Almost EVERY national holiday has some type of food hype surrounding it. Think about it.. 4th of July? BBQ’s and casseroles. Labor Day? More burgers. Valentine’s Day? Chocolate and candy. Thanksgiving.. don’t even get me started on how this holiday is HARDLY about what we’re thankful for–unless you’re thankful for turkey and mom’s countless traditional side dishes. And of course, now Christmas.. a free for all of anything and everything! I’m not exaggerating when I say I could put away some CALS around any holiday. So here are a few thoughts to keep you on track, while still ENJOYING yourself this time of year!!
First and foremost, let me remind you.. I am more about BALANCE than perfection, ENJOYING over restricting and being PRESENT over being preoccupied about calories. So, hopefully this is a note of encouragement and help, rather that a list of do’s and don’ts regarding food. Eat intuitively, laugh vigorously and smile obsessively and balance and joy will follow.
Here are a few quick tips
1)Avoid foods that look “smothered.” Whether it’s cheese, Alfredo sauce, butter or deep fried, the amounts of fat on top of that much needed protein just turned your lean protein option into a ridiculous fat bomb. Be cautious and look for plain, grilled options.
2) Don’t assume a salad is always a healthier option. Trendy salad making these days consists of tons of nuts, seeds, cheeses, eggs, and avocados (not to mention the dressing!) I’m always surprised when I read a menu and the list of items on a salads. Most contain 3-4 different types of fats which can EASILY put your salad in the range of 30-40 grams of fat. That’s my entire day! Just because they may be “good” fats, they still count as calories (more calorie dense than carbs and protein). Choose one fat to add to your salad and be moderate. 1-2 tablespoons of dressing is plenty. You can also get dressing on the side, dip your fork in the dressing first and then stab at the salad. This will prevent you from over saturating those leafy greens. Beef up your salad with other veggies and even fruit!
3) Stay hydrated, but not with egg nog (I can’t even keep a straight face with that one). Be aware of your fluids that contain calories. It’s easy to load up on calories with sugary (or alcoholic) drinks. If you LOVE soda, consider trying LaCroix to get your fizzy fix. If you love Gatorade, Powerade, RockStars or RedBull for energy, consider trying a natural energy drink (my favorite is ADVOCARE SPARK!) It’s a blend of vitamins to aid with mental focus and energy!! Perfect for moms, or ANYONE who works, or anyone who needs to wake up and live. 🙂 Also, check out my Starbucks swaps for some lower calorie options for the nights you are out enjoying lights and caroling! (ok, maybe that’s just me).
4) Don’t skip the dessert. Wait, what? You heard me right. There’s a time and a place to enjoy dessert and maybe it’s not everyday. BUT, if you tell yourself you CAN’T have something, it will be ALL YOU WANT! You will fight it and fight it all week until you can’t fight it anymore and then cave and maybe even binge. Just allow yourself the treats and enjoy in moderation. Maybe it means splitting a portion in half with a friend (a great and literal way to “cut calories”).
5) Don’t blow it all day everyday for 2 straight weeks. This may be an obvious one, but I used to be an “all in” or “all out” type. If I was in, I would make great choices and feel SUPER guilty if I cheated with something “off the plan.” This is why macro tracking changed my life! There is NOTHING “off plan.” Knowing that I can fit a dessert into EVERYDAY of the holidays gives me freedom, but I also can’t be a dummy from the time I wake up in the morning. If I’m going to start my day with a cinnamon roll, I’m going to enjoy it.. but I’m also going to be fairly moderate and reasonable for the rest of the day so I don’t go OVER my total daily expenditure of calories. I could also choose to be reasonable throughout the day with my choices, knowing that I am saving 15g fat and 40g carbs for that cinnamon roll for dessert after dinner. Either way, your body will process it the same.
6) Some days, you can throw macro tracking out the window. This is a RARE occasion for me because tracking has become such second nature over the past year. If you choose to avoid tracking macros for a day or two, just try to stay within your CALORIE limit. That way, you are only tracking ONE element, rather than THREE with considering your carb, fat and protein intake. While you are giving yourself a rest on bettering your composition, you will at least maintain your current weight and not GAIN over the holiday season. Keep in mind too.. if you do happen to go over your calorie limit for 1, 3, or 10 days consecutively, just know that if you are quick to get back on track, it will be just as quick to come back to your usual weight. The moral of this story is.. don’t stress!! ENJOY the holidays and be moderate about your choices and active whenever possible!