Flick: Are you kidding? Stick my tongue to that stupid pole? That’s dumb!

Schwartz: That’s ’cause you know it’ll stick!

Flick: You’re full of it!

Schwartz: Oh yeah?

Flick: Yeah!

Schwartz: Well I double-DOG-dare ya!

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a “triple dare you”? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.

Schwartz: OK! I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!

And, of course, poor Flick took on the Triple Dog Dare.

This was not wise, of course, but what if we, in the same spirit of taking action beyond what we’d do on our own, triple dog dared ourselves to make a plan NOW, exactly two weeks before Christmas?

Sometimes a good, appropriate challenge is just what we need to stretch beyond our own normal inclinations or desires.

So here it is: I triple-dog-dare us to reach January 1 without gaining, or losing a pound. Just maintain and enjoy the holidays with common sense and moderation.

Several years ago, the Washington Post did a similar challenge: Here are highlights from the article:

The Thanksgiving holiday kicks off weeks of nonstop, celebratory eating, at the office, home and in between, that leaves many revelers carrying as much as six extra pounds then the dust settles on January 1.

Research suggests that it takes until late spring or early summer to trim those added pounds …some never do lose it, but add it to their health permanently.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Let’s challenge ourselves to make this season different, and no, that doesn’t mean dieting, deprivation or anything even remotely painful. It’s the simple, achievable goal to simply maintain your weight through the holidays. On New Year’s Day you can do whatever you want: embark on a more ambitious diet and exercise regime, join Weight Watchers, whatever you want. The point is that no matter you’d like to start then, you’ll be well-served by starting the year with no more baggage than you have right now.

Studies show that dieting is even less productive than usual during the holidays. Stress also increases, which by definition, includes not being in control of your situation. Managing how and what we eat and making exercise a priority (even just a few minutes each day) is one of the few ways we CAN control our lives, and as a side benefit, greatly reduce our stress.

Sally Squire, who authored the column says, “The holidays are a notoriously bad time to try to lose weight. Most research suggests that people fail. They wind up feeling doubly miserable because they tried to deprive themselves and didn’t succeed. What an awful way to the start the New Year!” 

Here are five pointers to get us started.

1) Begin the holiday challenge by making a commitment and weighing yourself. Though it may be difficult, and is by no means the only way to measure health, it’s what we need for the month to stay steady. Studies show that those who check themselves with a standard measurement regularly are the ones who most successfully manage. Yes, it is normal for the body to fluctuate by up to 2 pounds every day, so once a week is really often enough. I’ve included a chart below to help us.

December 2022 Triple Dog Dare Health Challenge

I hereby commit to following the laws of moderation in eating and exercising this month to not gain or lose. I will celebrate the season with self-control and self-respect, making health choices that will make me and my Heavenly Father happy about how I care for myself this month.

Name and Date

December 12, 2022
  + / –
December 19, 2022
December 26, 2022
January 2, 2023
January 9, 2023

2) Plan ahead. Get out the calendar. Mark the days where you’ll be attending special events that will have extra food. It may surprise you to see how very many days are just regular days and not an excuse to indulge in extra holiday goodies.

3) Keep a running tally on what you eat and how much exercise you get. Don’t get carried away, but to simply see it on the calendar or on a note card will jog your thoughts and help you be mindful.

4) Get enough sleep. Some studies show that sleep deprivation can significantly boost appetite. For myself, I know that when I’m running on too little sleep, I am much more inclined to snack on “empty-calorie” foods, and to eat whatever is quickly available, rather than having the stamina and mental clarity to make smarter choices.

5) Spend your calories wisely. Though the treats (and we all love them) abound this month, without a balance of appropriate food groups and nutrients, we are hungry both consciously and subconsciously, and instinctively reach for the “uppers” of high sugar/processed foods. Spend enough of your calories on healthy food to meet nutritional needs, which helps you feel “full” and in control, then spend your extra calories on the special foods that are arrive just at this special time. Don’t waste them on foods that are available year round.

OK, ready, set, GO! Think how great we’re going to feel about ourselves, our lives and the New Year on the first Monday in January when we’re at the same weight we are today. Now that, my friends, is a gift we all want, need and deserve.