When we ask the Underground Lab Nation what the hardest part of staying fit through the holidays is – the overwhelming answer is avoiding all the unhealthy FOOD!
And I get it.
Your coworkers fill up the break room with homemade fudge and cookies.
Your grandma cooks her once-a-year dinner filled with all your favorite foods.
And around every corner is a holiday party, office gathering or night out with festive drinks with the candy cane stirrers.
Now clearly – all of these food festivities aren’t the greatest thing for your waistline.
But let me be straight –
I am not a dictator for restriction and denial. I don’t want you to go through the holidays without enjoying some drinks or savoring some iced cookies. The food is one of the reasons the holiday is so inviting and I don’t want you totally missing out.
If you give in to every holiday food temptation because it’s a “once-a-year” thing, you’re going to be waddling into the next year.
And that, we don’t want to happen.
So here are the 3 best strategies to make it through the holiday food splurges without copying Santa’s physique.
Learn the 80/20:
You don’t have to force yourself to eat like a body builder through the holidays. Every day doesn’t have to be ideal. Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for reality.
Eat healthy 80% of the time (or 80% of your calories). Choose the lean proteins, a butt load of veggies and plenty of healthy fats. That is most of your meals and most of your days. But the other 20% – enjoy your holiday treats.
The reason this works is because you only have 20% to splurge with – so you have to choose carefully. Only pick the foods that are really going to be worth it.
Skip the day-old donuts and go for the over the top decadent chocolate lava cake. Make your 20% worth it and then get back to your 80% of waist-friendly foods.
Be That Guy (or Gal):
When everyone is bringing food to the office or to the party, become “that guy” that always brings the healthy alternative.
- Carrots and hummus
- Spiced nuts
- Meat and cheese platters
There is no shame in become the office granola and showing up with the diet-friendly dish to share.
Trust me, even if you get a hard time or hear the grumbles of your colleagues, most of those folks with be silently thanking you for adding at least a few carrot sticks to their plate.
You can’t be the only one who wants to survive the holidays without gaining weight, but you might be the only one willing to admit it.
So bring your dish, enjoy it and then have a few bites of the sugary goodness that someone else brought. Then, you don’t have to worry about taking leftovers home and continuing the temptation.
And lastly –
Count Your Alcohol
I’ve tried to play that game too – focus on making healthy food choices and then you somehow forget to include those drinks (some of which have over 1000 calories)!
Tis the season for alcohol as well as treats so don’t forget to be mindful of your beverage choices.
Go for low calorie and low carb options. Skip the sugary mixes and opt for seltzer and fresh lime instead mixed with your gin or vodka. Choose a glass of wine or a low carb beer instead of the ‘rita or daiquiri. And always alternate one glass of water for every glass of adult beverage you choose (I know it sounds lame, but seriously, it helps).
And if you are going to splurge on drinks, then make sure you pair those with healthy food. Splurge on food OR drinks – not both.
And if you really want to know how to survive the holiday alcohol season, check out this Gym-Goers Guide to Drinking. It’s got all the info (plus a few recipes) to make sure you’re making the best choices for your waistline.
Now, we know food isn’t the only reason it’s hard to stick to your healthy goals for the holidays. Because there is just as much temptation to sloth around (aka skip the gym) as there is to splurge on food.
So click below to check out Part 2 of Surviving the Holidays and see our best tips to beat the sloth-temptation and stay strong in your workouts.