‘Tis the season

It’s that time of year again. Christmas time!! The only justification for winter. A time to eat, drink, and be merry.

For some of us, (say, the ones who still have a good 10 pounds of pregnancy weight left to lose), we look forward to the holiday season with just a hint of dread. The chocolate, shortbread, sugar cookies, and egg nog that raise their delicious heads this time of year are a temptation too delightful to deny. And while we may enjoy each tasty morsel while we’re eating them, we sure don’t love having to lose twenty extra pounds come January 1. Maybe you feel my pain.

But not all is lost. What else does this time of year bring? Shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. While I was braving the insanity of the mall the other day, it suddenly occurred to me. Christmas shopping  is a wonderful way to shed some unwelcome pounds. I quickly threw together a weight loss regimen based on my day that can be easily replicated.  And now I share it with you:

How it works: This, like weight watchers, is a point based system. But the goal is to rack up as many points as you can. More points= more calories lost.

Obviously this does not work for online shopping. Sorry.

What you need: A mall. Preferably a busy one. Comfy shoes, and of course, your wallet.

To get the most of your workout, take a child or two. Get 5 points right off the bat for each child in tow, and add an extra 5 if they are age 4 and under.

Bonus Points: Add another 5 per child if they stayed up super late the night before. Add 3 if they refused to eat their breakfast.

Here’s the workout. Remember, this is based on my day.

1. Drive to the mall. This in itself doesn’t burn too many calories. It’s kind of like stretching before an intense workout. Breathe and find your focus. Focus on staying calm and relaxed.

2. Arrive at the mall. Step out into the freezing cold wind, tensing every muscle in your body in an effort to stay warm. Like Pilates. Remember to breathe. 10 points.

Bonus Points: If you forgot to put on anything resembling winter wear. 1 point per forgotten item.

Bonus Bonus Points: If you have a child and forgot the stroller. Add 20 points for hauling the infant carseat/child in by hand. Bonus Bonus Bonus points: 1 point for every bag you have to strap to a part of your body. Like weightlifting.

3. You’re in. Time to Shop! Remember to breathe. Here we go…

4. Bathroom Time. This will happen a few times throughout the day, so remember to multiply the points by the number of times you have to go. Wait in line and find a stall. Fold yourself in an impossible position in order to pee without actually touching the toilet seat. Hold. Like yoga. 10 points.

Bonus Points: If the door won’t lock and you have to hold it shut while maintaining your position. 5 points.

Bonus Bonus Points: For every child you have to take in with you, add 5 points. If they crawl on the floor for any reason or sneak peaks in the adjoining stalls, add another 5.

5. Shop! Manoeuvre your way through the crowded mall and into the stores, dodging passer-by and errant children alike. Like step-class. 10 points.

Bonus Points: If you can’t find a damn thing you’re looking for. And you forgot your list. 5 points.

Bonus Bonus Points: Trying to buy a present for your kids without them seeing. 5 points.

6. Lunch. Wait at a kiosk in the food court. Get a tray full of burgers and drinks. If you have children, try to balance the tray on top of the stroller, make your way through the crowd and search for a table that’s not covered in ketchup, all without spilling. If you don’t need a stroller, carry the tray with both hands as high as you can to avoid bumping into people. Like ballet. 20 points.

Bonus Points: Cajole the children into eating while convincing them to stay at the table and not throw their fries at people. 5 points. Add 2 points for every spilled drink. Subtract 5 points if you actually manage to eat anything. Keep breathing.

(If you don’t have children….enjoy your meal. Also subtract 20 points.)

7. Coffee. By now you’re probably in need of a little pick-me-up. Wait in line at Starbucks or some other incredibly expensive coffee place. Drink your coffee as fast as you can when you get it to prevent it being spilt/going cold before you get a chance. Like cardio. Get that heart pumping! 5 points.

Bonus Points: Add an extra 2 for every shot of espresso.

8.Tantrum. By this point, everyone’s getting nice and tired and if you have kids, they’re getting cranky. Go into a toy store or a candy store or hell, even a golf store, until you find something your kid just has to have. Prepare yourself, and then tell them no. Grasp the screaming child in your arms and try to subdue them before it gets embarrassing. Like wrestling. 30 points.

Bonus Points: Your child is a biter. 10 points.

9. Home Time! Like arriving at the mall, only now its dark and even colder, and there are extra bags to carry. Load the kids and the bags and start the freezing car to let it warm. Like Pilates. By now your muscles should be shrieking! 10 points.

Bonus Points: Add 2 points for every degree it is below zero.

10. Drive home. Turn the music up loud enough so the child still tantruming can no longer be heard. Get your focus again. Try to convince yourself that this was totally worth it. Like a cool down. 5 points.

Bonus Points: If it starts blizzarding on the way home. 5 points.

Well there you have it! This may not be an exact science, but I’m pretty sure 1 point equals about 100 calories. So in one day of shopping, I burnt 19,400 calories. That’s a hella-good work out.  And so…easy….

That’s not even counting the mad-sweats, the ultimate calorie-burning-bonus. They can and will happen at any point during your shopping trip…whenever you happen to become enraged. What’s a mad-sweat you ask? Trust me, when the time comes, you’ll know. 10 points per episode.

Repeat this workout as many times as necessary to complete all your Christmas shopping. But whatever you do, definitely don’t finish all your shopping in one day. It’s most effective if you go once a week, especially the closer we get to Christmas. When the malls get more crowded and the stores sell out of whatever you’re looking for, that’s prime weight loss right there.

Now you’re free to enjoy all those delicious Christmas treats, without the guilt and the poundage!! Worth it!

Merry Christmas,

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