Nutrition Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Still Eat the Cookies
The biggest secret to avoid holiday weight gain is JUST ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS!
Think about it for a sec...you have 3 meals a day, and this year there are 36 days between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.
That's 108 meals total!
With just 8 meals being a splurge meal, we must look at the 'in-between' because we have 100 chances for success!
Here's a quick breakdown:
- Thanksgiving - 1 meal
- Holiday parties - 2 meals
- Christmas Eve - 1 meal
- Christmas Day - 2 meals
- New Year's Eve - 1 meal
- New Year's Day - 1 meal
Seriously, just 8 meals!
Those 8 meals are not responsible for the 10-12 pounds that the average American packs on between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.
Let's look at how we can handle the other 100 meals to successfully avoid holiday weight gain - and still have the pie and cookies!
I have an analogy I like to use with coaching clients...
Picture a glass jar. Let's put 100 quarters in there to represent 100 healthy meals. Now add 8 pennies and shake it up. What do you see? Not the pennies!
That's how it is with your healthy habits. They all add up and end up overpowering the little splurges and slip-ups along the way.
Hit Your Daily Protein Goal
Protein makes you pretty! It also keeps your blood sugar stable and reduces sugar cravings - which is kind of a big deal with all the cakes, cookies, and pies lurking around every corner this time of year.
Keep Up With Your Hydration
It's easy to let hydration slip when we are busy with all the holiday things. I'm not going to tell you all the reasons to hydrate, because we've been there done that. But you know you should, so just do it!
Make Breakfast a Power Meal
On the day of your holiday splurge meal, make sure you crush your breakfast. No, I don't mean eat an extra cinnamon roll! I mean get a power breakfast with protein, healthy fats, and some complex carbs. Do not starve yourself thinking you'll save your calories for the big meal!
On the Road Again
No shame in the snack game! Proudly pack some protein powder, protein bars, rice cakes, tuna packets, nitrate-free jerky, single-serve nut butter packs, and apples. I share all my travel tips HERE (insert travel blog link)
Make a safe dish! If you are headed to a family gathering, do not back down from taking a goal-friendly dish that you can pair with all the other holiday foods. It's pretty simple to clean up some tried and true favorites like sweet potato casserole or fresh cranberry sauce. Or you can keep it simple and roast some brussels sprouts with butternut squash...it's so pretty and delicious.
Don't Starve Yourself
We've all done it before...saved up our calories for the big event. Don't. Just don't.
This sets you up to go on a full out feeding frenzy once you actually get some food. You'll be like gimme "gimme gimme, then gimme more!" Make sure you eat your normal macro-friendly meals leading up to your event and make protein a priority.
Ohhhh all the pretty appetizers and party trays! They are tempting, and you should pick 1 or 2 of your favorites, but be mindful that each bite packs a bigger calorie punch than you may think. Spinach dip is not a vegetable! In fact, a 4 Tbsp portion is 170 calories!
Those cute little meatballs? 100 calories each!
Focus on lean proteins that make holiday appearances like shrimp and beef tenderloin.
Portions at holiday meals
This is where you can use bites, licks, and tastes to your advantage!
One spoonful of Aunt Edna's sweet potato casserole WILL be enough to taste the love she put into it! Taste your favorite indulgences, get a bite or 2, even lick the fork. Make a plan to keep your plate balanced with protein, carbs, fats, and veggies!
Prioritize your movement and step goal! Yes, even your steps while holiday shopping count! But seriously, getting in a 15 minute Tabata workout or a quick HIIT sesh is better than nothing. It will energize you and will boost your metabolism, which is exactly what we need during this busy time of year! Remember that 'something is better than nothing' when it comes to your exercise routine.
Do Not "Earn Your Food"
Ladies, we are not dogs performing for a treat. Break up with the mindset that you will earn your food with extra workouts or through deprivation. It's a recipe for disaster and will rock your hormones in a bad way! You will set yourself up for unhealthy habits that can follow you right into the New Year.
Keep this checklist handy for a quick reference over the next few weeks. Maybe even make it the wallpaper on your phone! Being mindful of your goals, and staying focused on those in between meals, will give you the freedom to cut loose a little bit for those holiday splurges.
Most of all, enjoy every moment with your loved ones! You deserve that!