Well folks, the holidays are upon us, and it can definitely be a stressful time for staying on track, meal planning, and controlling bodyweight. With endless tasty temptations, it’s easy to let the whole month of December get out of hand calorie-wise. First off, let me start by saying that I think at important times like Christmas that it is important to have some balance and normalcy. The holidays are an important time for family, friends, and social connections – I feel that we need to include ourselves in the food festivities and relax and enjoy ourselves – even while we are watching our calories. Socially isolating yourself and trying to completely abstain from all drinks and foods can create more stress and can lead to a total collapse in our focus, so I’m a big advocate of having some fun and some balance while being conscious of what we are consuming. It is important that we find ways that we can still enjoy these occasions without sitting in the corner pouting and not taking part, and also so we don’t fall completely off track and gain a bunch of weight that we’re going to regret.
I want to use the term “damage control” here because there will undoubtedly be some things consumed that aren’t in our regular meal plan, but we can control the damage and come out of the holidays on track. Below are 3 Rules that can help you stay on track throughout the (delicious) holiday season:
Rule #1 - DO NOT MISS THE GYM
Let me repeat...don’t miss workouts!!! The holidays are inevitably a very busy time for everyone. Christmas parties, get togethers with friends and family, shopping, cooking, etc...it’s busy. But you have to make time for the gym. HAVE TO!! You are most likely going to be over consuming calorie-wise, and making sure you’re getting in your regular exercise is gonna help combat the excess of food going into your face. Yes, there will be times you will be tired, yes there will be times when you are rushed. Yes, sometimes you won’t want to be there. But trust me, don’t miss workouts and your body (and the scale) will thank you in January. KEEP HUSTLIN’!
RULE #2 - PORTION CONTROL
There’s no doubt you are gonna get yourself into some calorie-laden situations over the holidays. You can still enjoy all the goodies, but you need to exercise some self-control and eat less of all the things.
- Use a smaller plate for dinner.
- Load up with protein and veggies first. Choosing white meats over dark and skipping the turkey skin can all shave calories off the math equation that is turkey dinner.
- Choose small servings of cheesey dishes and go easy on the bread and gravy.
- Cut all your desserts in half and share with someone.
Be mindful of the portions you are consuming. Like I said above, you don’t need to abstain from some goodies, but be aware that they are FULL of calories, and eating ½ or ⅓ of what you might want will pay big dividends at the end of the holidays.
Keeping portions in control can really pay off in a potentially whole month of sugar induced gluttony. Be mindful when enjoying and your belt will thank you all month long!
Rule #3 - USE A BOOZE ALLOWANCE
The holidays are always bursting with temptation - drinks at the Christmas party, drinks after work before the holidays, drinks to relax after shopping – it easily goes on and on. Choose a number of allowable drinks per week (no 50 is not an acceptable number) and stick to it. This will keep you thinking about how many you’re consuming, and hold you accountable. Having a couple here and there socially is a lot different than using the holidays to go on a month-long bender. Also, here are some things to consider while enjoying some socials.
- Remember that alcohol has calories! One shot of spirits has around 60 calories. Most beers are around 150 calories, while most light beers are around 100 calories. A glass of wine (depending on who poured it) is around 150 calories as well.
- Skip sugary add-ons like soda and juices. Vodka/gin/rye/rum and water or soda is a much more calorie-wise option.
- Skip blended drinks - they are mostly upwards of 400+ calories.
- ALWAYS DRINK WATER WHILE YOU DRINK ALCOHOL! Your cells in your body will thank you. One glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
Again it comes down to being mindful and exercising self-control. Choose low-calorie options, limit the number you consume nightly and weekly, and you can still have fun, be social, but stay on track.
So there you go, 3 Rules to abide be to keep the train on the tracks this holiday season. Lots of small, conscious decisions over the course of the month can help keep you where you are. Have fun, be merry, but keep moving, control portions, and limit the booze...the January version of yourself that didn't’ miss workouts, didn't gain any weight, but still had an awesome holiday season will thank you.