It’s the Holidays and You’re On a Diet. Now what?

So it’s the holidays and you’ve been dieting your little butt off (literally) up until now. How do you handle this time of year without reversing all of your hard work? Over the last few months while working with my coach, I have reeeally learned about balance and what that really means when you’re trying to live a fit and lean life. I’m going to share with you a few tips that you may not have heard and a little bit of what I have learned myself.

1. Enjoy your holidays! Don’t you daaaare bring your tupperware filled with chicken and brown rice to your one and only Christmas dinner with your family. Especially if you’re not preparing for some competition or photo shoot. Christmas only comes once a year and when you’re 97 and lying on your deathbed, do you want to look back at your life and think “I really should have had that slice of pecan pie on Christmas of 2013…” No. I didn’t think so.

2. But reign it in. If you overindulge at 2-3 holiday parties a week during the month of December and you’re stuffing your face with Christmas cookies at home, you’re going to have to expect a little bit of a reversal in your progress. I’m not saying that overindulging during the holidays is “bad” per se’, but it’s not going to help you move forward with your progress. My tip: choose one or two events to really indulge in and keep your diet tight for the rest of the month. Eat a big meal before you head to your party. Once there, if you’re still hungry, stick to the proteins and veggies, go light on the alcohol (especially that spiked Eggnog!), and avert your eyes from the desserts. Okay, maybe just one….a little one…. But most importantly, remember why you’re at the event. You’re there to share in the holidays with friends and family, not just to pig out on goodies.

3. Don’t be so restrictive! My current diet is actually pretty high in calories and outside of my normal amount of protein, I’m also eating a lot of carbs and fats. I truly think this is helping to keep any cravings at bay and I’m not quite as tempted to indulge in Christmas goodies. If you feel deprived on a regular basis then you might feel tempted to cheat on a regular basis. Design your normal diet around foods you enjoy. This way, when you see that yummy plate of stuffing you don’t get TOO excited about it and just allow yourself one normal serving.

Don't Be a Little Piggy.

Don’t Be a Little Piggy.

4. Weigh yourself. I’m not generally a strong proponent of weighing yourself frequently, but I think that during the holidays a scale can be a good tool to help keep you in check. If you’re weighing yourself regularly and you see that your weight is beginning to creep up and it’s staying up, then it might be time to get your diet a little more under control. Just sayin’…

5. Don’t let one holiday meal creep into the next day…and the day after that…and the day after that… This part can be the hardest. You think you’re doing good. You have fun on Thanksgiving or Christmas and then say to yourself “Well, that was that! And I’m satisfied!” But then…the next day…there are leftovers gazing back at you from the fridge. There’s half a pie sitting on your kitchen counter covered simply by a sheet of aluminum foil, which can easily be shifted away. So you say “meh, a little sliver of pie won’t hurt anyone!” And you cut yourself a little piece. Then for lunch you might think “oh, well, I’ll just substitute my baked sweet potatoes for stuffing! And then I’ll have a little cranberry sauce on the side…oh, and some mashed potatoes too..don’t want them to go bad and all!” This is an example of one fun meal slipping into the next day and possibly the day after that. The ideal plan is to enjoy yourself on Christmas, even if it’s an all day smorgasbord! But the next day, just hop back on your normal diet or plan. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s for the best. Trust me.

So I hope those tips help. I have to remind myself of these things too. I really love food. I love it a lot. But as a relatively small person, I only get to eat so much of it. Especially if it’s really dense in calories. That’s the luck of the draw, I guess. Good luck to those of you trying to get through these holidays without packing on the pounds! It’s a minefield out there this time of year!

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