Winning the Holidays!

The holidays are that special time of the year where every indulgence is neatly packaged, socially encouraged, and conveniently available. Pumpkin-spiced, chocolate-dipped, rum-soaked, caramel-topped “Megatreats” are found everywhere, from the checkout stand to the drive-thru to school fundraisers. And while the odd confectionery indulgence certainly does not a bad diet make, the holidays have become a seemingly endless parade of pies, sweets, drinks, and culinary inventions of bacchanalian proportions. So what to do if your desire is to enjoy the holidays yet still maintain workout, weight, and longevity goals? The first thing to do is be realistic. Setting a goal to drop twenty pounds is setting oneself up for failure. A more realistic goal would be to maintain one’s weight throughout the holidays whilst allowing for plenty of shared festivities and a few indulgences. Here are a few suggestions that will help in the battle to win the holidays:

  • Remember there is always strength in numbers. There is nothing wrong with letting others know of your goals and surprisingly, you may find others who have similar goals
  • Prepare and bring healthy snacks to school or work
  • Portion-Portion-Portion. Try and use smaller plates and cups (bring if necessary)
  • Drink a 12 oz glass (think soda can size) of water before sitting down at the table
  • Offer to bring a healthy dish to parties (what host would say no to eggplant parmesan or grilled cucumber and hummus wraps?)
  • Have a healthy snack before going to the party or dinner and once there, plan your meal in your head. Lastly, savor every bite.
  • Remember to wait 20 minutes before going for seconds (better to skip them altogether)

Remember that the holiday season is strategically followed by the “New-Years Resolution” season. Making better choices during the former means making easier choices during the latter. Also, having a bite of something sweet now is better than a having 10 bites later. Oftentimes, willpower can dissolve later in the night when our bodies start to wind down. It is possible to wipe a good workout off the map with a few mindless spatula-fulls of pumpkin cheesecake. Being active and even ramping up workouts is a very effective way to make those extra calories work in your favor. Try making some personal record (PR) goals during this time of year. A cupcake-fueled sprint or latte-energized bench press may be your best attempt all year.

  • Plan group activities that are not centered on food, like going on walking tours of decorated homes (also, volunteering opportunities are everywhere during the holidays as needs rise drastically)
  • Be the life of the party! Mingle, move, and burn more calories
  • Let your brain, not your stomach do the choosing. Showing up to functions hungry means being mostly defenseless against overindulgence.
  • Be picky. Take a moment to think about what indulgences are worth your extra work.
  • Get a high-quality digestive enzyme. These supplements can mean the difference between burping and “Burpees”. By assisting digestion, enzymes help

  1. Extract vital nutrients from foods
  2. Shuttle undigested foods through our digestive system
  3. Reduce gas and bloating

The holidays do not have to be an automatic “lose my gains and gain weight” season. It can be a time of intense satisfaction when we prove to ourselves that planning really does lead to success. Plan time to be mindful of your goals and increase your holiday cheer.


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