So You Ate Too Much Figgy Pudding for The Holidays

December 26, 2008
Category: Health

Winter holidays invite us to gather with friends and family for unusually sumptuous meals. Even strict dieters can and should take holidays from eating "clean," bodybuilder lingo for maintaining a relatively low-fat, controlled-carbohydrate, nutritious diet. Some foods are good for your body, but some holiday foods are especially good for the soul. A single meal or day of meals alone need not derail a fitness program as long as you don’t let overindulgence become your regular dietary style after the holidays.

Mature men tend to put on more body fat more quickly than younger men, so overindulgence can produce undesired effects more quickly than when we were younger. The main two reasons are lower levels of activity and of testosterone. Assuming you don’t have a physical ailment or disability that prevents you from vigorous exercise, your activity level is largely a choice.

Some people "pay" for their overindulgence by feeling guilty. This can be an insidious, unconscious way to avoid doing anything really effective about getting back in shape. The unconscious dialogue goes like this: "If I feel guilty enough, I don't have to think about a diet or exercise."  Ditch the guilt and just return to healthier habits.

The components of physical fitness—maintaining a sensible, sustainable diet along with regular exercise—are well known and widely acknowledged by experts, yet people seem to be looking perpetually for some secret diet, supplement, or exercise that will strip off body fat with little or no effort. If it were really possible to gain six-pack abs by popping a pill, we would all look like the cast of the Spartan-fantasy movie "300."

The New Year presents a special opportunity to make or reaffirm your resolve to begin or jump-start a fitness program. Gym attendance tends to surge right after the holidays. But within three months I've seen my gym return to normal again, as less-committed new members start to slack off from their resolutions. Being aware of this tendency can help you get over that third-month hump. Also, remember to ease back into training, as even a couple of weeks off can be enough to require a period of adjustment before returning to pre-holiday levels of exertion.

Lower levels of testosterone present a different challenge, and it is normal for men over 40 to see their natural testosterone decrease gradually. Many doctors have an imperfect understanding of testosterone replacement therapy, and the normal level range for men is so wide as to be almost meaningless. Is your level normal for a man of 50 or for a man of 20? Would an optimal level be better than one that is merely average? Low normal levels may occur along with symptoms of hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency, which can include loss of muscle mass, increase in body fat, low energy, decrease in mental clarity, and depression.  An endocrinologist or a doctor who specializes in anti-aging medicine may be better prepared to diagnose and treat hypogonadism than your standard internist. People living with HIV are especially prone to hypogonadism at any age, and regular diagnostic tests should include tests of testosterone levels periodically to monitor any changes.

These days testosterone replacement can be as simple as wearing a patch or rubbing a small packet of gel on some hairless part of your body once daily. Discuss these or other medical options with your doctor.

Although it may be tempting to hibernate during the winter, letting that holiday break from a healthy diet and exercise extend for weeks or months after the holiday lights and other decorations are put away, make an effort to renew your fitness resolve and get yourself eating right and exercising regularly. If you experience symptoms of low testosterone, inform your doctor and start treatment, if indicated. Your waistline will thank you for it.

Tags: Advice, Weight
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Post written by William Schindler (View Author Profile)
About this author: William Schindler, a.k.a., Brother William, founder and Spiritual Director of Ashram West, obtained a B.A. in Sanskrit from UC Berkeley (1975), where he also studied Hindi and Bengali, and a Master's degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University (1986). He has been studying and practicing traditional Hindu Tantra since 1969...
View all posts by William Schindler


Very good article. I'm a 55 year old gay guy (not really a daddy) who has always subscribed to moderation. I hit the gym 3 times a week for 90 minutes of working out and I always eat whatever I want but always in moderation. A piece of cake or pie now and then. In addition to working out, I go out walking every day even in this cold snowy Chicago winter. Interestly enough good looking young guys like me,,,not so much for the daddy factor, they don't seem to care about my age,,,most likely they may like me because of the shape I'm in. It really boosts and flatters my ego when I'm out in a bar and a good looking guy comes up to me says "your hot", but Daddy Hunt has pretty much a bust for me. lol

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You are all so cute!
Lets try one thing....I like to see you ...just with moustache...
It can be really sexy to see how you look!

This is a very informative and interesting post. This is helpful for all the men out there.

Santa in all that Red? Just as interesting as many other things in the spirit of fun and not being overly serious 24/7.

Daddy Santa in all that Red is very hot for sure. His naughty hunters are likely not far behind.

Santa in hot red is kewl. Im sure a lot of naughty elves are anxious. I hope everyone is having a fine day for sure :)