Try and change your approach to the holidays and start now.

By Coach Debbie Olson

We can come up with endless amounts of reasons and excuses to put our health and nutrition on hold.  This time of year is the perfect time that we hear, “I am going to start taking things seriously right after the holidays!”  We let ourselves fall victim to the holiday “curse” of gaining a little extra weight and feeling a bit more sluggish both inside and outside of the gym.  I am not here to tell you what to do as you are your own person who can make your own decisions; I just want to provide you with a different outlook to maybe help with that “all or nothing” mindset throughout the holiday season.

     There was a recent post from RP Strength that I absolutely love.  They calculate some numbers from today until January 1st (everyone’s reset date!) in which they take the total number of holiday meals/parties and compare to a standard day of eating (3 meals).  From November 25th-January 1st, they calculated 108 total meals if you eat 3x/day.  The holiday dinners and a few additional parties accumulated to only 11 meals.  This means that only 11 out of your 108 meals would be considered “bad.”  In my opinion, that number is not enough to prolong some goals you may have for yourself for the new year.  Why not start now?

     By starting now, I do not expect for you to go on a “diet” and track everything.  Try and be realistic and set up a game plan to help get you through this time.  By simply being aware of the daily habits you make for yourself is already a huge start.  As I said before, you have 108 meals aside from your holiday dinners and parties.  Try and create some manageable habits that will make a difference long term.  It is not the overindulging on Thanksgiving that causes us to get off track;  It is the things we do day to day that quickly add up in a not so healthy way.  Using the holiday season as an excuse to offset our goals is a choice that you can make.  But, it doesn’t have to be!  You can continue to see progress and get closer to your goals despite the extra parties and celebrating.  

     While you are at those dinners/parties, just enjoy it for what it is.  Make a plate with some of your favorite holiday foods, sit down, and eat up!  The thing that so many of us struggle with is the anxiety of eating these”bad” foods, so we either deprive or try and eat enough of it to make up for the entire year!  With either approach, we are completely torturing ourselves.  Remember, the holiday dinners and parties in comparison to what you do daily will have very little effect on you overall.  Start making those small changes now on how to live a healthier lifestyle.  

Here are some things you can do on a daily basis to help keep you on track:

  1.  Add in more fruits and vegetables into your meals.  Rather than a side of fries, swap for a vegetable. 

  2. Try out some meal prepping on your own.  Meals that you can easily bring with you to work or have at home after a busy day.

  3. Bring a healthy dish to a friend or family’s house during those holiday meals.  If you bring something you will enjoy and you know it is nutritious, you are already a step ahead! 

  4. Eat a high protein breakfast.  Instead of a muffin or bagel, try out some greek yogurt with fruit, eggs and bacon, or oatmeal with some nuts/seeds.  On Thanksgiving especially, get in a high protein breakfast to keep you satiated throughout the day. 

  5. Stay hydrated.  Most of us are going to be drinking during the holiday dinner or parties.  Make a goal for yourself to consume a decent amount of water every day.  This will help with digestion, bloating, and our energy levels.

  6. Stay ACTIVE!  I would love to continue to see all of you at the gym.  Put some of those extra calories to good use!  If you are traveling, dedicate at least 30 minutes to move!  Food is fuel and it is up to you with how you want to use it. 

Start setting up some goals for yourself right now.  They do not have to be anything crazy; make them realistic especially for this time of year.  Maybe now is not the best time to approach a fat loss program, but to just maintain through eating higher quality food and staying more active on a daily basis.  If you are struggling with any of this, please feel free to reach out and express it.  Try and implement a few of these tips above.  I hope they are of some use to you!

See you at the gym,

- Coach Deb