The holidays are here and for a lot of us that means eating. Lots of eating! There’s nothing better than Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and I can’t wait for some of the ono grinds I’ll be enjoying in the next few weeks. I’m sure I’ll probably enjoy a bit too much in fact. One of my friends once told me that Thanksgiving isn’t over until you hate yourself, and that the same rule applies for Christmas dinner too (that one made me laugh). Overeating isn’t something we do only on holidays. Overeating and obesity have become chronic problems in the US, and here in Hawaii. While beautiful people come in all shapes and sizes, the reality is, that many of us could improve our surfing (and our health) by losing a few pounds. Shortly after the indulgence of Christmas comes the New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight. If that is one of your resolutions in 2019, maybe it’s time to look at a new strategy or distraction. I recently read an article about a researcher who found that he had gained a lot of unwanted weight and decided he needed to do something about it. As a scientist, he understood that weight management is all about caloric intake and the balance of your calories in versus calories out. So, he decided to take a threepronged approach to losing weight. First, he adopted an 80/20 diet, so 80 percent of his calories came from healthy, wholefood sources and the other 20 percent he could eat whatever he wanted. This ensured that the majority of his food was healthy, without depriving himself of foods that he loved (as deprivation often causes people to break their diets). The second part of the weight loss campaign was exercise. The more we exercise, the more calories we burn. Of course, as surfers, our entire hobby involves exercise. Sometimes it can be easy to get a bit lazy with our surfing, riding bigger boards than we need and talking story rather than keeping busy in the lineup. If this sounds familiar, try to find other cross-training activities that not only help you burn calories, but also specifically help you get fitter for surfing (such as paddling, yoga, Pilates, etc.). The third part of the researcher’s weight loss program was the one that interested me the most, is distraction. Like many of us, he found that when he was inactive and lazy, he often fell into bad snacking habits. For instance, when he was watching television, he often ate snacks even though he wasn’t hungry. Meanwhile, when he was working on his coursework for his master’s degree, he stayed super busy and focused that he didn’t snack so much. He decided that he needed to minimize the down time by keeping himself busy and distracted. This way, he would not only be more productive and accomplish more in life, it also prevented him from mindlessly snacking. The three-pronged strategy worked for the researcher (he lost nearly 50 pounds!) and it can work for the rest of us too. If your New Year’s resolution is to get back into shape so you can surf and live your best, try a bit of healthy distraction. There’s no telling what you might accomplish!