Holiday Fitness: Nutritional Tips

Continuing the theme of “how to not screw up your fitness goals this holiday season,” lets talk nutrition.

Some people will stick to their diets ruthlessly throughout the holidays.  On Thanksgiving, they’ll eat turkey and green beans but not stuffing or pie.  No dessert, no cookies, no pie, no temptation.  These people have iron will, and this post is not for them.  For the rest, here are some tips for making the best of the holiday season from a nutritional standpoint.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Get Your Mind Right

For many people, the time from Thanksgiving through New Years turns into one giant excuse to binge on holiday sweets and treats.  Let’s get this straight right now: “It’s the holidays” is not an excuse to throw dietary reason out the window.  You can easily undo a year’s worth of progress in two months if you let this mindset take over.  Go ahead and prep yourself mentally not to use the season as an excuse to be dumb.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a Christmas cookie or a slice of pumpkin pie, but there is something wrong with finishing an entire pie over the course of the next week.  You might find it easiest to give yourself a specific allowance for “cheat” foods ahead of time, then sticking to it.  (No – one pie a week is not a good allowance)

Eat Ahead Of Temptation

If you’re going to a party, having a big meal with family, or in some other way coming up on an event that would likely throw off your nutritional plan, EAT FIRST.  Have a quick healthy meal, protein shake, handful of nuts, whatever it takes, immediately before you go.  This will subdue your cravings for snack foods and dessert, and keep you from overeating on likely-less-healthy party food.  Showing up at the office Christmas party starving is a sure-fire way to eat about 430 cookies.

Bring Something Healthy

Going to a potluck?  Bring a healthy and satisfying dish.  At least that way you know there will be something healthy there.  Load up on your own dish (and any other healthy options) before you move on to the chips and dip.

Don’t Stock Up On Crap

Just because it’s Christmas season doesn’t mean you have to keep candy/cookies/other crap on hand.  Many people put out dishes of little Christmas colored candies and so forth.  All around the house!  What do you expect to happen?  They’ll just sit their until someone else comes over and eats them?  Right.  Face it, you’re going to eat 95% of that candy.  You wouldn’t leave that stuff out (or have it in the house) otherwise.  Why now?  If you’re throwing a party and feel the need to fatten your guests, buy that stuff at the last minute and pitch it after the party.  Having it out (or even in your cabinet) is a guaranteed way to eat it all.

Detecting A Pattern?

As my dad would say: keep your wits about you.  This isn’t rocket science.  Make good choices, plan ahead, and moderate your intake of “seasonal” (read: “shitty”) foods, and you won’t end the season looking like Santa Claus.