Eat, drink, sleep. Or....

It's the holidays. For many, it's the time to gain an average of 3.2 lbs.

Question: Does the average American gain weight because they are enjoying wonderful times with families and friends for about 12 days? Or do they gain weight because they're trying to deal with daily stress through the use of too much food, booze and whatever?

The evidence is coming down on the side of the latter.

Let's face it; many people nowadays have pretty demanding lives. Some work very hard. Others drive a long way to get to their job each day. A growing number of individuals have growing concerns about their futures. Add to that daily stuff the Holiday issues of spending more money for gifts, and spending time with some folks they don't really want to see all that much (there's a reason sitcoms spend so much time on in-law jokes,) and it's pretty "understandable" that they end up eating, drinking and then flaking out on the couch.

Classic escapism.

But there's another option if you don't want to gain any more weight and you are inclined to using breaks for replenishment or career / personal growth: Reading. It's a sound alternative. It leaves you feeling better about yourself when you look at the weigh scales, energizes as opposed to drains you, and is a great career move.

Interested in this approach? Here's a list of books I'd recommend to anyone looking for guidance with a life of career and personal successes:

1. A Whole New Mind - by Daniel Pink. I like this author's ability to put big changes into perspective. Learn how they will affect each of us and our careers very soon.

2. Supercapitalism - Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary. The US is a nation of workaholics and for many years it allowed us to lead the world. Not so much anymore. And we're getting tired. Read this and get ready for a new world order.

3. The Renaissance Soul - Margaret Lobenstine. Ever wonder why you can't decide on your career? Or even just being happy doing one thing? You may be a renaissance person in the good old fashioned definition of it.

4. The World is Flat - by Thomas Freidman. New York Time's writer shows in detail how everyone is competing with everyone in every country in the not too distant future. If you haven't thought about these issues before, or if you have but wonder about the personal implications - read this.

5. Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert's bestseller. Definite chick-lit but guys who read it come away better as a result. It's fun, directional, and informative.

6. Transitions - Making Sense of Life's Changes. A 50 year old book that helps you understand what's going on in your life as you move up/down/ or out of the job and career paths. Helps put your personal life and your career into clear perspective.

7. The Power of Focus - Jack Canfield et al. Easy to use book can help you become way more productive. Almost like an instant coach in a box for many issues.

8. The Power of Focus for Women - Fran and Les Hewitt. See above, but addresses issues unique to females as well.

9. The Female Brain - Louann Brizendine, MD. The cover says that any guy reading it is going to get brain envy. It's right. And ladies, don't think you know it all - this is prescribed reading for anyone with a mom, a wife, a friend or a colleague who is a female.

10. See Yourself As You Really Are - The Dalai Lama. Regardless of what your belief system or religion, this individual provides interesting and thoughtful concepts to help you weather any storm.

Good books all. Generally I prefer books which are to-the-point and don't have a lot of filler. I write my books with this in mind because I don't think most of us want to invest weeks or months of reading and then just walk away with say 1 or 2 good ideas. These one got good reviews for being "intentionally trim and muscular":

- Career Wisdom, 101 Proven Strategies to Ensure Workplace Success - Very easy to read. I took about 500 tactics I've seen work for others and nailed them together into the best ones.

- 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot - Still one of the publisher’s best selling business books after 2 years. Not just for women to read, guys, there's a reason most new businesses are being led by women. Get in the know.

The choice of how you spend your Holidays is yours. How you feel about that decision 30 days later will be decided sooner if you sit back with a good read as opposed to having a sleep to deal with the amount you've just consumed. As always the choice is yours.

Whatever you do, and wherever you are - have a wonderful Holiday Season!


Career Coach