The holidays should be a time of celebration and joy. Sadly for the health conscious, the holidays often are a time of stress, sabotage and regret. Wondering how to come out on the other side of the holidays without a larger belt line? I got you covered...
1.) Recognize your options.
My general nutritional recommendation for athletes, per CrossFitFootball.com are as follows, "eat meat, fowl, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, roots, tubers, bulbs, herbs and spices, as well as animal fats, olives & olive oil, avocados, coconut, and dairy (maybe)".
For my general population, I recommend similar guidelines with lower allowance of roots, tubers and dairy.
Looking at the typical holiday meals, you will find much of the above on the table. Sure, sweet potato casserole is a dolled up version of "roots and tubers", but we aren't stretching too far here.
Often times, thirst is mistaken as hunger. While you may want second helpings you may just need another drink- of water that is! Drink several glasses of water with your meals.
Most of us have that one holiday food we struggle with the most. For me, it's my mothers Sweet Potato Casserole- It's better than yours. Pecan Pie? Eh...
Prioritize the foods you really want and say no to the ones you can live without. When you choose that item you have looked forward to all year do so in....
Sweet Potato Casserole is amazing. I love it. However, it doesn't take an entire dish of the stuff to recognize how good it is. More holidays are just around the corner. Eat some of what you love, understand that you are stronger than your desire to eat and show some self control.
This one is crucial. When I am consulting a new client or athlete on performance or weight loss, my recommendation is almost always to "sleep more", regardless of how much they are currently sleeping. When you sleep your body not only fights sickness and disease, but releases hormones crucial to performance and lean body mass. Under sleeping deems you more likely to fall sick, diseased and overweight. The holidays are a time many of us are out of work and are able to sleep more than we typically would. If this is you, make up for lost time and stay in bed. I promise you a few extra hours of sleep will go a lot further than a few extra hours of mass consumerism.
The holidays shouldn't be a time of stress. When you stress you are more likely to stress eat. Under stress the body also produces the stress hormone cortisol which is bad for both your heart and your waistline.
You're probably going to eat a little more than you typically would even when following the above guidelines. Try not to pair increased eating with decreased activity. Yes, I want you to relax but you also need to stay active. You may not have time to get to the gym and that's fine. Play in the leaves. Pick up a basketball and show the kids the "glory days" aren't too far behind. Don't get hurt. Do pushups. A closed gym is an invitation to get creative.
8.) Don't be weird.
Now is not the time to pretentiously inform the table that your primal ancestors didn't eat Gran's Green Bean Casserole and since your CrossFit gym is closed you have to be "extra Paleo". Make the choices that are best for you and your goals, but don't ruin the holiday spirit with your soapbox. You were not sent to earth to fight Darwin's Law. Besides, after the holiday's you're much more likely to get your loved ones on board with this whole fitness thing if you didn't give a speech on grass fed butter at the dinner table.