Functional Fitness 204 Holiday Eating Strategies

[/caption] Ever notice those giant tables full of candy, cookies and cake? They’re at almost every holiday event, and they’re pretty enticing. Then there are the beverages: the creamy ones, the sugary ones, the wine and beer, the gin and whiskey. Those are pretty good too. And then you have the meals, those unbelievable spreads that have so many dishes that you are forced to eat two servings because you couldn’t fit a little of everything on the first plate. The holidays are definitely a time of over-consumption, and it’s no surprise that many New Year’s Resolutions involve getting to the gym, eating less, shaping up, turning it around, losing weight and so on. So how does the clever Functional Fitnesster navigate the holiday season? Well, there are several ways. Unless you are possessed of unbelievable will power—and some are—accept the fact that the holidays might wreak a little havoc on the diet. If you can maintain impeccable eating habits, that’s fantastic, but for most of us, it’s just not possible. There are too many temptations, social engagements and merriment, and life is ultimately too short not to enjoy a really great meal with your friends and family. But that doesn’t mean you have to run up the white flag and give up. Far from it. Here are five ways to manage your health and fitness over the holidays: Strategy 1: Make those special occasions special by staying away from the random acts of eating. You know the ones: a few chocolates from the box in the break room (then a few more), a giant cookie at the mall, a giant frothy beverage from Starbucks. What we’re talking about here is not a special treat but rather those unconscious acts of eating and drinking that don’t really add much to your life. If you want to treat yourself and enjoy a piece of chessecake with your parents, do that. But feel perfectly free to bypass a random truffle sitting in the staff lounge. Strategy 2: Avoid the “Screw-It Moment.” The Screw-It Moment comes when a few candies turns into half a box and you just decide to say “screw it” and make bad choices for the entire holiday season, usually while feeling intensely guilty. You don’t have to beat yourself up about a few treats (see Strategy 1), but it’s certainly a mistake to take out the sweat pants and decide that you’ll fix things “after the holidays.” Do your best most of the time so one or two bad decisions don’t become a bad day that stretches into a bad week that becomes a bad month. Bad days are bumps in the road; bad months are detours and dead ends. Strategy 3: Hang out with your gym friends. We’re all on the same page here: we all want to be fitter. So plan some get-togethers with fit, healthy people, and serve great food and beverages. Host a potluck, try a new healthy dish, prepare a healthy dessert option like fruit. Surround yourself with positive influences and rely on the Functional Fitness 204 community around you. Strategy 4: Don’t be bullied. People always want to justify their own choices, and they’ll drag you down with them. “Have a beer. Come on! Have a beer!” and “It’s just one little chocolate” are just two of the many things you’ll hear from people around you. Some of them are just being affable, but some of them secretly feel judged when you don’t eat their cookies. Either way, choose to eat something because you want to, not because it’s thrust in your face. Have the foresight to choose your treats and the polite courage to refuse the ones you really don’t want. You don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to. Strategy 5: Hit the gym hard. If you work out already, you might have a little bit of leeway in your diet, and a few treats won’t kill you. But if your holiday parties do some damage to the diet and keep you from the gym, you have a problem. That’s a double whammy. Make time to work out. We’re all busy, and the holidays are the busiest time of year, but you can afford time to hit a hard workout. Doing so will make you feel far less guilty about a few cookies and will ensure that you don’t feel like you’re falling behind. Once that happens, it’s even harder to get back to the gym. By maintaining a high activity level, you’re hedging against a few nights where the diet slips. Remember: You control what you eat. Make smart choices, enjoy the holidays and come to the gym regularly! If you have other strategies for smart holiday eating, or healthy recipes, please share them in the comments section!


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