By Jason Leave
Please don’t be the person who shows up to your holiday party with a food scale.
Seriously. Stop doing this.
Seriously. Stop doing this.
There are many ways to ensure you stay on point with your diet during the holiday season.
The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a tumultuous time for the fitness minded person.
For some of us, counting macronutrients is an easy endeavor. If you’ve been tracking your intake for a good amount of time, you may find it simple to estimate your portions and have a good idea of how many calories you’re taking in.
For the vast majority of us, calorie counting isn’t an every day activity.
What should you do if you’re not a “counter”?
How should you be sure you don’t gain inches along with your presents this holiday season?
By employing a few, simple, healthy eating habits, anybody can stay on track and keep their pants fitting loosely throughout the entire month of December.
How To Avoid Holiday Fat Gain
Rule #1: Don’t “count” anything at your holiday parties.
Holiday parties happen once per year. They are meant to be enjoyed.
Nobody enjoys going to the party and doing constant mental math while trying to tabulate calorie (or macro) totals.
Going to a holiday party thinking you are going to “stay on point” is a set up for disaster.
You will likely find yourself losing track of how much you have consumed.
Our tendency as humans is to be “all in” or “all out”. Once we have realized that we have lost track, we tend to flip the “screw it” switch quickly.
This can be a set up for disaster, as binges often follow.
Instead, tell yourself you will “count nothing”, but be “sensible”. Relax and enjoy yourself. Have a few snacks and treats. Do so with a clear, level head and you will do much less damage than you think.
Rule #2: Eat lean protein and veggies leading up to the holiday party.
Two food choices which always fill you up nicely are lean protein and fibrous veggies.
For breakfast and lunch on the day of your holiday party, keep your protein choices lean and get plenty of fiber into your system.
Make your last meal before your outing as close to your departure time as possible in order to minimize your chances of getting to the party and having hunger pangs.
This is how you “detox”.
Rule #3: Pick one dessert at the party and eat as much of it as you wish.
The paradox of choice is tricky.
Nobody wants to attend a holiday party and skip all the desserts. Trying to do so is likely to cause you to feel deprived, which can set the stage for a letdown.
If there’s a dessert you love with all your heart – go for it. Eat it slowly and enjoy the taste. Even go back for a second helping if you wish.
Seeing the party as a “dessert buffet” can be dangerous.
You’ll find yourself going from the cheesecakes, to the cookies, to the candy, to the………..well………..you get the idea.
Choose your one dessert wisely, and stick to it.
Rule #4: Choose your alcohol wisely.
Egg nogs and Christmas cocktails will add empty calories which will only make you hungrier – and more prone to binging as you begin to feel buzzed.
The best alcoholic choices at holiday parties are non-flavored liquors and zero calorie mixers. Dry, red wines are another excellent choice.
Heavy, holiday beers will have 2-3 times the calories. As will other sugary, carby holiday favorites.
Aim for drinks without added sugars and mixers.
Rule #5: Hydrate yourself at the party.
The “booze munchies” are generally a sign of being dehydrated, not being hungry.
Being sure to stay hydrated is one of your first lines of defense in order to keep yourself from overeating.
For every alcoholic beverage, drink a bottle or a glass of water.
Rule #6: Don’t take home any leftovers.
When the host tries to hand you a large, Ziplock bag full of goodies to take home, be sure to say “Thanks, but no thanks”.
If you keep the party going for the days following your event, you will find your weight expanding accordingly.
Side note: If the party is at your house, be sure to give away all the extras to your guests. If they refuse, promptly throw your leftovers away.
Feel no guilt for this – no starving children ever were fed because a random person ate all the leftover cookies from a Christmas party.
Rule #7: Turn your food into gains in the weightroom.
The best part about strength training is the mindset it creates inside of you.
Instead of trying to “pay off the credit card” by doing cardio, “start building a house” in the weightroom.
Smash the iron and make those calories count.
Turn that stuffing into gains.
Rule #8: Turn the page as soon as your party is over.
Holiday weight gain isn’t caused by attending four parties during the Christmas season.
Holiday weight gain is caused by eating like crap on all the days between the parties.
When your party is finished, get to the grocery store and get some solid, home-cooked, nutritious meals.
No dining out, no ordering pizza, no carry-out food………….make delicious and tasty meals for your family to enjoy – together – that contain lots of veggies, protein, and whole food carbohydrates.
Rule #9: Never weigh yourself after a holiday party.
Scales are notoriously faulty after large feasts.
The excess stomach content, cellular glycogen, and water weight from the additional carbs will drastically overestimate your consumption.
A surefire way of feeling defeated is to step on the scale in the few days following your eating splurges.
It’s best to steer clear for a few days until your body rids itself from the excess baggage.
No, no, no, no, no!
No, no, no, no, no!
By following these simple, straight forward tips, you’ll like the number you see when you step on the scale in early January.