The next 2 or so weeks are undoubtedly festive and fun, but, if you have a fitness and physique goal and are actively in the process of achieving it, well, the holidays can also be a source of great anxiety. You don’t want any regression…but you also want to enjoy your life and have balance. After all, you REALLY look forward to Mom’s 5-cheese mac & cheese and Dad’s Christmas beef tenderloin DON’T you? :) Maybe your uncle makes a “mean” Moscow Mule you love?
So, you have a goal which you are dialed in on achieving and important to you. You’ve worked hard, made great progress…and you don’t want to come “unglued” and regress. However, you know you LOVE this time of year and don’t want to be obsessive and secretly heating up your chicken and rice in the microwave and trying to pawn it off at the dinner table. “Aunt Joyce” will catch you :) LOL.
So what’s to be done? How CAN YOU, in fact, “have your cake and eat it to”?
Well, what follows probably is not the “hardcore” advice or words of wisdom you were expecting to get from a fitness pro and coaching company, but that’s precisely why we have had such great success with our clients for 14 years: We have a realistic approach and a sustainable methodology our clients can truly live with.
Unless you’re in the home stretch to something like a contest or a photo shoot, then I think it is downright ridiculous to skip a holiday meal in favor of rigid dietary compliance. Don’t you dare break out the Tupperware and your pocket scale at the family dinner table while everyone else is partaking in the food festivities and enjoying themselves. You know you’re not going to enjoy yourself and nor will anyone you’re sitting with. Let’s not forget you just look silly.
Part of finding balance in living the ‘fitness lifestyle’ is learning to ENJOY times like this and this especially includes holiday eating – Thanksgiving, Christmas, whatever. And enjoy it GUILT FREE. THAT is balance. Holiday dinners and the social/family aspect behind them are an integral part of enjoying the holiday to the fullest for many of us. And if this applies to you, you should.
DO NOT get all disordered in your thinking and feel you have to ‘make it up’ the next day with guilt cardio, skipping meals, “two a days”, cutting carbs, etc. You just wind up missing the ENTIRE POINT of this post. Accept the great off-plan and “bigger-than-it-should-be meal” as part of your journey’s bigger picture. Accept that you’ll be a bit heavier and be holding some water and your glycogen stores will be topped off. You didn’t gain 5 lbs. of fat. Easy come easy go. Going into “crisis mode”, with a bunch of guilt, is the exact WRONG WAY to handle this.
In this season, you have to pull out your calendar and plot the parties. Mark them on your calendar. Plan for success THIS festive season. Plan to partake and enjoy; after all, it’s a tremendously fun time of year, and of course, a time for new memories to be created. I’d never suggest NOT partaking. That’s not the goal we have for our clients-or anyone for that matter. That’s not a lifestyle and that’s not sustainable.
The long-term sustainable approach REQUIRES you to include these fun events that you WANT to be involved in. Now, normally, my next advice would be something like- “you can still eat whatever you want, but you don’t have to eat HOW MUCH you want.” I often say just to control the amounts and you’ll be just fine.
But during holiday season, THAT’S not always “fun” either.
But you can do it for SOME of the festivities.
So this brings me back around to the calendar. Plot every party on your calendar. Again, plan to go off and ENJOY it. No guilt.
BUT, and this is the big BUT, you need to be as good as you can be (meaning your best reasonable effort) on all the OTHER days that there are no parties or events planned.
THAT will keep you on the path you’re on.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and we hope this helps you navigate it with less stress. Thanks for your support and your commitment to your health and fitness! Coach Erik Ledin
P.S.-if you enjoyed this post, and you know of a friend who is stressing about holiday eating, would you do me a favor, spread the message, and forward it on to them? There is no reason for anyone to be stressing about this. :)
P.P.S.-if this post resonated with you (if you got this far it did :), we have over 6000 people in our (free) private community on Facebook and we’d love to hear about your fitness and weight loss journey. Our coaches are ALWAYS there answering questions and it’s a big family of really cool people. GET INVOLVED HERE.
P.P.P.S.-if you know you want change, want to lose weight and have a sustainable diet…but maybe it’s not in your budget to hire a coach or trainer…do yourself a favor and sign up for “The Top 10 Not-So-Obvious Fat Loss Mistakes” free e-course we offer. Trust me, after going through it…you’ll have a better understanding of proper nutrition than 90% of the “gurus” LOL. Unlock your fat loss potential HERE.