We are fast approaching December, which means…
CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!
If that sentence gave you feelings of anxiety, dread, or doubt in your ability to hit your goals, this blog is for YOU!
In this blog we will be breaking down our top 5 tips to mastering the holidays! Often we have found that clients struggle during times where routine changes, such as during the holidays. Factors such as social events, opportunities for alcohol, and time away from home are common reasons why clients express they struggle during the holidays.
BUT this doesn’t have to be the case! It is completely possible to still work towards your goals and maintain/create progress during the holidays. This blog will help you do this!
Here are our Top 5 Tips for Mastering YOUR Holiday Season!
Tip Number One: Plan ahead
We all know that saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Although used on far too many motivational cards, there is a great deal of truth in this saying! When it comes to nutrition, planning is key so that you can hit your goals while still enjoying life!
To plan ahead, we recommend focusing on three things:
- The phase you are currently in (fat loss, muscle building, maintenance)
- Your timeline for your goals.
- Each week at a glance
First, you must reflect on what phase you are currently in. The degree of flexibility you can have over the holidays does depend on which phase you are in. If you are in maintenance or in a surplus, the fact is that you will have more calories that you can manipulate. With that being said, we do have tools in our belt to increase flexibility over the holidays, even while in a fat loss phase! One way we can do this is by utilizing diet breaks- this is where we bring your calories back up to maintenance calories to promote flexibility over the holidays. To see what this would look like, checkout this image below!
As you can see, by utilizing a diet break you can still have THREE weeks of progress towards your goal AND enjoy the holidays. If you find you still want to have more flexibility during the new year, the diet break can continue until you are ready to resume fat loss!
The length that diet breaks can be utilized does depend on your timeline, which is why the second thing to reflect on going into the holidays is if there is a specific date you want to reach your goal by. If you have a strict timeline, for example “I have 8 weeks to lose 10 pounds” then the length of the diet break may have to be shorter. Ultimately, it is important to set realistic expectations as to what you can achieve while still enjoying the holidays!
Thirdly, to plan ahead we recommend looking at each individual week at a glance.
Events are going to occur- there will be Christmas parties, get togethers, and other social events that you will want to enjoy during this season! Instead of focusing on hitting the same calorie goal each day, it may be beneficial to fluctuate your calories day-to-day so that you will have more flexibility with your calories during these social events. Checkout the image below to see what we mean!
As you can see, you can still hit your weekly calorie goal (as an example 1800 calories) by having lower calories on some days, and higher calories on others. The flexible approach may be beneficial if you know you have a Christmas party on the weekend- set yourself up for success and lower calories throughout the week leading up to this!
Did you notice anything else from this image?
The only approach that may hinder progress is the “diet starts Monday” mentality. This leads into our next tip…
Tip Number Two: Abandon the “All or Nothing” Mentality
This tip may be the most important one on the list. It is the one that is hard to measure and less tangible, and often, it is the one that takes the most work to change. But, when you are able to let go of the all or nothing mentality, you GAIN flexibility and make nourishing your body a lifestyle!
Some ways to ditch the all or nothing mentality include focusing on what feels best LONG term. In the short-term, having 10 cookies may taste good, sure, but that tummy ache you are going to experience? Yea, that doesn’t feel good. Nourishing your body with whole foods and enjoying treats in moderation is an act of self-love. Whenever you are deciding what to eat, ask yourself “how would I feed someone I love?”. Would you deprive someone you love of having any treats? Likely, you wouldn’t. Would you feed someone you love only cake and cookies? Also no. Life is all about BALANCE!
It is very important in your journey to ditching the all or nothing mentality to practice compassion with yourself. As you saw in the weekly calorie image, having one higher calorie day does NOT ruin your progress! Personally, we as coaches fully recognize that on Christmas Day, we will eat more food than usual and that is OKAY! Christmas is just one day and having one day “off plan” does not make or break your ability to reach your goals! Neither does having occasional treats- in fact, having a treat may just help improve your relationship with food as you practice balance!
To have a healthy relationship with food we strongly believe that your diet should be composed of 80-90% whole foods, and 10-20 % treat foods. Checkout the visual below to see what we mean by “80/20”.
As you can see, balance is key to hitting your goals! You do want the majority of your foods to be whole foods- these foods will provide you with micronutrients and will help you feel your best!
