6 Tips for Healthfully Enjoying the Holiday
With the upcoming holiday season, and Thanksgiving being tomorrow I wanted to offer up some pointers, or guidelines.
The holidays can be rough for some people, particularly if you have fitness or body composition goals that don't align with copious amounts of stuffing and pumpkin pie.
While I don't advocate throwing your diet out the window and engaging in a food free for all, I also understand that carrying Tupperware and pre prepared meals to a family get together isn't feasible for everyone.
So perhaps entertain one (or more) of the following, which should help you to strike a middle ground for the holidays OR feel free to discuss with me how best to handle them relative to your plan!
TIP #1: NO MATTER WHAT, DON'T BINGE-
Regardless of your goals, stuffing yourself yourself to the point of mental guilt,regret, and physical discomfort is never a good idea. I have literally seen people eat themselves right out of any progress made on their programming in the matter of a day or two. Remember that any weight that is put on will eventually have to come off again. Be MINDFUL and use self control.
TIP #2: NEVER ARRIVE HUNGRY -
One huge mistake I see people make is to fast for nearly a day before Thanksgiving thinking they can then just stuff their face with whatever and the consequences will be mitigated.
The trouble is that not only does this further perpetuate a "starve/binge" mentality, but by the time you sit to eat you're likely going to be famished and it's VERY hard to make a mindful decision with insane hunger pangs present. Eat your meals as normal if possible and don't show up hungry.
One great trick is to chug a protein shake right before you walk inside. The water will expand in the stomach and help stave off hunger and protein has the highest satiety factor of any macro nutrient so it will help you to feel fuller longer.
TIP #3: HAVE A PLAN BEFORE YOU GO-
Figure out what you want to do and how you plan to approach Thanksgiving before you even hit the big day.
This helps incredibly because you won't head into the meal panicked. You will feel more calm and better equipped to make healthy and informed decisions.
It also helps prevent you making decisions based upon familial or peer pressure ("oh just have a bite it won't kill you.").
If you're cooking or hosting, try to include some healthy items that allow you to adhere to your diet (such as a baked sweet potato, turkey and veggies without sauce, or a healthy salad) or if you're going somewhere try to find out in advance what will be served and plan out what you can and can not have.
TIP #4: mADJUST YOUR MEAL PLAN-
This is one instance where tweaking your meal plan can help. For example let's say that you carb cycle. If your usual high carb day is Saturday, switch it to Thursday and then skip it when Saturday swings around.
Or, if you track macros and you have a flex day switch your flex day to Thanksgiving so you have some extra wiggle room with calories.
Or, if you know you're going to indulge a little at Thanksgiving dinner try making the day before and the day after lower carb or lower calorie days to help balance it out.
Some creative rearranging can help get you through the holidays unscathed
TIP #5: IF YOU PLAN TO INDULGE DO SO SENSIBLY AND SMARTLY-
Ask yourself this: "Is eating this REALLY worth it to me?" What do I mean by this? Well, for example, if you absolutely love your grandmas pumpkin roll but aren't really going to be upset if you miss out on stuffing, then don't eat the stuffing and treat yourself to a small piece of pumpkin roll.
Instead of loading your plate at dinner, fill up on turkey and veggies so you have some leeway with the pumpkin roll. And then SAVOR and ENJOY it- guilt free.
TIP #6: RELAX, DON'T STRESS, AND HAVE FUN-
I think it's SO important to remember that Thanksgiving is about just that- giving thanks.
It's not about food.
While food is one part of the holidays it shouldn't be the determining factor as to whether or not you can relax and enjoy time with loved ones. There's no need to be so food oriented. It's a day to take a deep breath and be grateful- and you don't need to overeat in order to do that.
Have fun and enjoy yourself but remember your goals and keep your priorities in mind. Making responsible choices is part of life- period, whether it's a holiday or not!