The holidays are fast approaching. Everyone knows that means family, fun and FOOD. If you’re not prepared for it, the holidays can do some serious damage to all the hard work you’ve put in. From the massive amount of food and desserts to the fact that the gym is closed, it can make staying on track really tough. Here are a few ways to prepare for the holidays, without losing all your hard-earned gains.
1. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD
Prepping food is a must nowadays. We are all so busy and on the go that having food prepped is just easier. This shouldn’t exclude holidays. Think of things you want to eat through the holidays and make a healthier version. Sweet potatoes with brown sugar, mashed potatoes or green bean casserole are classics. Instead of having the calorie-stuffed foods that everyone is having, make sweet potatoes with cinnamon, mashed cauliflower and steamed green beans. There are a ton of recipes online for healthy alternatives. It’s a great way to have similar foods, without the excess calories.
2. MAKE A PLATE
If you’re trying to get fit or stay fit, you’ve probably brought containers of your own food to social gatherings where you know there won’t be anything you can eat that is conducive to your goals. Family and friends love to poke fun at this, and it can be difficult to stay committed to your goals when you are constantly scrutinized for it. One way to avoid attracting the unwanted attention of those around you is to not eat your food out of Tupperware. Instead, put your meal onto a regular plate with whatever healthy items (turkey, vegetables, etc.) you can find. People will be so focused on their own plates they probably won’t notice that you’re eating something different!
3. GET UP EARLY
Get a start on the day before any of the holiday craziness kicks in. Some gyms are open until noon or so on holidays. Get to the gym early and be back in time to help the family with holiday preparations. If your gym isn’t open, do an at-home workout, go for a run or even take the dog for a walk. Something to get the blood flowing before it’s time to eat.
4. LIMIT YOURSELF TO ONE HELPING
Don’t go back for seconds. This can cut your calorie intake in half. Fill up a plate (preferably with some of the food you prepped) and that’s it. The average American eats 3,000 calories in one sitting. Don’t be that guy if you are serious about your fitness.
5. DRINK A LOT OF WATER
Drinking a lot of water has a ton of benefits in general, but it’s especially important during the holidays. It can make you feel more full, helping to avoid overeating. It helps with digestive health, which is obviously important when we eat a lot. It also reduces fluid retention. We all know we eat a lot of carbohydrates on holidays, so drink lots of water to feel less bloated.
6. DON’T BE TOO STRICT
At the end of the day, it’s the holidays. A time to relax and have fun with family and friends. Don’t stress about your food intake too much. If you are too strict on yourself, there’s a good chance you could say, “Screw it,” and eat everything in sight. Make a realistic goal for yourself and do your best to stick to it. If all else fails, work hard in the gym and kitchen the weeks building up to the holidays. Then make that one meal a good old-fashioned cheat meal. Just makes sure it stays a cheat MEAL and not a cheat day, week, month, etc.