eat between now and the Rose Bowl. Fact: If you Google the phrases “new year’s resolution” and “lose weight,” you get more than 3 million results.

Here are 6 tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to finish that plate of cookies someone brought into the office.
  2. If you’re drinking liquids, make sure to eat something at the same time.
  3. It’s hard to keep track of how many hors d’oeuvres you’ve eaten at most parties. Those little plates are deceptive, so do three or four rounds. You’ve got to survive until you eat dinner after the party, for heaven’s sake.
  4. Desserts and eggnog are loaded with empty calories. Hit that shit HARD.
  5. Instead of eating fruits and vegetables, try substitutes like pumpkin pie, Cranberry Bliss Bars, fruitcake, or cherry cheesecake.
  6. Skip the skim milk, soy, or almond milk—ask the barista to make your latte with whole milk, or better yet, half and half.

As you’re stuffing your face with all those calories that are going straight to your thighs, hips, or love handles, imagine the dark days of January and February, when you’ll be outside tromping on a pair of snowshoes (which are way heavier than regular shoes), literally freezing your ass on a wet chairlift seat, shivering while belaying, heaving shovelfuls of snow over your shoulder while clearing every square inch of concrete in front of your house, or trying not to vomit from the screaming barfies at the top of an ice climb. You’ll be glad you ate emotionally and packed on some extra furnace fuel those last two weeks of December.


11 replies on “It’s Time To Gain That Holiday Weight Again

  • Page

    I’m injured right now so just having a reminder of how much I love Type-II fun is a pick-me-up. Keep it up Brendan, I love your stuff and will continue to live vicariously through you until I am better.

    • Justin

      That makes two of us! How many calories do you burn simply watching people ski, winter mountaineer, and freeze their butts off on netflix? Don’t know, but the snacks sure are tasty.

  • Nick

    Cyclocross season is coming to a close here in the Midwest. I know there a few New Years resolution races, but alas: I am engorging myself with beer and holiday *cheer.


    I’ll hit the computrainer in Jan. and Feb.

  • Eric O'Rafferty

    Totally cracked me up!! Good read and advice I try to follow.

    As a girlfriend from long ago used to say, “Why eat dinner to justify desert? Just eat desert!” Thus ensued a date where we each ate a pint of Haagen Daz Chocolate Chocolate Chip. This was back in the high metabolism days, of course.

  • Dan

    Is that photo up at Brainard Lake? I’ve been in that exact spot, same conditions, many many times. Fairly miserable up there when it is like that, but so much fun to snowshoe up there, my dog loved it. I need some adventures like that again soon!

  • jody

    is that pic taken at brainard lake? i live three miles from there, in the summer. i love CC skiing there in the winter!

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