It’s that special time of year where you might be starting to get into the “I’ll start again on January 1st” mindset.
What if this was the year you DIDN’T do that to yourself? What if this was the year you were feeling GOOD by the time January came and not in desperate need of a complete and total reset?
You might be asking yourself “Ok but HOW can I do this with all of the Holiday events and treats and meals out this time of year?! It seems impossible to stay on track!!” Don’t worry...I got you! It may feel a little more difficult to make progress towards your goals right now and progress may be slower...but it’s definitely still possible. Here are some tips on how to stay fit during the Holidays.
Don’t make the Holidays a month long affair
You might be in the mindset that the Holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving to New Years but if you’re honest with yourself, you know that doesn’t have to be the case. Depending on what you celebrate, the Holidays themselves can be about 4 total days over 6 weeks. That’s 4 days out of 42 you might not hit your nutrition target(and I absolutely do not want you even thinking about calories on those 4 days, they’re meant to be enjoyed!). If you’ve been following me for awhile or are a client of mine you know that I tell you to aim for 80% consistency in order to see progress. With this reasoning you would have EIGHT total days over these 6 weeks you can not hit your nutrition target and still be at 80% consistency.
This gives you plenty of wiggle room to enjoy the Holidays and still be 80% or more consistent over the next few months. The trick is to not let the Holidays bleed into the days before and after. Don’t use the Holidays as an excuse to order more takeout than usual, drink more on the weekdays than you typically do, eat more sweets than you usually do, etc. Fully enjoy the Holiday itself ON the day of the Holiday and then move on. It doesn’t have to become an all week or multi day affair.
Stick to your normal eating routine as much as possible. If you usually plan out all your meals for the week, keep doing that. If you prep protein in advance, do that too! Continuing your normal routine as much as possible during the next 6 weeks is how you’ll stay fit during the holiday season.
Use the build a plate method & prioritize foods that make you feel good
Your motivation may be dropping this time of year and with all of the festivities, counting calories may be at the bottom of your priority list. Enter: the Build a Plate Method. At every meal I want you to focus on building your plate to look like this:
-half a plate of vegetables(a few examples: spinach, carrots, brussels sprouts, kale, green beans)
-a palm sized serving of protein (a few examples: chicken, turkey, lean red meat, tofu, greek yogurt, eggs)
- fist size serving of carbs (a few examples: pasta, rice, potatoes, bread)
- a thumb sized serving of fats(a lot of these will be in the oils & butters you use to cook with but also nuts, salad dressings, nut butters)
You can use this method whether you’re eating at home, at a restaurant, or when grandma’s cooking! The beauty is YOU can decide when you want more nutrient dense foods in each of these sections and when you don’t.
For example some days your carb may be some brown rice and other times it might be fries. Both are fully ok and have their place in a well balanced diet. Keep prioritizing foods that make you feel good and foods that give you energy as often as you can. This is going to make you feel best overall, help you stay fit during the holidays and not leave you feeling bloated & lethargic consistently for the next 6 weeks.
Remember that something is better than nothing
How else can you stay fit during the Holidays? By continuing to move as often as you can. If you don’t have access to your normal gym or weights, think about what you can do with bodyweight, bands or heavy things around whatever house you’re at. Maybe you don’t have a full 45 minutes for a workout but could you set a timer for 15 minutes and do as much of the workout as you can? If you’re feeling absolutely drained and don’t even have it in you to strength train, could you go for a long walk instead? Your mom is probably dying to take you to her favorite pilates class...switch up your routine a bit and go with her! Little bits of movement will add up over time. Anytime you catch yourself thinking “ugh I don’t have the full workout in me I’ll just skip today” remind yourself that something will ALWAYS be better than nothing.
Re-Frame your goals if needed
Lastly, the #1 way to stay fit during the Holidays is to remember that fat loss doesn’t have to be your goal right now. You may be in the mindset that if you can’t focus on the scale going down, there’s no other goal to have and you might as well not try at all. This mindset is leaving A LOT of progress on the table. Maintenance and maintaining your current weight is progress too...HUGE progress, and for a lot of us, it’s what makes the most sense during the holidays. Moving into maintenance will allow you more flexibility with your food choices, more energy for your workouts, AND less guilt about your choices.
Think about all the food guilt you may have had in years past because you felt like you weren’t “staying on track” because you thought your only goal could be fat loss. Think about all of the years you’ve actually gained weight during the Holidays with this mindset. Make this year different by focusing on a new goal of maintaining. No weight gain and no food guilt about pie :)
I hope by now you’re feeling more motivated and confident that you can stay fit during the Holidays. Remember that the Holidays are only about 4 days out of an entire season, you can still make nutrient dense food choices even if you’re not calorie counting, something is always better than nothing, and lastly...maintaining is progress too :)
If you’re feeling like you want a little extra accountability this holiday season and/or you’re ready to venture into maintenance but need a little help apply for 1:1 coaching here. I want to help you feel like your best self come New Years Eve!