Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. That is why eagerly anticipate the end of the week. Luckily, the happiness mixed with the anxiousness about what is going to happen throughout the holidays and if I am gonna overeat and be sedentary are just a bad memory. In the same time, probably a lot of you still have that fear, because you do not want to destroy everything you’ve achieved and get back into the enchanted circle of overeating and a sense of guilt. That is why, today I will share with you some of the things you can do, so you can be sure that this year, the holidays will be different.
I will start with 11 of my advises how to be fit during the holidays and how to think less about food during the holidays.
1.Forget about going on a special diet throughout the week and following some methods that will create a deficit of certain macronutrients and a calorie deficit as a whole. Do not fool yourself that this will allow you to eat more throughout the holidays. Some of the most used methods are carb rotations, the conscious decrease of the portions or skipping meals. As a whole, there is nothing wrong to follow such methods, but I find them successfully applicable mainly with athletes who are used to restrict something and pay the price of what they want to achieve. Even when it comes to them, this doesn’t go without consequences on the mind and the way they feel. With such strategies, if you manage to go through the week with a bigger calorie deficit or the lack of certain macronutrient, by the weekend your body will be starving for enough calories and mainly for carbs, fat and salt.
This would be the goal, if you could satisfy your cravings with a normal portion that contains these nutrients. More often than not, the scenario is different. Exactly because you can’t wait to get to the nutritionally dense food, even the smell of Christmas treats, makes you draw the line and start indulging. Everything starts with one piece, but then you quickly shift to the mindset “I can get by with nothing, but I can’t get by with just one. ”and you decide that everything is already ruined, so you can just fall of the wagon. The bad thing about such a behavior is that it pushes you towards self-guilt and feeling like a failure. Few people have realized that when you eat just a peace of a treat, you can stop there. This doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t ruin all your efforts and it wouldn’t interfere with your progress. Few people achieve this balance or actually it is a long path to making this realization.
The deprivation throughout the week, will put you in a loser position through the weekend – your body will be craving these foods more than ever.
The better choice – just eat normally. Do not do wonders from bravery. Nothing will change for two days. The more nutritious are your meals, and the less you deprive yourself, the smaller will be the need to overeat.
2.Do not cook, while you are hungry. During the holidays, a lot of people spend countless hours in cooking. There is nothing wrong, but do not forget that if you skip meals and if you do not take 10-15 minutes to have lunch or eat your afternoon snack, the smell of sweets and bread will tempt you even more and you will slip to eat more than what would make you feel good. It is great to taste what you cook, but everything comes up to quantity. If you are hungry, you will probably eat way too much.
3.No matter where you travel, do not forget that the place doesn’t define your identity and that you can be yourself – everywhere. Often times, people use traveling as an excuse to cheat on the habits that make them feel good. When you travel, a lot of people stop moving, they stop doing exercises and they stop being interested in what they eat. I’ve traveled to a lot of places, but this never bothers me, because I always have priorities and I always make time for the things that make me feel good and complete. Yes – you might not have great workouts. You might just do some yoga or mobility. Or if there is a park, you can run or do body weight exercises in the yard. You do not need to progress while you travel, but just to sustain what you have achieved. That is why, before you leave, write down what are your main priorities and reread them often. Do not allow yourself to become a mirror of other people and their habits. Bravely state yourself and if you are at the right place, people will accept you for who you are. I don’t have a problem with training when everybody is sleeping or sitting. I do not have a problem to eat the food that makes me feel good, when others eat sandwiches, pizza and etc. I do not judge them, neither have they judged me. Everybody has his own convictions.
4.During the holidays, it is really important how you start your day. The morning defines the rest of your day.
-do not skip your breakfast, in order to limit your calories. Exactly the opposite – prepare yourself your favorite, healthy breakfast. It will help your body release the right hormones and to keep them stable.Because, if you skip your breakfast or if you eat unhealthy food, you will for sure be starving and you want be able to eat mindfully at lunch.
-take some time for movement. It might be a walk, yoga or just a short workout. The body is the best gym. You can do everything. Physical activity, also helps your body to release hormones that make you feel better. Besides that, when a person is active, the appetite for real food is stronger, because the body knows what it needs to recover. And the best part is that when you start your day like this, you remind yourself who you are, what are your goals and priorities and you are even more motivated to stick to the choices that back up it. Activity gives birth to motivation and inspiration. Inactivity gives birth to laziness and emptiness which we try to fill with the wrong things.
5.During the travels, plan your healthy snacks. Do not just leave and do not rely on finding something healthy on the road. It doesn’t take much time to prepare a colorful smoothie, einkorn pancake or rice cake sandwiches. You can just boil some eggs, cut some veggies and add some olives. Everything is quick and easy, but it will help you have high quality food when you feel hungry and this will make you feel better.
6.During the travel, use the short stops, not just to refuel your car, but also your body. I always take some time to do some mobility, when we stop or do some handstands. I remember a time, when I traveled for IFS Bootcamp and I felt so stiff and nervous. We stopped and I took some time to sit on the grass. I did 4-5 mobility exercises and hanged a bit on something like a bar. Suddenly, my energy came back and I felt enthusiastic for the next two hours of travel. Movement returns energy to the body. Do not forget it.
7.Use smaller plates, when you eat. People underestimate this, but our eyes can’t be fulfilled. The bigger is the plate, the more food we will have. And let’s not lie each other! We will all have a second helping. Two portions in a smaller plate, might equal a bigger portion. But it is far better than two big portions, right? So do not underestimate this.
8.If you want to try all of this, try eating a little bit from everything. If you are trying to eat something that you think you “must” and if you give your best to avoid what you really feel like eating, this is what will happen – by the end of the lunch time, you will eat a huge quantity from what you were trying to resist. I always know, that if something attracts my attention, I need to take a bite – even to try it. Then, my desire goes away and I know that I didn’t fight my craving. Everything comes up to quantity.
9.Do not spend the whole day around the table. I’ve never understood why socializing should always happen around the table. Luckily, my family and friends like going for a walk and playing basketball, football and etc. Thus, we can spend time together, without being around food. Be the initiators and suggest a walk or a fun game. The less time you spend around the table, the less food you are gonna eat.
10.Food will be available after the holidays, as well. Do not think that these are the days when you are allowed to cheat on your diet. A healthy nutrition plan doesn’t suggest cheat days and doesn’t forbid foods. If you feel like eating something – you can always have a bite. Fit people can be noticed to eat some foods that are not considered healthy. The fact is that they eat these foods in moderate amounts and they are the exception, but not the norm. Repeat it and be one of them.
11.There isn’t anything better than feeling energetic during the holidays. It is really sad to feel bloated, sick and to turn the holiday into just another time when you feel guilty and like a failure. I believe that these will be your best holidays. It is all up to you!