Staying Fit During the Holidays

staying on track during the holidays

When we set out to achieve a health and fitness goal, we get laser-focused on that goal. We make going to the gym a habit, eating healthy a habit, and getting into the Word a daily habit. But when it comes to the Holidays or any social event, we get freaked out. We instantly freeze up and panic at the thought of going into it and losing the progress that you have made already.

But Holidays are NOT scary, and they are NOT something to stress over. In fact, they offer the exact opposite if we approach them in a graceful manner. These are my top tips to conquering the Holidays and coming out on the other side EXACTLY how you went in.

1. Remember that the Holidays are NOT the entire month of November and December. Holidays are just a few days scattered throughout the month. They are opportunities to be with people you love while still enjoying the food you love. We often group the Holidays into more days, even weeks, than they actually are, and that sends us into a panic. So we have to change the focus.

2. I’m sure you already have a day once a week, or maybe a few times a week where you go a little bit more relaxed on your eating without guilt, right? We can approach the holidays the same way. Just one, or a couple of days that things are a little bit more....chill. Not all out crazy, just chill!

3. Being more relaxed on your meals a couple times a month is NOT going to be the end all to your progress. Our bodies are cooler than that! If you are in a deficit (trying to lose fat) you generally have about 300-500 calories to work with before you hit your maintenance (the number of calories your body needs to maintain your CURRENT weight. not losing or gaining any weight) which means a couple extra cookies at dinner is not going to do any type of long-term damage!

This is how the body works: Let’s say my body currently needs around 2000 calories to MAINTAIN its weight. But because I want to lose fat, I decide to decrease my calories to around 1700. Thanksgiving comes, and I go into knowing that I am going to be mindful throughout the day leading up to that meal with my family. I choose to eat a pretty protein packed breakfast, knowing once I get to my family's for dinner I will want carb heavy things like dessert and bread. For lunch, I choose to have a light salad with some chicken and veggies because I still want to fuel myself, but I also want to make sure I go into the dinner having an appetite! I get to dinner and between breakfast and lunch I have eaten a total of 1000 calories, leaving me 700 calories for dinner if I still want to hit my deficit amount, or 1000 calories to hit my maintenance amount. EITHER WAY, IF I AM NOT GOING TO GAIN FAT because I chose to be smart in the morning and at lunch! Now, this is not me telling you that you should track your intake during holidays, because that is my 4th tip. Don't try to calculate your calories on holidays (unless you have to/Really want to), But this is to simply show you that you can still make awesome decisions leading up to that meal without completely going way over on anything!

4. As I said, this tip is to not try to track anything or count anything. That’s too stressful in my opinion and one day/meal not accounted for is going to be completely fine!

5. You don't have to eat EVERYTHING! It’s easy to go into these situations feeling like we have to have huge portions of all of the things because your grandma is pushing you to eat more of her green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Know that YOU are in control of the food you choose, and the amounts that you choose! My tactic, figure out what I really DO want to eat, and have a little bit of each of them...not an entire plate full of each one. That way you get to enjoy all of the things without walking away from it having to unbutton your pants and take a nap.

6. DONT STRESS! What we often do with Holidays is stress about the food we are going to eat or whether or not we are going to lose progress from the decisions that we make. So my tip here is to go into with stress-free. The more you stress, the more you develop a negative mindset around holidays/social situations and that’s NOT what we want!

7. Stay away from the scale for a little bit. Sometimes, even though you haven't actually gained fat over the holiday, the scale might reflect a slight rise. This is because of a lot of different factors such as sodium intake, food volume, what time of night that you are compared to when you are weighing the next morning...etc. It’s best to just to stay away from it for a little bit and let your body adjust on its own!

8. Move! My favorite thing to do during the holidays/around the holidays is to get in extra activity! Not because I am punishing myself for the food that I want to eat at these events, but because I know I won't get a lot of activity during them, and movement makes me feel good! Especially if you are traveling for these events, getting in some morning movement by walking outside for a little while or getting in a quick workout before you are in the car can really help you FEEL better going into these events!  

The biggest takeaway: The holidays are only a few days out of the year and you should feel confident going into them knowing that you are in complete control and you will NOT lose progress if you choose moderation, and living in the moments with family and friends.

Happy Holiday Friends

- Lexie Thiery

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