The holiday season can be a stressful time if you are trying to stick to a nutrition and fitness plan.
There are holiday parties, family dinners, travel, sooo many holiday goodies lying around the house, leftovers, late nights, drinking, etc.
You might be stressing out about “losing your progress” or gaining weight during this time.
It’s true that people gain weight during the holidays, however, on average it’s only about 1 pound according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine.
One pound isn’t much! But what happens is most people feel like they “fell off the wagon” or “got too far off track” and they give up on their goals, habits, and plan.
They discontinue any good habits they previously created, sometimes waiting for the new year to get back on track.
In this article, I’m going to give you tips that will help you enjoy your holidays GUILT FREE while maintaining a good nutrition and fitness plan.
Tip #1: Eat Slowly and Mindfully
Eating slowly and mindfully can help you avoid overeating.
You can stop eating when you’re “satisfied” rather than at “stuffed and uncomfortable”. 🥴
There are 2 main reasons this works:
- It takes about 15-20 minutes for your digestive system to tell your brain that you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal and chewing your food longer will allow this to happen before you overeat. Also, as a bonus, chewing your food longer will break it down more which will help your stomach digest it better.
- When you slow down and become more mindful of what you’re eating–enjoying the textures, the tastes, the smells, you will savor your food and feel content with much less. So, you’ll eat less, but you’ll really enjoy what you’ve eaten.
Tip #2: Don’t Skip Meals ❌
In preparation for Thanksgiving dinner or any other event where you know you’ll be eating more, it could be tempting and make sense to you to skip breakfast or lunch to save calories.
However, skipping meals almost always leads to overeating because by the time you get to the dinner or event, you’re ravenous.
Restricting food can also lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, so I’d avoid it.
It would be better to stick to your normal eating habits leading up to any event.
When you get to your dinner or event, enjoy the food, but eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
Which leads me to me next tip.
Tip #3: Eat the Foods You Love, Skip the Foods You Don’t
It’s the holidays and you should enjoy this time and have the foods you love and look forward to all year.
However, a lot of times you go to a dinner or party and fill your plate with everything that’s offered, even though you don’t necessarily love or even like some of the food.
If you don’t like the marshmallow sweet potatoes, green pea casserole, or jello salad, skip it!
There’s no point in putting it on your plate if you don’t love it.
Instead, think about what you’re putting on your plate and only put the foods you truly enjoy on it.
I honestly don’t enjoy pie. I’d rather have something else.
However, in years past, I’ve found myself eating it just out of tradition or because everyone else is having it.
Recently, I’ve skipped it and replaced it with something I truly enjoy instead.
Take ownership of your decisions and be intentional with them.
Don’t eat out of habit. Choose to eat the foods you love and own up to those decisions.
You have a lot of power! Don’t feel like you are powerless in your choices.
Tip #4: Prioritize Protein
Whether your goal is fat loss, maintenance, or bulking, eating enough protein is important.
We know if helps build and maintain muscle, but it also has a higher thermogenic rate so it takes longer for your body to break down and digest.
This means that you’ll stay full for longer periods of time and you’ll feel more satisfied.
If you have a party, event, or dinner, try to fill your breakfast and lunch with protein.
This will help you avoid overeating.
You won’t show up to these events starving, you won’t snack mindlessly all day on all the goodies lying around the house, and you’ll just feel more satisfied at the end of the day.
Tip #5: Lose the ‘All or Nothing Mindset’
If you only have 20 minutes to workout or you don’t have access to a gym, improvise!
I used to only workout if I had a solid 60 minutes to do it. It’s silly when you think about it.
Wouldn’t 20 minutes of movement be better than nothing?
The same goes for nutrition. If you eat way over your calories, miss your protein goal, eat a bunch of goodies, there’s no need to throw in the towel and say, screw it, I’m just going to keep going down this road.
You can ALWAYS just get right back on track after any meal, any day, or any week.
You don’t need to skip meals or workout double the time to “make up” for anything.
Do what you can and don’t stress if it isn’t perfect.
Tip #6 Plan Ahead
A lot of the holiday parties or events are in the evening or at night. If you normally workout in the evenings, look into switching it the morning.
You might have less equipment available because you’re traveling. Adjust and do bodyweight only workouts or just go for walks.
Another idea is if you’ve been going hard in your strength sessions, play a deload or rest week while during the time you are traveling.
Your workouts might look a little different, whether they are shorter, at home, bodyweight only, walks, or whatever, and that’s okay.
Be flexible and know that you can get back to “normal” soon.
Tip #7: Choose Realistic Goals
You can lose fat during the holidays, but it might be more difficult and cause you more stress in an already stressful time.
Being in maintenance might be more realistic goal and be a lot less stressful.
Don’t be that person who’s bringing a food scale to Thanksgiving dinner. 😉
If you’re traveling and have super rigid workout goals for the week, look at adjusting them to something more realistic.
Maybe you’re staying up later than normal, waking up early, don’t have gym equipment, have a packed schedule full of family fun. 😁
Whatever the circumstance, be realistic and set your expectations ahead of time.
Tip #8: ENJOY the Holidays, Nothing You Do or Don’t Do Will Ruin Your Progress!!!
Okay, our last tip!
The holidays are such a fun time to be with family and friends and to enjoy the food, treats and festivities.
Don’t give up or quit because you had a gigantic thanksgiving meal, indulged in some holiday treats, or skipped your workouts for the week.
Don’t feel guilty for indulging in holiday treats, meals, and drinks.
You should enjoy these things.
They will not ruin your progress.
There are 365 days in a year. If you have 3 meals a day, you’re eating 1,095 meals a year.
Let’s say you have 10 holiday meals/parties during this time.
That’s less than 1% of the meals for the whole year.
10 meals out of the year will not ruin your progress.
Keep going. Don’t give up. Get back on track as soon as you can.
Also, if you need some ideas for workouts on the goal, sign up for my email list! You will receive a workout guide with over 60 bodyweight and dumbbell workouts that you can scale for time.
I hope you enjoy this time and know that you’re doing better than you think you are!