Let’s face it, holiday meals are delicious and they should be enjoyed. I am sitting here at my desk drinking my coffee and I started thinking about how I tend to deal with holiday gatherings and all of the amazing food that goes with it. People have different ways of going about holiday eating in general (ranging from fitness bikini competitors to those who indulge whenever, however, wherever, with whatever) and I just wanted to share a few of my tips and how I tend to approach holiday eating.
Enjoy the Holidays and Stay on Track
1. Eat a healthy snack before you go. An apple and/or almonds are great choices because they’ll satisfy your hunger and taste buds for a bit. This way you don’t arrive at a holiday feast starving and wanting to shove everything into your mouth that you can see (just speaking from personal experience here, haha).
2. Sample offerings at holiday meals and gatherings. Instead of one huge piece of pie with a heaping splat of whipped cream and a side of ice cream, take small samples of several food items you’d love to taste. You’ll enjoy a larger variety and possibly avoid eating more than you intended.
3. Don’t avoid foods you love, enjoy them! (refer to #2)
4. Do what works for you. Everybody has different feelings about how to navigate holiday gatherings while still keeping their goals in check. Some people have no rules and go crazy (with plans of getting back on track after Christmas) while others choose to stay pretty strict with their diet because they know if they jump off the wagon, they’ll fall face first and not attempt to get back on for a long time. You just have to do what works best for you!
5. Eat very clean and healthy at home and indulge a bit during holiday dinners (maybe keeping tip #2 in mind).
6. Focus on proteins and veggies instead of starches. I used to always eat starchy stuff (and I’d always eat it FIRST) and then begin to feel full (only to get really hungry again later). For me, I’ve learned that focusing on proteins and veggies helps fill me up while satisfying my hunger for a longer period of time.
7. Take snarky comments in stride. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had friends and family comment on either my physical size and/or amount of food or types of food on my plate. “You’re so skinny, is that all you’re gonna eat?”, “C’mon, you can eat more than that.” or “Have another piece of pie already, it won’t hurt!” I don’t know what makes people say these things out loud but it drives me nuts. I just try to ignore things like that.
8. Keep calories from beverages in mind. However you decide to navigate this is up to you, this is just a reminder that calories from beverages can add up very quickly! (refer back to #4) If you like to enjoy alcoholic beverages (or any other beverage with extra calories) try drinking a glass of water in between each drink. This will help you stay hydrated and save some added calories.
9. Don’t feel bad if workouts are missed or skipped! The holidays can be a very hectic time for people and it can feel like you don’t even have time to think some days let alone deal with everything else that’s going on! If you stick to your workouts, great! If your workouts are few and far between, don’t sweat it. Don’t be hard on yourself for it, just tell yourself that you will be getting back on track…and then do it. :)
The way you navigate the holidays and all of the yummy food that goes with it will all depend on your personality, your everyday lifestyle and your fitness goals. If you’re training for a bikini competition, you’ll probably tackle holiday meals a little differently than say, me…and that’s ok! Always do what you’re comfortable with and what will make you happy. That’s really all that matters anyway.