You've done a great job all week...but you know that special dinner, brunch or family gathering is coming!
The anxiety starts to set in
"What if there isn't anything I can eat?"
"Will I ruin my progress?"
'I ALWAYS binge at holidays...I can't control myself."
"Grandma's pound cake will be there...it's too tempting to resist!"
Take a breath and read on!
Hit your calorie goal
Track your food but instead of hitting your macros hit your calories. On holidays we tend to overeat fat and carbs while neglecting protein. If you choose this option eat lean protein and nutrient dense greens (think kale, spinach) for your other meals. Don't be obsessive or break out your food scale! Exercise the power of estimation and portion control.
Borrow from the next day
This is only for special occasions! Do not "borrow" from the next day routinely. Why? Restricting one day often leads to going overboard with a binge later. While we usually start with a clean slate the next day for a holiday you can "borrow" up to 50g carbs and/or 10g fat. If you are going the calorie counting route borrow up to 300 calories from the next day (no more!) Do not do strenuous exercise on the day you are borrowing from. Yoga, stretching or walking is a great activity for this day.
Take an additional high carb day
Use your high carb day macros on a holiday. You can do this even if you've already taken your high carb day earlier in the week.
1) ...is this holiday "real"?
Everyone should have their non-negotiable holidays. These are the times you should fully enjoy yourself! Think: your birthday, anniversary, Christmas. Some call them YOLO (you only live once) days. Here you can eat until your full, enjoy your favorite dishes and relax. This is for those truly special days only though- not for your coworkers birthday, or for every BBQ throughout the summer. Use these days wisely!
2) Push Hard---Build Muscle
Following a holiday make sure to really focus during your workouts for the next week or two. Use those extra calories to build and sculpt some muscle! Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the body and guess what our muscles need to grow? Glycogen! Think of all those treats as fuel for bigger biceps, a rounder butt and a stronger core. Exercise isn't a punishment- it's a tool you're using to grow strong and healthy. The food you lovingly ate is now the fuel to a happier, healthier you so use it!
3) Focus on Nutrition
Remember to stay hydrated and drink an additional bottle or two of water post holiday. Integrate nutrient dense foods that are not processed to add more fiber into your diet. Fatty and carb heavy foods can hinder digestion and more fiber, water and greens will help alleviate that!
4) Balance is Key
Holidays are not an excuse to overeat all day! Christmas dinner doesn't cause Americans to gain 8 pounds every year- it's all those treats in between our special meals that do that. "Save" your fat and carbohydrates for your treats and rely on lean protein for the rest of the day. You can also bring a dish that is healthier for your whole family to enjoy! Above all else stay calm, plan ahead and relax.
What if I "mess up" and go way overboard! SOS! Help!
Holidays can give you anxiety especially when it comes to food. Take this moment to reflect on enjoying your family time and these special days. Even if you go way over the top one day will never ruin your progress. Love yourself anyway, we all make mistakes. Take a breath, reflect on what you will do differently next time and move on!
I hope that you found this guide helpful. Celebrate these new habits that are getting you strong, confident and fit!
About the Author
Lily lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband. She loves to lift heavy, watch vintage movies and cheer on her fellow warrior queens!