The winter holiday season can be a hell of a challenging time for those of us that take our nutrition and training seriously. While all the necessary components are there for a sound nutrition plan, there is still the risk that you’re going to overdo it and set yourself back with poor food choices. It’s easy to be that person who uses this amazing time of the year as an excuse to completely fall off the healthy and sensible eating bandwagon. Yes, these are holidays and you should enjoy yourself, but enjoyment shouldn’t be overindulgence. Just because it’s Christmas does not mean you are green-lit to gorge yourself into a food coma. In order to keep temptation at bay, you need a plan. And I’m here to be the Robin to your Batman in the fight against the holiday binge. Here are a few tips that I’ve used to help keep it together during the holiday season.
TIP #1: DON’T BE A WEIRDO!
First and foremost, it’s the holiday season. Yes, we want to stay on point as much as we can. But, the purpose of these annual get togethers is NOT to count macros or make everyone endure your gluten-free, no added sugar sweet potato pie that has the consistency, taste and texture of a cardboard box. It’s about getting together with those that we hold near and dear in our hearts and celebrating another year of life and happiness. Sometimes those celebrations go until 3AM and it is you and your grandpa sharing stories over several glasses of bourbon. If grandpa wants to rage, are you really going to say no?! While we don’t want you to be weird this holiday season, we still don’t want you eating and drinking like a complete asshole.
TIP #2: KEEP MEALS CONVERSATIONAL.
When you take your time, chew your food thoroughly and give your brain time to process your satiety, you’re much more likely NOT to overeat. Going back to the best part about this time of year, try to connect with others and be more conversational during meals. When you’re talking you’re not shoveling more food into your mouth. That means you’re forced to slow down and eat your food a bit slower, allowing your body time to signal your brain when you’re full. You’ll also avoid that overly full, post-meal insulin crash that leaves you ten toes up passed out on the couch. Follow this rule and you can leave the stretchy pants to be used at the gym and not as a back up when your jeans don’t fit like they used to.
TIP #3: START WITH THE VEGGIES.
Let’s be real, you’re likely going to overload your plate the first go round. However, once you sit down, how you attack your plate does matters. I’m going to prioritize how you should approach your food on your plate like I would a training session. By building an approach that will help you get the most out of each piece and puts you in a position to perform at your absolute best. Let’s get after it in this order: veggies first, then proteins, and carbs last. Oddly enough protein comes second because I probably don’t need to convince you to eat all the meats this time of the year. So protein consumption should take care of itself. But eating enough of your fibrous veggies earlier in the meal will help maintain satiety and ensure you get all the micronutrients you need. And yes, the sweet potatoes are delicious, so go get some…but don’t make them the foundation of your plate. Now that you have an idea of how to attack the basics, what are you grabbing to drink?
TIP #4: DOUBLE FIST YOUR DRINKS.
Your drink choice often times is a source for unintended added calories. Whether you’re drinking egg nog, beer, wine or an old fashioned, the goal should be to “double fist” or go one-for-one with your drinks. Meaning for every non-water drink you have, drink a glass of water right after. This will help limit the number of calories you’re consuming in liquid form as well as keep you hydrated. The added hydration will also come in handy when you’re trying to recover from the hangover everyone else is feeling from not double fisting their drinks. It’s chess, not checkers.
Tip #5: DON’T WAIT! GET BACK AFTER IT!
And finally, when all the fun has come to an end, get back to the hustle. Your body is a temple and you gotta clean that place up right after the party. You might need to hire a professional cleaning crew, but regardless, get back to the gym and get moving. You might feel a little slower, sluggish and maybe even weaker but we’ve got you covered with the training to help get you right back on track after the holiday binge has ended. Don’t wait until the beginning of the year though, get back after it as soon as you can! It’s harder to push a car in neutral when its at a dead stop. You’ve created momentum already, don’t let it die out and start all over.