It’s the holidays and that time of year when your schedule is booked with Christmas parties, which means lots of travel, food and booze. All of which can lead to packing on a couple of unwanted pounds that you shamelessly cover up with an ugly sweater. Now, I’m not saying that we should avoid these parties or even the delicious treats that accompany them. Dieting during the holidays is the pits. Food is one of the most enjoyable elements of Christmas time. No one (including me) wants to be “diet guy” or “diet gal” around the holidays. Avoiding good food just isn’t necessary if you’re taking a gradual, long-term approach. So don’t be the guy who turns down your mom’s famous sweet turkey casserole. I know I won’t.
However, if you want to avoid putting on holiday weight, there are some strategies you can use to minimize the damage done during this time of year. Check them out. Your future self will thank you for it.
Personal Goals – You should also set small and achievable goals. This way you’ll be able to wake up each day with a purpose and something to accomplish. You’ll want to make time, even over the holidays, to get that jog in. Making your health a goal and prioritizing wellness is something your whole family will be on board with. Your goals could be to cut down on sweets, make time for exercise every day, really anything that you can achieve to get you on the right track or at least keep you close to it !!
Parties – The holidays are all about the parties which makes this time of the year so enjoyable, so make sure you can enjoy it. I have two plans of attack on how to best prepare for a big night out.
· Choose wisely, but one big night out per week will not do anyone to much harm, let your hair down and eat and drink what you wish. However, if you take this approach you must be strict every other day.
· My second approach is all about smart choices and moderation, as opposed to going all out once or twice during the holiday period, you play it smart during all of your parties and implement the following strategies
· If you have a holiday dinner party, you can start doing some damage control before you ever get to the party. Eat lightly throughout the day leading up to the party. Try to have your meals consist mostly of lean protein and vegetables. This will keep your overall calorie, carb and fat intake low in order to offset the high amounts you will likely consume at the party.
· Try to get a workout in before the party. A CrossFit style workout, high intensity intervals, high rep strength training and going for a long run are all good options. The closer this workout is to the party, the better. Then, you can treat the dinner as your post workout meal. Your body will be more primed to store the higher amounts of carbs for energy as opposed to fat after an intense workout.
· Don’t go to a holiday party when you are starving. That’s when trying just one of the cute Christmas cookies turns into you blacking out and devouring the whole plate. People look at you differently after witnessing that. To avoid this judgement, have a snack consisting of protein and healthy fats before you go to the party. A small handful of almonds and a protein shake work well.
Meal Prep – I would highly recommend a food prep day so you can mostly eat whole foods when it isn’t party time. Have 4 to 5 meals planned out so you don’t have to opt for convenience when things go haywire but make sure the food is enjoyable for you and for your family as well.
WOD 2 GO – Have workouts ready for the days that going to the gym isn’t going to work, but don’t sell yourself short. With the run in to Christmas and New Year’s people can easily consume twice their daily calories while burning half their daily norm if you are on holidays and parked in front of the fire watching a Netflix marathon !! To combat this, now more than ever you need to make sure you get in some exercise. The gym might seem a big of a chore, so have a few readymade WODs you can do at home and try and get out and be active as much as possible. The biggest reason why people pack on so much weight this time of year is simply because they eat twice their norm, doing half the daily workload.
Don’t let the wheel’s come off– Enjoy your rest days and don’t try and kill yourself to “earn” your holiday meals. If you can be MOSTLY prepared around the holiday season, you won’t dig a huge hole that you need to fix later. One or two incidents of overdoing it that occur randomly are no big deal, but using those as an excuse to let the wheels fall off is just being irresponsible. Stick to the 80/20 rule and if you have a big night out, don’t follow it up with a bad day ….. and another night etc. Replace the puncture and keep driving on !!