The goal over the holidays for the most part is to hit your targets while still making memories. We do recommend intuitive eating for 2-4 days over the holiday (depending on your goal, it may be more), but for those who are tracking for a specific goal (like fat loss), it is possible to track while still making memories.
Here is a quick “do’s and don’t’s” reference on how to make memories this holiday season!
Look at the “don’t” category, and ask yourself the question we mentioned above:
“How would I feed someone I love?”
You would NOT let someone you love to become incredibly hungry, over-eat past fullness, eat foods they don’t enjoy or stress about their intake and tracking it.
You would want someone you love to eat foods that make them feel their best and help them hit their goals! That leads us to our third tip…
Tip Number Three: Bring a Dish to Social Events
Have you ever arrived at a Christmas potluck only to find out that there is not a veggie in sight, and everything is covered in a questionable “cheese” sauce?
Yea, us too.
To combat this, we recommend focusing on what you can control- You can bring a dish to the social event to guarantee that at least one item will help you hit your goals!
Things that you would want to include in this dish are things that are commonly missing at potlucks: veggies and protein.
Here are 3 recipes that you could bring to your next holiday event:
These recipes are all simple and packed with protein and veggies, and are pretty tasty too 😉
Another thing to remember at social events is you are there for the SOCIAL event, and food is A PART of that, but not the ONLY PART. So get out there and be social!!! Portion out your food onto a plate, enjoy it, but don’t hover over the buffet table where you will be tempted to mindlessly graze – get out there and create memories!
Being intentional with what you bring can help you be successful, but it is also important to be mindful of what you drink. This leads us to tip number four…
Tip Number Four: Alternate Alcohol with Water
Have you ever gone to a Christmas party with honourable intentions of hitting your targets, but then found yourself on your 5th margarita?
Why does that occur?!
Firstly, alcohol lowers our inhibition, which in turn can make being adherent to your goals more difficult. To combat this, we recommend setting yourself a limit, and be realistic here! It is important to remember that alcohol is empty calories and will not help move you closer to your fat loss or performance goal, BUT it can be enjoyed in moderation.
If you know you would like to enjoy some alcohol, program that into my fitness pal FIRST so that you can build your day around it, or if you are not tracking for this event, set a drink limit and stay within it!
Checkout the image below to see how to track alcohol
To help you not over consume alcohol, and to support health (dehydration can occur when drinking) we go by the motto “Drink, Hydrate, Repeat” which means to alternate one alcoholic drink with one glass of water. This tip will help you pace out your drinking, help minimize over-consuming alcohol, and help off-set the dehydration that occurs when drinking. Water has SO many benefits for us!
Now that you know that not over-consuming alcohol will help you be adherent to your goals, what else can help with adherence? Knowing your “why” behind your goal!
Tip Number Five: Know Your Why
When looking at flexibility over the holidays, you may want to use this time to be in a maintenance phase. Maintenance is when you are maintaining your weight and focusing on optimizing hormones and overall health. You can use this phase to practice intuitive eating, which may be helpful if you are having frequent social events or weekends away.
BUT, achieving fat loss and tracking your macros during the holidays is possible if you use the tips we highlighted above. To help you stay disciplined and progressing towards your goal, you have to have a deep connection with the “why” behind your goal.
What does reaching your goal mean to you?
How will it improve your quality of life?
To help you find your why, try this activity called the “5 Why’s” Below:
At times, you may have to make some sacrifices in order to hit your goal, for example, if you want more intuitive eating days in the month of December it may take you slightly longer to hit your goal. And that is OKAY if it makes it so you can adhere to your goal and makes the process more enjoyable!
To Summarize, Here are our 5 tips to Mastering the Holidays:
- Plan Ahead
- Abandon All or Nothing Thinking
- Bring a Dish to Social Events
- Alternate Alcohol with Water
- Know Your Why
Our main takeaway from this blog is this:
The holidays are an opportunity to PRACTICE self-love. All of the above tips are a form of self-love, whether it be reflecting on your life, being intentional in your planning, or honouring your goals. We truly believe that being holistic in your approach to nutrition will improve your quality of life and allow you to make incredible memories. After all, life is all about the memories you make, and the holidays are a special time to focus on making memories with those you love.
If you feel your relationship with food or your knowledge around nutrition holds you back from hitting your goals during the holiday season, we strongly recommend you book a free consult call to learn more about how nutrition coaching can improve your quality of life.
We are here to support you, and we hope that you have an incredible holiday season!
Happy Holidays, Robyn & Megan