Can you be True to your Diet?
Surviving the Holidays - How to enjoy the holidays without undue stress about your ‘diet’ or fitness level.
It has been asked on the boards that someone make a post about this subject. I will open the subject and anyone else with good tips can chime in!
Holidays are difficult times for fitness-minded people. They are so tied in to food as an integral part of the holiday. One thing to do with any holiday is to enjoy the company, enjoy the get-together, rather than focusing solely on the food. Being with extended family and friends is a treasure, savor it.
If holidays are unpleasant occasions that cause you to backslide into bad habits (drinking to relieve the pressure, etc) than you need to re-evaluate the importance of those get-togethers and scrap them if necessary. Create your own, new holiday traditions that don’t involve family members who are intolerable or miserable or hostile. It is easier than you think and lifts a huge weight off your shoulders.
As pointed out in another article, if your eating is on track the rest of the year, a slice of pie will not set you back. But you do need to realize that the typical Thanksgiving meal has a full day's worth of calories in it, so wise choices need to be made. You need to allow yourself to enjoy the holiday foods and relax. (this doesn’t apply to challenge competitors, who will get specific treat/cheat days but need to stay pretty strict).
One good tip for any holiday is to get in a really good workout the day of the holiday, so when you do eat more/different than normal it will be a little less impacting.
Let’s start with Thanksgiving - navigating your way around the table at Thanksgiving isn’t that hard - Many Thanksgiving staples are actually very good for you. If you are the host, then you can make even healthier versions of things. I will write a separate holiday meal recipe article in my next installment. White meat from the turkey breast, green beans with almonds, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes. Have small servings of what you like, leave the things you don’t really care for (I have found that I used to eat some of everything, whether I really liked it or not, now I leave the things that aren‘t ‘worth‘ the calories to me (creamed pearl onions) and focus on the things I really like ..(stuffing)), and try to focus on the meaning of the holiday - Thankfulness.
Enjoy the company, the conversation, the abundance of great things in your life. Try to make that your focus instead of how much food you can get onto your plate. Eat slowly, savor the flavors, drink plenty of water. Moderation is key. After the big meal, try to be the motivating factor to get people to go for a walk or play a game - anything other than just flopping, overfed, onto the couch. If no one is interested, make yourself busy by helping with the clean-up.
If you are hosting, send home any leftovers that you know aren’t on your daily diet with guests. Send away the leftover pies and desserts, etc. You had them for the holiday, now back to your master plan, right?
Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule, whatever holiday you celebrate at mid-winter, it is again invariably tied to certain foods and getting together to eat. Being the host is one easy way to be sure there are items on the menu that you can eat - roast pork loin, roast beef, roast turkey - all good choices for holiday protein. And again, the sides are your choice, make veggies and stuffing, make them healthier. This doesn’t mean losing all of the flavor or fat. Just even cutting half the fat out of a recipe makes it healthier than it would have been. If you are not the host, but it is a potluck, bring something you know is good for you. Again, sample the things you really want to have, leave the things you don’t really care about and take small portions. Savor the flavor, make good conversation and relax. You have had a month of good eating and exercising since Thanksgiving - you can have that slice of pie. Again, right back on track tomorrow - send the leftovers away if they are things you don’t normally eat.
Organize a sledding party or a winter’s night walk (oh so beautiful when it is snowy…) be the motivating factor in getting people moving. Even if it is a board game, it is better than sitting.
New Year’s - not too food focused, but often a night of too much drinking.. Pace yourself with a glass of water in-between drinks. Try a wine-spritzer or a cranberry /vodka or grapefruit/vodka. Or stick with flavored water and enjoy being one of the few people who don’t have a hangover on New Year’s Day and go to the gym and start reaching for those new goals….
I hope this is helpful, as I said I will post some holiday recipes, I have made them and my in-laws were none the wiser and raved about the food. You don’t have to be preachy, you don’t have to feel deprived, but you can make it healthier and more enjoyable, less stressful!
Amy Simmer, Certified Personal Trainer , Training4life
Natural Bodybuilding at its Finest - Lift for Life.com