Lots of people ask about strategies for “surviving” the Holidays while dieting. Traditions and tempting treats abound, and everyone seems to be indulging. And you’ve heard the same advice over and over again, right? Like, bring a healthy dish to the party, drink water in between the wine, chew gum while cooking, stay away from the buffet table, and so on.
1) Hire a personal trainer, start a new training program, or sign up for a gym now. October through December are notorious in the fitness industry as being a quiet time, so chances are that trainers and gyms are offering deep discounts. Plus, many offer special Holiday rate packages that will likely go away after the New Year, when the New Year’s Resolution crowd rushes in.
2) Sign up for a local Holiday 5K or 10K race. There are so many of these types of events going on now (e.g.., Turkey Trots) and they tend to be very family friendly, benefit charities (it’s the season for giving, after all), and open to a variety of fitness levels. Training hard for an event will create a nice caloric deficit, just don’t eat it up in double the calories of sweet potato pie.
3) If you can, plan a trip somewhere warm during the winter months where you know you will have to be swimsuit ready. A couple of my own clients are taking these sorts of trips, and they are the ones who seem undeterred during the Holiday season.
4) Before you hit the party, eat a reasonably sized lean protein source. Protein in the tummy will blunt your appetite, so you’ll probably not be tempted by the rich appetizers. Not sure if I can say the same for when desert time hits.
5) For those of you following strict meal programs with “treat meals,” “cheat meals,” structured carb ups, free meals, and so on, have the Holiday party meal fall on the day or meal where you go off strict dieting. Then, schedule a training session or a good workout for the day after.
6) Limit alcohol. 2-3 is plenty, especially if you are aiming for fat loss. You should probably be drinking more water anyway. And have you ever noticed how you tend to make poor nutritional choices when you’ve had too much to drink?
7) Send all the yummy leftovers home with guests and definitely do not take home any pie. Pie IMHO should be considered legal drug, so you don’t want to be caught driving home with it.
8 ) Wear a pair of pants that don’t have much give in the waist band. Or a tight dress that might show if your belly is bulging from too much bean dip.
Recognize that at some point you may just run out of tricks and tips. You might actually WANT to enjoy one great meal with your family, tossing your cares to the wind. And in all honesty, if it IS just one or two meals (Thanksgiving and Christmas) that you intend to indulge in, you should. Two meals can’t do much damage, especially if you aren’t dealing with leftovers. The next day, get right back on track with your fitness goals and eating sensibly.
See you next year!
–Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com
Sumi Singh is an Austin-based personal trainer with nearly 2 decades of experience in fitness. She holds specializations in pre-and post natal fitness, group fitness, and sports nutrition. She’s the author of Stay at Home Strong, a complete workout program for new moms. She’s also an online diet coach, a busy single mom, has set various world, National and state records as a powerlifter, and holds an BSc from Tufts, and a Masters from Duke University.
I like #8. A tight dress does tend to show my belly too much 🙂
In all seriousness though, wearing tight pants definitely does something to make you feel more full with less food. If your stomach has something stopping it from expanding, it makes you think you’re full. Next time you have a cheat meal wear tight pants and notice how quickly you feel full. If you were to then unbutton, you could easily have more without feeling overly full. Moral of the story: no stretchy pants to the AYCE buffet!
Any chance of some photo’s of you in that dress?
Let me work on that, but Sumi looks much better in tight dresses me thinks…
You all are hysterical, I don’t even know where to begin….
Will, there does exist a picture of me in a dress like that, with you. And, Vic in the BBR Member Forum (you are on there, right?) there’s far too many pictures of me and my belly. Or, you could just go to my website, http://www.shailafitness.com
Good article Sumi! I’ve missed reading you! Great advice here, as always
Regarding #4: I’ve been eating a protein shake of about 50 g before every meal lately. This helps me be sure to get my protein requirements in during the day and keeps me from eating crap at my meal, plus I get fuller faster. And like you said, the extra protein also helps to blunt the insulin spike if I do not make good food choices.
So 3-4 of these a day has helped me get into a bit better condition while maintaining my strength. I consider that a win!
Females and smaller guys (I’m 285#) may need less per meal, so tailor it accordingly!
great u are right in all way. during winter we need all these things.
Wow! Some great tips from Sumi to survive the upcoming holidays so you’re not gaining those extra pounds or feeling like crap.
I especially like Sumi’s tip for all the xmas goodies you might have lying around just waiting to be gobbled up by you or the wife. Send those with guests. And to drink plenty of water if you’re going to drink alcohol. The best tip from Sumi I think, is to eat a lean protein before hand to make you feel satisfied, and not craving the goodies so much.
Well even after 9 years I still fit in my pants but that says little about the dress hanging in the closet!