First off, don't stress! Media stories of the average person gaining 7-10lbs over the holidays are probably more than an exaggeration but the message isn't far off. Our health and fitness tend to go out the window in exchange for social gatherings, excess alcohol, travel, and of course those unfairly delicious holiday treats. We trade pounds of tasty goods for pounds on the scale and let's be real, none of us want that!
The real question would be why the heck do we do it to ourselves? Reality is that we are socially bound creatures who crave interaction with those we care about most. This is easily achieved around food and drink!
So how do we continue to progress and stay on track during these challenging months? We have a plan for you! All you have to do is stick to it and then maybe ask some questions. Check it out:
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"The secret of your life is hidden in your daily routine"
1) Keep Your Routine
Keep your routine and stay lean! It might not be the sexiest answer and doesn't involve some crazy fast followed by carb cycling and loading up on B vitamins but the answer is consistency! You have already survived Turkey day (damn tryptophan) so kudos to you but the trick is not to get out of routine. We are creatures of habit so even if the days have to change make sure to schedule out your normal workouts and get them in! This will not only keep your body on track but will mentally keep you in the game of taking care of your body followed by putting some good food in it.
Be ok with the fact that it might not workout perfect but you must put in effort to make it to the gym and continue to stock up with the same foods you normally eat. The people around you will understand and if they don't I would challenge how much they really support what is important to you.
2) Overeat Veggies & Protein!
Oh wow....that sounds like fun. I am not going to tell you that I can help you make a chicken dish that tastes like chocolate or give you a Protein Pumpkin Pie recipe and promise you it will taste like the real thing. Believe me, I did it and it wasn't even close! Some of you however might love turkey, duck, and other proteins that can be great to fill up on over the holidays. I am not saying you HAVE to eat them in excess but if you go back for a second or dare I say a third plate then make it more protein or veggies.
Leaving out the nerdy science it's actually a difficult process inside of the body for excess protein to be converted to fat. Doesn't mean it never happens but your body would prefer not to. Protein also signals your satiety hormones that tell you to feel full.More veggies? That's an easy one. Try eating more than a bag of broccoli or cauliflower without having to unbuckle those pants. The volume of the food as well as the natural fiber will also fill you up much better than the calorie dense cookies and cakes you might crave.
3) Don't Focus on the Holidays
This covers 2 things. The first one being not to stress! Stress is a killer of all things good when not dealt with well so do what you need to to deal with stress of the holidays. If that means working out great otherwise save time for yourself, go get a massage, etc. They will never be perfect so don't try to make them be!
The second concept covered here is that there are really only a few days that are considered holidays in the 2 month period we are all concerned with. This means your health & fitness are likely minimally affected by those days themselves. That one or two days of eating some baked goods and too much Turkey are not enough to make you gain 5-10lbs. Even 3,500 calories in excess still only equates to about one pound. I am not giving you a hall pass but enjoy the few days of not being perfect and enjoying food with your loved ones and then get your butt back on the clean train and circle back to Tip #1: Routine.
This sounds simple but there is endless research about the impact of hydration on health and weight loss. Drinking even more water than normal will keep you full and can fill that void in between meals when you feel like snacking to your hearts content. Grab your favorite water bottle and fill'er up!
5) Be the Life of the Party
Not only are you likely to make some friends and have a few laughs but social interactive studies show that those who remain more "active" in social setting may consume less calories. Think about it, if you are distracted with great conversation and busting moves on the dance floor you are less likely to be in the corner noshing on appetizers. Might not be a perfect science but its about having strategies and the right mindset to feel successful and avoid temptations.
In the end you are really there to be with the people you care about right? The point is to still enjoy the holidays and just approach them with some strategies that will leave you feeling great about your body and life come January. The Holidays come at the same time every year so no excuse for them to be a total surprise.
Good luck this year and let us know if we can help.