In the majority of the consults I do with new members, whether in November, April or August, the subject of the holidays comes up. I’m not sure if people are more scared to make a mistake in a situation they know will be challenging or more scared that I may ask them to pack a Tupperware with plain chicken and broccoli for Thanksgiving Dinner.
I’m here to let you know that it’s okay.
The holidays are nothing to be afraid of.
If we go about them with some strategy, we can have the best of both worlds. We can indulge in the things we like with the people we love and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Here’s how:
1. Control Portion Sizes:
One of the problems with the Holidays is not necessarily the foods we eat, but the amounts of these foods we eat. We can enjoy our mashed potatoes and stuffing on Thanksgiving without over-doing it. Follow these recommendations to help control calories:
Protein (Turkey/Ham/Fish/Chicken, etc.): 1-2 palm sized portions
Carbohydrates (Potatoes, Pasta, Stuffing, Rice, etc.): 1-2 Cupped hand sized portions
Vegetables: 1-2 fist sized portions
2. Pick one dessert:
I am eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. That is non-negotiable. I will enjoy the hell out of it. I can live without the cookies and ice cream and other stuff (I can live the rest of my life without another bite of carrot cake). If you have something like this that you look forward to, don’t feel badly about indulging for the occasion. Cut out the fillers and enjoy that ONE thing. If you can live without dessert, cut it all. You don’t have to eat it just because it is there.
3. Control eating throughout the day:
If you know you may be indulging at dinner, it’s probably not a great idea to overload on breakfast. Choose a breakfast and lunch that are not as dense in calories. An egg white omelette with vegetables for breakfast and salad with grilled chicken for lunch are two good options. Save the carbohydrates and fats for the star of the show – the holiday dinner.
4. Don’t turn a holiDAY into the HOLIDAYS:
Some of us either travel or have house guests for the holidays. This makes it easy to turn what is supposed to be one, big dinner into a few days of indulging (especially since Thanksgiving leftovers are AMAZING). Be careful not to turn one day of scheduled indulging into a week of poor habits. One dinner will likely not throw you totally off your track and add unwanted pounds. 3-4 days of indulging, however, can really cause some problems.
If we know we are going to be indulging a bit and taking in some extra calories, we have to plan to burn a few more as well. Planning some quick workouts that we would normally miss around the holidays can help with damage control. Traveling? Bring a Jump Rope. Check out the local gyms in the area ahead of time and plan a visit. Go for a walk. Plan some 20 minute bodyweight circuits you can do wherever you are staying.
Are you going to be around town? While we will not be open normal hours on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, we will be holding open SWEAT classes at 9:00 am on both days. Holiday workouts are ALWAYS open to friends, family, and the general public, so bring anyone who would like to join us.