It’s coming, the most delicious time of the year, winter holiday season. While all the necessary components are there for sound nutrition plan, there is still the risk that you’re going to be “that guy/gal”. The one who uses this glorious time of year as an excuse to completely fall of the wagon on their nutrition. Yes, these are holidays and you should enjoy yourself, but enjoyment shouldn’t be indulgence. You are not green-lit to gorge yourself. In order to keep temptation at bay, you need a plan. Well, I’m your Huckleberry in the fight against the holiday binge. Here are a few tips that I’ve used to keep it together during the holiday season.
Don’t be weird
First and foremost, it’s the holiday season. Yes, we want to stay as close to on point as we can. But, the purpose of these YEARLY get togethers is not to count macros or make everyone have to endure another batch of your gluten-free, no added sugar, keto stuffing. It’s about getting together with those that we hold near and dear and celebrating another year of happiness. Sometimes those celebrations go until three in the morning and it is you and your grandma running the table at beer pong. If grandma wants to pong, are you really going to say no?! While we don’t want you to be weird this holiday season, we still don’t want you eating like an asshole.
Calling back to the best part about this season, be conversational during meals. When you’re talking you’re not chewing and/or swallowing. That means you’ll eat a bit slower, allowing your body time to signal when you’re full. Follow this rule and you can leave the stretchy pants at home this holiday. You’ll also avoid that post-meal insulin crash, giving you more time to connect with your friends and family. Two birds with one stone just by slowing down your eating.
Holiday Meal Time: Tell Me What to Eat
But what exactly should you be eating? Good question. The food names have changed, but the macros have stayed the same. Just know that there are going to likely be a lot of more MIXED macronutrient dishes. And all of those colorful veggies and fruits that are the cornerstone of our ROYGBIV micronutrient system are still there, they might just be dolled up a bit. The beauty of grilled chicken, broccoli with butter, and rice is that they are made up of distinct macronutrient and micronutrient sources. Now you’ve got delicious dishes, but you’ll just have to be more aware of what you’re eating.
Let’s be serious, we’re likely going to overload our plate the first time through the line. Once we sit down, how we attack the plate matters. We’re going to prioritize our plates in this order: veggies, proteins, carbs. Protein comes second because we don’t need to convince you to eat that meaty goodness, it’ll take care of itself. But eating our fibrous veggies earlier in the meal will help maintain satiety and ensure we get all the nutrients we need. Yes, the yams are delicious, so go get some…but don’t make them the centerpiece of the meal. Ideally, your meal would fall into those three categories but what if you want something to drink?
Your beverage choice often times is a source for added macros/calories. If you are drinking…whether it’s whole milk, egg nog, or an old fashioned…let’s go one-for-one. For every non-water drink you have, drink a glass of water or tea. This will help limit the number of calories you’re getting in liquid form as well as keep you hydrated as your digestive tract is probably going to be putting in a little extra work. The hydration will also come in handy when you’re trying to recover from the 2018 Family Beer Pong Championships. With your trophy in hand you will be able to put a full day of gloating in the next day because you successfully avoided the hangover everyone else is feeling from not going one-for-one. Winners win, you know?
Get back to it
And finally, when the festivities have come to a close, get back to the hustle. Your body is a temple and you gotta clean up after the party. Sometimes you need to hire a cleaning crew. We’ve got you covered, whether you need nutrition coaching or programming help. But act fast! Before you know it, the resolutionists will be coming so you’ve got to enjoy this time while you can.
Ben grew up a football player who found his way into a swimming pool. Swimming for four years, culminating in All-American status, at a Division III level, Ben grew to appreciate the effects that various training styles had on performance and decided to pursue the field of Exercise Physiology. After receiving his M.S. from Kansas State University in 2013, Ben moved on to Indiana University - Bloomington to pursue a PhD in Human Performance. While in Bloomington, he spent some time on deck coaching swimming at the club level, successfully coaching several swimmers to the National and Olympic Trials meets. He also served as the primary strength and condition coach for some of the post-graduate Olympians that swam at Indiana University.
Currently, Ben is finishing his PhD while serving a clinical faculty member at the University of Louisville, molding the minds that will be the future of strength and conditioning coaches. He also helps support the Olympic Sports side of the Strength and Conditioning Department there as a sports scientist.
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