Body, Mind & Spirit

For some reason, I weigh more on January 2 than I do before December 1. These extra five pounds always arrive as a surprise, but then I retrace my steps through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and realize this weight might be the result of having eaten an entire turkey, four pies, eight-dozen cookies and my Aunt Kathryn’s fruitcake, which always seems to arrive by FedEx on New Year’s Eve.

Holidays are tough on the waistline, that’s why this year I’m taking measures to counter this growing phenomenon. For every pound of turkey I eat, I’m exercising an additional 30 minutes. Each time I eat a cookie, I’m doing 50 push-ups. And each time I eat a slice of pie, I’m going to endure the excruciating agony of taking a long walk with my wife. Listening to her talk should melt three pounds, easily!

I’ve also got the idea that instead of eating fruitcake, I’ll eat fresh fruit. Honestly, who really enjoys fruitcake, anyway? I’ll eat vegetables instead of pastries. I’ll eat nuts instead of bread.

I’m not waiting until January 2 to make my New Year’s resolution. This year, I’m going to deal with the Spirit of Christmas Past by not buying into old habits. I’m going to make myself an early present by not having to make a New Year’s resolution. As for the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come – well, those shadows, as Ebenezer Scrooge discovered, can be altered by a changed lifestyle. I’ll write down these goals so I won’t forget them and keep them close at hand as I jog through the winter wonderland.

Having faith won’t hurt either. I’ve got a busy season during Advent and Christmas with more than enough activity to keep me moving and grooving with THE SPIRIT. If I’m attentive and getting the proper amounts of exercise for body, mind and spirit, I’ll also need to do more praying, helping and giving. Bethlehem is a long journey. Being on the road with Jesus should burn a few calories and actually make me a happier, more well-rounded disciple – less the waistline.

But this is just me. You may have other designs for your diet and exercise plan. Just don’t forget to make a plan! The first step towards achieving a goal is creating a goal. So get out pen and paper and write your plan now. If you wait until January 2, you’ll feel far more discouraged and perhaps heavier. When it comes to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, it always helps to make our plans before the fruitcake arrives.

And by the way – a fruitcake – can make a great doorstop.

Todd Outcalt is the author of twenty-two books and writes the humorous daily blog He writes frequently for magazines such as The Christian Century, Rev!, and YouthWorker, and his newest book titles include The Youth Ministry Encyclopedia (Amazon Kindle) and He Said, She Said: Biblical Stories from a Male and Female Perspective (with Michelle Knight).