For those focused on their body image, body obsessed or even normal dieters, the holiday period from the end of spring through till the end of summer… can be a battle field.
End of year parties, end of work parties, Christmas parties, Halloween, Boxing Day, NYE, NYD… shall I continue?
There are many ways to dodge the mines and drones! I mean you can always become a social recluse... you know the strategy...
Can’t control your food at parties? Simply skip all of them. While this might avoid food issues... is it honestly the best way? That won’t do anything for your relationships and mental health.
So You Want to Have Your Cake & Eat it Too?
I’ll assume that you actually want to keep a lid on weight / fat gains during this time period as well?
You don’t want to lose control of your decision making skills and feel weak at the display in front of you. But then you don’t want it to play on your mind feeling like you restricted too much, missed out, and now want to just binge on everything you see,
Find the middle road!
Have your plan ahead of time, play it through and through and ensure you chose the path you are happy with. The path that gives you the best of both worlds. So how do you do this?
1. Pick your battles wisely
You can't go out partying every second day or weekend and expect no negative consequences. Pick the events you thoroughly want to enjoy the memories of and the company you are with. Then once you have these set, PLAN AHEAD and bank your calories for it so you are still in caloric maintenance by the end of the week or even end of the month so at least you are on even ground and not sporting that extra 5kg of fat.
Consider Intermittent Fasting on the Day of the Event OR even do a short mini-cut in the days before the event and 1-2 lower calorie days post event.
PLAN IN ADVANCE. PLAN PLAN PLAN AND BE SURE! 80% precise is better than none at all...
2. Make better bad choices
Don’t just say, oh this is a one off I can eat junk so I’m going to make it count because I cant do it again – and then end up blowing 5000 PLUS odd calories in one sitting and then get mad sugar withdrawals the day after so that it drags on… or you end up feeling sick and guilty and embarking the binge restrict cycle.
Look at what is on offer, weigh up the options and make the best 'bad choice' you can.
LIMIT PORTIONS and BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. CHEW YOUR FOOD, DRINK YOUR WATER and SAVOUR EVERY SINGLE BITE!
Oh and did I say… BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT.
Educate yourself on the caloric values of the items you know will be available and pick the lower fat items… fill your plate with nutrient dense stuff and not the caloric dense foods so that you feel satisfied on the right things to allow just enough room to enjoy the desserts you want to TASTE…
Then move on and enjoy the event for what it is for….Socialising & Having Fun!!
3. Don't fall off your Training Wagon! Don't get lazy!
Keep up your training, keep up the volume work where you expend more energy and more glycogen and fat supply is demanded to the working muscles.
Full body routines, metcon workouts… you get the jist.
Use the extra fuel to PUSH YOUR STRENGTH and really put the best work you can into the sessions, however, DO NOT treat the sessions as something to make you ‘DESERVE’ this or that….
You CANNOT equate food calories to that expended in training! No, you CANNOT OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET!
4. Always consume the healthier option first
As I already said, fill up on the nutritious stuff (high protein, vegetables) and then hit the desserts you want most for the taste.
DO NOT go to the party starving! You will find even fingers appealing when you're hungry.
5. Stay off the scale and away from self-obsessing in the mirror
YES YOU ARE GOING TO LOOK WATERY AND HEAVIER! You have had extra sodium and you probably have 1–2 poops left in you waiting for the optimal environment to get your digestion happening as usual too.
You have also eaten extra carbs and with every gram of additional carbs, you consume you also store 3 grams of water….
So yeah… stop that guilt trip, what you're experiencing is normal!
And that's it... my 5 top tips for ensuring you do not blow the caloric bank during the festive season! But just in case you forgot the primary message... Plan it in and be PREPARED!