It’s the most wonderful time of the year….
For others, it’s a stressful, anxiety-inducing time that means lots of calories, lots of pressure, and extra unwanted weight.
Today I’ll give you a few simple strategies that will hopefully reduce some of your nutrition stress, and keep you on track so you don’t look back on the holidays with regret for how you look and feel.
First, if you are going to enjoy holiday foods in excess and not worry about how it may affect your waistline, then ALL the power to you, my friend.
Stop reading here and I hope your holidays are filled with enjoyable food and lovely company.
But for those who want to know a couple tricks that can help them stay close to their pre-holiday weight, read on.
SIMPLE STRATEGY #1: go hungry.
Whoa, what? Be hungry?? I can’t do that!!
Yeah you can. Well, I don’t mean literally starve. But you can go hungry, for a little while, without any real consequences (diabetics aside).
There’s actually some good benefits for short-term hunger.
For one, being hungry is actually kinda important for weight loss.
Huh? Doesn’t that go against all that “eat every 3 hours or your metabolism will crash” advice?
Yep it does. And that’s OK.
Being in a hungry state, short-term, simply means that you aren’t eating enough calories to meet your body’s energy demands.
Meaning, you’re taking in less calories than your body is burning. You’re not eating enough to maintain your current size (weight).
So if you’re looking to lose weight, you don’t want to maintain your current bodyweight anyways.
So that’s a good thing.
How to use the “Go Hungry” strategy:
On days where you have holiday parties or functions, either skip meals or eat smaller meals leading up to your function.
If you skip a couple meals that day, or stretch out your eating times, and eat semi-normally at your party, you are more likely to either stay in a caloric deficit or break-even for the day.
One important thing to remember: Be aware of your hunger levels, and use a 1-10 scale to decide whether it’s time to eat, or wait.
If you ask yourself, “How hungry am I RIGHT NOW?” and your answer is a 6 or less, don’t eat.
But if you think you’re a 7 or higher, than go ahead, have something.
The number scale is a simple and effective way to determine when it’s a good time to eat, without waiting so long that you’ll crush everything in sight.
SIMPLE STRATEGY #2: Just say “No”
Recently, a client of mine told me she was scared of the holidays. Not because of any traumatic experiences from her childhood, or because she was fearful of last-minute shoppers.
She is scared because she doesn’t want to lose her control and stuff her face only to feel remorse from the weight gain when January 3rd rolls around.
You may feel the same as her. Scared, anxious, nervous, or uncomfortable with celebrating the holidays with all the desserts, carb-heavy foods, and alcohol.
So here’s what I want you to keep in mind:
YOU are in control.
YOU are the one who will put food in your own mouth.
YOU are the one responsible for how your body looks and feels after the Christmas tree is taken down.
This sounds blunt, but sometimes you’ll just have to say NO. This is part of what you have to do if you really don’t want to gain excess weight, or feel guilt.
This is part of being a slimmer, healthier, long-term focused person.
I know you want results. But sometimes you have to make some sacrifices, my friend.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying to not enjoy the indulgences of the holidays. I definitely will. But I will eat some good foods, and I will decline others.
All because I am taking responsibility for how I will feel afterwards. And that’s OK.
how to use the "just say no" strategy:
When someone turns to you and offers you another glass of wine, or a second serving of turkey and stuffing, you’ll just have to politely say, “No thanks.” This person may try and urge, and persist, and you may have to use a few choice words to get your point across, but do so.
You'll feel better for not giving in afterwards.
If you don’t want to say no, that's perfectly acceptable. You’ll just have to be OK with what the scale says, or how your pants fit.
Now, speaking of enjoying the indulgences, this brings me to my last tip:
SIMPLE STRATEGY #3: Make yourself a “Snack Budget.”
This will be my preferred tip, and your most enjoyable. A snack budget is just a limit you set for yourself, decided completely by you, for how much of the good stuff you will consume at your party.
There’s no right or wrong. The point is that you are being conscious of what you will face ahead, and you are taking ownership with what you’ll eat, and how much.
Here’s why that’s a good thing:
The snack budget gives you the best of both worlds. You can enjoy some holiday treats, not feel the pressure from others, and still keep things in check so you don’t wake up after Christmas and feel angry with yourself.
how to do the "snack budget" strategy:
Before heading off to your holiday party, think about the choices you'll face upon arrival.
What kinds of drinks will be served? Who is bringing what dish? What are your dessert weak points?
Once you've put some thought into what will be around you, make a decision - again, whatever it is you want it to be - as to what is in your "budget," and what is "overpriced."
Then, once you've spent your budget, you have enjoyed some holiday fun, but put the guilt, decision fatigue, and overwhelm aside. Congrats!
need some holiday help?
Grab your own easy to follow "CALORIE COUNTING DEBUNKED" infographic series. Learn why calorie counting is setting you up for fat loss failure, discover how to automatically know the right portions to eat at every meal, and instantly see what it will require to achieve the body you want.
Print them out or keep them on your phone for reference anytime!
Get them HERE