So, as I’ve already heard from so many of my clients about their personal fears regarding the holiday season and gaining extra pounds or undoing the progress they’ve worked so dang hard for, I’ve decided to give a few tips or concepts on the matter.
Firstly, let’s talk about mindset we approach the holidays with. Most of us fall to one side of a coin; either a sense of horror as mentioned above that we might somehow undo our progress and therefore spin out of control into a violent tailspin of negative weight gain and thusly, self loathing and shame…OR we don’t give a crap and “we’ll take this seriously right after things settle down from the holiday madness…besides…how unreasonable would it be to try to stick to healthy eating at this time of year? pshh…no, thank you.”
My first notion to keep in mind is that what you eat on the holiday itself is far less important to worry about than what you eat the rest of the year. That’s not a license to eat everything on the table, of course. The point is that if you’re eating clean, like we should be during the year, with our warranted cheat meals and such, the holiday feeding simply isn’t an issue. So, don’t panic. I would recommend treating this holiday as any other weekend cheat meals and plan precisely what you truly feel you don’t get to eat very often and that you’re willing to take in the calories for. For many of my clients, I allow them 2, maybe 3 cheat meals per week assuming they’ve done their prescribed cardio and made all of their sessions that week. So, this would be no different for them, or me for that matter. Thanksgiving day will include a single cheat meal for me since I won’t be traveling but to one place, but for those of you who are venturing two or more places, plan two cheat meals and really focus on portion control and not overstuffing yourself.
I highly recommend making a conscious effort not to use this holiday season as a free for all, too. Be conscious of what you’re putting into your mouth and savor it when it’s a planned cheat. Making sure to incorporate some protein, such as turkey, is key to prevent such harsh insulin spikes from filling up on carbs first. I would highly recommend eating your normal breakfast that day before the fun begins, which for my clients would be a portion of protein, carbs and healthy fats. This is going to keep your body in the regular metabolic state we aim for when the holidays aren’t distracting us and prevent you from being so dang hungry and ready to devour anything before you when you arrive at your first destination.
If you’re able to, make time to get a decent moderate to high intensity 30 minute interval workout in early on to keep your metabolism firing and creating that after burn effect we teach about so often to burn calories at rest. This can be cardio, resistance training or the combo of both. Just be sure to aim for something if possible.
Another key to remember is to resume your normal eating and workout habits the next day. If you normally work out on a Friday, then the day after Turkey Day shouldn’t be any different. This is a lifestyle for us and the pros far outweigh the cons of leading this lifestyle. I won’t bore you by droning on about confidence, stamina, strength, balance and coordination and so on and so forth. 😉
Lastly and possibly most importantly, set a goal not to gain any lbs this holiday season and hone in on how great you’ll feel when you achieve that. The best way to reach a goal like this is going to be to come up with a reward for meeting your goal and a healthy punishment if you don’t meet this one. I don’t condone using negative reinforcement by any means, but it helps to truly know that there will be a consequences that you have to endure should you not meet your target and it’s a great feeling to be able to pat yourself on the back for achieving something you might never have done before. Many of us set punishments like 100 of some exercise we hate like burpees, push-ups for some, squats and so forth. The reward would need to be something that isn’t going to be harmful to you or your goals, of course. You wouldn’t reward not gaining any holiday lbs with a giant meal. That would be counterproductive. But, perhaps purchasing something you’ve budgeted for that you normally wouldn’t get for yourself, like new clothes or shoes, or that new gadget that you’ve been eyeing for the last several months. The choice is yours, but make it something you’ll take seriously and use the honor system, here. If you plan a reward or punishment, follow through! You won’t regret it.
This holiday season will be the one that counts as more memories with friends and family and moments…rather than looking up information about tryptophan being the reason you feel so dang sluggish or discussing the regret of overeating everything you saw and needing to loosen the belt a bit.
p.s. If you’d like the opportunity to work with me or one of my fitness specialists, click here for your free body transformation analysis.