Tips to work Nutrition and Training around the holidays

Plan ahead and get your mind ready to put that plan into action. Remember that Thanksgiving and Christmas are one day in a month each; not a week, or two, or a few months until the new year. 

One day of overeating, no matter how much, won’t ruin anyone’s progress but two or three months certainly will. 

Make a list of all the foods you enjoy that can fill in the gaps of nutrients you will be missing when eating out or at gatherings and have those at home to supplement the non-optimal meals. 

An analogy to keep in mind:

~ If your car has a flat tire, you fix that tire the best you can and keep riding; you don’t slash the other three tires and then complain about the journey ~

Plan ahead, if you are cooking, plan meals that can fit your goals. If you are going somewhere else, take foods you enjoy that fit your needs, it’s OK to take that salad you like to the gathering, or the bowl of fruit to complement the casseroles, and make foods you enjoy fit with the ones you need that you also like.

Don’t waste calories on stuff you don’t enjoy. We often make the mistake of trying everything we see or finishing everything on our plate; oftentimes eating first what we don’t like as much and last what we like best… Instead, pick your favorites, don’t finish what you don’t like as much, and slowly savor what you really love. 

Share dishes you love with others so you can be happy and make others happy. And while sharing you also share the calories. Don’t make the mistake of over-purchasing, over-baking, over-making, over-storing, and over-eating. Remember that it’s usually the first bites that are the most enjoyable. Instead of eating to the point of being stuffed because now “you can” (you are falling victim to allowing yourself now but not other times), think that you always can if instead of overconsuming all the calories in one or two days, you save some for the next day or several next days.  Leftovers can make great future non-cooking days or part of future meals; plan those too.

Maintain the habits of exercising. If possible, walk, bike, and keep up with some form of cardio for health purposes but there is no need to overdo it, or burn, or earn extra calories. Remember your body needs the calories mostly for breathing, existing, and repairing your organs, muscles, skin, hair, bones…  Plan and balance beforehand and you won’t feel the need to overdo anything. The more you plan, the less stressful it will be, especially if you tend to be stressed during these sorts of situations or times of the year. 

Get into the habit of serving water with your meals, to keep yourself hydrated and satiated; foods during gatherings tend to be higher in sodium content which will make you thirstier, drink water instead of high-calorie drinks. If you need two glasses, so be it. Slowly sip on one drink while you only refill the water glass. 

Gatherings can be stressful for some people. But practicing your habits such as “stop and assess before taking action” can help. There is a sense of calm in knowing that you can slow down, sit with your feelings, assess the moment, and take the time you need before reacting to any of it. Take deep breaths before seeking comfort in food, make choices, don’t let choices be made for you. You are in control of the situation when you plan. Enjoy the food, and don’t use it as a band-aid when you are not enjoying it. 

You can learn by either tracking for a while or using a plate for portion control, trying to remember how much protein and veggies you need to feel satisfied and satiated, and keeping that in mind when you fill your plate during days when there is too much food around. Pick your favorites in the right portions, mind the volume and density of foods, and enjoy what you pick guilt-free. But know that it is not recommended to track compulsively during long periods of time or on special occasions. Obsessive tracking can be problematic leading to disordered eating behaviors. 

Food is meant to be shared and cherished as much as it is meant to be our energy and nutrient source. 

Lastly, remember that a short break can be taken as a deload and a diet break, the key is to plan it ahead and make it short, not a whole season. 

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