Happy November and start of what we here at Flex Level Fitness and Impact Fitness hope is a joyous, fulfilling, and safe holiday season. For many, the holidays are a tough time of year not only mentally (family gatherings, financial obligations, work deadlines) but also physically as many seek comfort and relaxation in their favorite dishes. This month I want to share with you some personal and proven-effective tips on a topic that has already been raised on multiple occasions in the past 2 weeks. “How do I eat properly, or even maintain a structured diet during the holidays? I don’t want to regress, so what should I do?”
This is a great question, and no doubt creates a challenge for nearly anyone looking to continue positive momentum through these upcoming months. By adding even 200 calories a day over the next 5-6 weeks you could easily pack on 3-5 pounds. Today, I am going to provide a few bullet points that I hope you will keep in mind at your upcoming gatherings to better allow you to both enjoy your time and enjoy some great food while avoiding the side order of guilt that often accompanies this.
- Budget. Don’t feel the need to eat “1 of everything” at the party. Odds are that by now you know which foods you love. Stick to those.
- Slow Down. Enjoy some conversation and catching up with loved ones or friends you haven’t seen in a while. After your initial serving, take 10 minutes, have some water, then reassess if you really are still hungry, or if the leptin (the satiety hormone) simply hasn’t yet reached the brain.
- Eat your vegetables! Add some extra salad or greens. Avoid heavy cream sauces.
- Eat your standard meals, rather than “saving calories.” This one is backed by hundreds of clients over 2 decades who have averted possible disaster with this simple tip. I have all my clients eat their regular meals just as they would any other day (with the possible exception of a dinner party, unless you choose to pack your food and bring it with you). This ensures that you are getting the proper daily nutrients while also ensuring that you avoid going to the party over hungry, which will increase the chances of drastically overeating and making food choices you may not have otherwise made.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum. Aside from the other numerous negative health effects of alcohol, the calories will add up quickly. Among the lower calorie drinks is a Rum and Coke which has 100 calories in one 8oz drink, and that’s with Diet Coke! Some mixed drinks can easily add over 500 calories per 8oz drink. Alcohol alone can be responsible for holiday weight gain. Avoid alcohol and you are well on your way to keeping your calories in check. Plus, why not embark on a new challenge? You may just find you like how you feel. Trust me.
- Practice Mindfulness. Remember the real reason for these social gatherings around the holidays. Although food is an integral part of the holidays, be sure to keep the focus on family and friends, laughter, and general cheer. Some gratitude will also go a long way in helping you have a wonderful and memorable season.
For many, the holidays are among the most difficult times of the year. Whether simply void of positive memories, an untimely remembrance of a lost loved one, or a combination of events or memories that brings anything but cheer for them, we don’t all share the same excitement as this time of year approaches.
With that in mind, I challenge each of you to go into 2022 feeling as though you gave more than you took, sought more to understand than to be understood, and made an effort to be 1% better in some aspect of your life every day during the final two months of 2021. With each of the many encounters we are all sure to have as we approach both the holidays, as well as a semblance of normalcy in society, the Flex Level Fitness and Impact Fitness staff encourage you all to remember, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” -Robin Williams