SCHERERVILLE | Jen Ryman is giving herself only one shot, so it had better be a darn good pumpkin pie.
"That's what I'm limiting myself during the holiday season: one slice of pumpkin pie," she said. "So if I have a slice this Thanksgiving, that will be it."
As for cheese cake -- she's eliminated that completely.
"And I'm going to cut down on the spirits," Ryman said.
Sounds like the holidays are something to survive rather than enjoy, but Ryman insists she will participate in the festivities with the help of some tips she learned last fall and winter.
"One thing I got from one of our seminars last year (was) that it's best to eat something before going to a holiday party or potluck," Ryman said. "When you go to these things on an empty stomach, that's when you can run into problems."
One problem is the winter bulge. Ryman, store manager at Fleet Feet Sports and Schererville, and her staff did some research indicating the average American gains seven pounds during the winter ... though that seems to be a conservative estimate.
Regardless of the actual average weight gained, store management and staff concurred business at the running and fitness store usually tanks during the winter months.
"We held a brain-storm to come up with reasons for this," Ryman said. "The obvious reason was because it's usually cold outside and people don't like to run in the cold, but we have apparel made for those conditions.
"Then we came to realize that there's really isn't much to do in the winter to motivate people to stay active and healthy. That's when we came up with the Challenge 7 program."
The program -- the "7" signifying the alleged average winter pounds gained -- consists of a series of seminars primarily running on every other Wednesday night at the store through Jan. 29, and periodic weekday and weekend fun runs taking place during that span.
"Balance Your Life" is the general theme of the seminars, from which topics include managing and controlling emotions, stretching for health, nutrition and healthy eating, setting priorities and proper time management for exercise.
"We'll have a difference guest to speak at each seminar," Ryman said of the second-year program. "For our 'Importance of Socializing and Laughter' seminar (Dec. 4), we'll have improv comedian Bob Craig from Disposable Theater (based in Chesterton)."
The cost of the program is $25. Those attending a combination of 10 seminars and fun runs will receive a $50 store credit and a chance to win free shoes for a year.