The holiday season is about to hit, and everyone’s freaking out, scrambling to get the best holiday diet tips to stave off fat gain, and will good reason. I’m one of the most optimistic people ever, but if you don’t have a plan, you can plan on carrying some extra weight into the New Year.
I get it. You’re busier than ever, it’s getting dark at 430pm, it’s so cold your dog won’t even go outside (or maybe that’s just my dog), and yet, you know you should be walking out the door to get a workout in. To go on a walk. And to make sure we do the things necessary to stave off the Holiday Season.
Well, good news! There are several ways to offset holiday weight gain, and turn it into HOLIDAY HOTNESS.
What is Holiday Hotness? Well, besides a term I stole from a guy who owns a gym in New York, Holiday Hotness is a plan to make sure you fight the bulge from Thanksgiving to New Years.
Here’s what ya gotta do:
1)Hopefully your “why” is reset from our Halloween Talk. If not, go read that and then come back to this page. You need a stronger why than “I just wanna lose weight” because I guarantee pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint hot chocolates taste better than a weakly stated goal.
2) Plan, track and manage. If you haven’t downloaded an app like fat secret or My Fitness Pal yet, now is a great time. With these nifty apps, it’s really easy to manage your caloric intake on a daily basis. You just add up what you eat, and get to the right amount. If you’re not sure how many or what kind of calories you need each day, we have a great resource for that here. This is also a good time to start working on daily meals and habits so the first few meals of every day are filling, nutritious, lower in calories, and set your day up for long term success.
3) Perspective helps. Are you really going to lose 5-10lbs this season? Maybe not, and that’s okay (hint: that’s why we setup Project Zero, to make sure you have realistic goals this season). I know there are holiday parties, stressful reasons to drink like a sailor (in-laws, anyone?), and more temptations than dog waiting for a baby to drop her food, but that’s why your why is so important. Is 5 drinks really more important than having energy to play with your grandson? Is three cookies after the pizza you just ate going to get you closer to the goal of running your first 5k with your wife? Recalibrate.
4) if you’re following our calorie guidelines, the week of an actual holiday, go ahead and lower your calories by 10% if you’re under 170lb, and 20% if you’re over 170lb. This way, you’ll have a bit more “wiggle room” come holiday time.
The big day:
5) If you’re like me, with an obnoxiously large, divorced, busy Italian, food-centric family, there is no “one meal”. There are several. And all of them are calorie bombs. I’m sorry, but it’s going to be harder to do damage control. Just know i’m with you. In this case, please skip #6…you have it harder, but it’s not impossible to keep things together.
6) If your family celebrate like a normal family with one normal, delicious meal, this is so much easier. Leading up to the meal, drink plenty of water, eat protein with veggies, and then enjoy the parts of the meal you want to enjoy. I like egg white veggie omelettes for breakfast, some low fat cottage cheese with a side salad, or a chicken salad for lunch, and then go enjoy.
7) Practice mindfulness. Sometimes the best “tactics” are useless because we just turn every chance to deviate from a plan into a “fuck all”. That’s the technical term, I think. What’s really helped me is to answer these questions:
Who am I here to enjoy this meal with?
Is the food the important part, or is the family?
How goddamn privileged am I that the hardest part of this day is NOT eating till I pass out?
What’s my why?
Am I full?
These questions won’t work 100% of the time, but they do work fairly often. Plus, like i always say, there’s not a limit to how much fat you can gain, so might as well do as little damage as possible.
8) If you’re a triggered eater (i.e. certain foods or eating patterns send you into a downward spiral), please do not deviate from your plan on a holiday. I’ll be honest with you guys….up until this year, I was a trigger eater. One day of off-plan eating turned into one week to one month of not managing. And, let me tell you, as a former overweight dude, I can do damage in a month. Interestingly, the habits i’ve developed over the last year have helped me tremendously. It’s funny how i’ve helped so many before helping myself, but that’s just how it goes. Moving on…
9) Weigh daily. Many have their thoughts on this, but my thought is that it desensitizes you to the number (water fluctuations, anyone?) and helps keep you on track during this difficult time of year, and beyond.
10) Move more. One of the reasons fat loss slows or even reverses, food aside, is that we are moving so much less when it’s cold outside. The solution? Move more. You can upgrade or begin a program at Edge, you can brave the cold for a walk each day, or you can do some home workouts for 10 minutes each day. It all helps, and it all adds up. And this is just the caloric effects; lifting weights, doing metabolic resistance training, and walking/cardio all have so many other benefits beyond burning calories. It’s a true win, win.
11) Take it all in stride. One bad day might show up on the scale for a week or two, but a bad week or two will show up on the scale for a month or two. The choice is yours, but hopefully with these strategies you pick the one that keeps you getting stronger, happier, and healthier this holiday season.
BONUS** 12) Interested in a Holiday Hotness Plan from Edge Fitness?
Members, setup a strategy session/goals reset with your Coach, or join our nutrition coaching program for accountability, support, and constant contact with a coach during this time of year.
Non-Members, check out our Project Zero: 30 Day Fitness Program.