7 STRATEGIES FOR HOLIDAY EATING
It’s that time of the year again and Christmas is just right around the corner and for many of us, that means loads and loads of delicious foods readily available for us to eat – cookies, cake, pie, you name it, it’s probably going to be there.
Now, this is great for some of us but for others, especially if you are dieting or not looking to put on a bunch of weight during the holiday, you know that these days can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty and be a bit of a challenge. You want to be able to enjoy yourself but yet still be able to stay on track to reach your weight loss or weight management goals.
I completely understand that concern and have put together a short list of ways that you can limit the fat gain over the holidays all while still allowing you to have the flexibility to be social and enjoy yourself at these family gatherings. Take a look!
STRATEGY #1: TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING OR CUT DOWN THE NUMBER OF MEALS YOU ARE EATING THAT DAY
In order to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than your body burns.
That makes sense right?
So, if you are a person who typically eats 4-6 meals per day, I would recommend trying to cut down the number of meals that you are consuming on the day that you are going to be celebrating the holiday. By eliminating 2-3 meals, you have essentially cut your calorie intake back a lot which should help allow yourself to stay under or at least stay close to your total daily calorie intake.
STRATEGY #2: LOAD UP ON PROTEIN AND VEGETABLES FIRST
Before making your way to the dessert table, try to eat a good portion of lean proteins and vegetables first.
By eating these low-calorie, highly-filling foods first, you will curb your hunger a little bit to prevent a large over-consumption of the less-filling, higher calorie holiday desserts.
STRATEGY #3: USE “DAMAGE CONTROL”
If you will be dieting, this could be extremely beneficial for you. A common occurrence in dieting is the “fuck it” mode.
I am sure we have all been there, right? We do so well with our diets for weeks on end and then, one day, we eat 1 cookie, feel like we have failed, and just go on an all-out binge.
When it’s the holiday or any other time for that matter, we need to understand that just because we slipped from the diet, we did not fail ourselves. Knowing this going into those situations can really help. By understanding this, you can use damage control.
There’s a huge difference between enjoying 1 dessert and eating everything that is on the dessert table. One dessert will not ruin your progress but 50 might.
Fill up on your protein and veggies first (strategy #2), and then move on to the desserts. Once there, eat reasonably and know when you are full. There’s no point to continue eating past your hunger.
STRATEGY #4: EXERCISE ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT
If you are able to and in a position to do some exercise, do it!
Depending on what type of exercise program that you are on, what I like to recommend, is that the client completes a full-body, high rep, workout. By exercising your entire body and performing higher rep sets (around 15 or so) you will deplete more glycogen in the muscles than you would have otherwise.
By doing this, you will allow those holiday treats to be stored in the muscles as glycogen first rather than being stored as body fat.
STRATEGY #5: CHOOSE LOW-CALORIE OPTIONS
Because the day of the event will be filled with loads and loads of calories, it might be wise to use low-calorie options for food and drink whenever possible to limit the damage.
If you are making some desserts, you can use low-fat ingredients to cut down on the calories.
If you are eating food at the event, choose lean proteins, veggies, and low-fat desserts could be an excellent option.
If you are going to be drinking, choose low-calorie alcohol like whiskey or vodka and stay away from those high-calorie, sugar-filled, mixed drinks.
You are not going to be short on calories on these days so choose wisely and select low options when you are able!
STRATEGY #6: EAT OUT
If you have the option to and you are not going to be at a large family event, eating out could help cut down on some calories for you.
There are 2 reasons behind why you might not eat as many calories out as you would at home.
1) It’s a different setting, there are other people around, so that could cause a deterrent to stuff your face.
2) It’s going to cost you a lot of money to eat a lot of calories out at a restaurant so your wallet and bank account could have a say in all of this.
STRATEGY #7: REALIZE IT’S JUST ONE DAY OUT OF THE YEAR
I think the last but possibly the most important strategy is just to understand that it’s just 1 day out of the year.
Over consuming foods for 1 day is not going to ruin your yearly progress.
Just like eating 1 piece of cake does not make you unhealthy
And eating 1 bowl of salad does not make you healthy.
Think long-term here and play the long game.
Enjoy yourself and get right back on track the day after.