Okay, it”™s not as if another set of tips on surviving the holidays is a pressing need, but hey. The holidays keep showing up every year, and it”™s easy to fall into familiar traps. Here are some practical tips for your participants.
Obviously, the problem lies less in the 3 holidays themselves and more in the weeks of partying, socializing, and grazing between Thanksgiving and New Year”™s.
- Workout Survival
Don”™t skip workouts. They”™re a spot of sanity in a crazy time, and can help you commit to eating right.
First thing in the morning is often best. No matter what happens the rest of the day, it”™s done.
If you”™re truly too busy for a class, don”™t delay and hope for the time to take one. That can lead to doing nothing. Instead, aim for Better Than Nothing (BTN).
BTN means short duration — but it only works with high intensity. Here”™s a sample 10-minute workout.
Warm up for 3 minutes: first minute easy, second minute a little harder, third minute a little harder.
Then start intervals — say, 30 seconds very hard, followed by 30 seconds easy. Repeat the pattern for the rest of your workout. Those 7 intervals can, and will, be physiologically meaningful.
- Office Survival
This is pretty obvious. Find out where the temptations lurk. Avoid them. Eat lunch elsewhere. Bring water, coffee, tea to your desk — to avoid seeing (and eating) foods that will make you feel crummy later.
- Party Survival
If there”™s a party later that day, eat as usual. Skipping meals is a binge blowout waiting to happen.
- Buffet Survival
Eat before you go. At least have 3 ounces of a protein food, or a scoop of unsweetened protein powder.
At the buffet, place a full serving of protein on your plate. Fill half the plate with vegetables. Save any splurge calories for unique holiday foods. Skip ordinary foods you can have anytime.
Then step away from the buffet table!
When eating the meal, fill up on protein and vegetables first. Then, and only then, eat the other foods you”™ve taken.
- Meal Control As Survival
Make or bring healthful dishes: vegetable platters; big, varied salads; a fruit and nut tray for dessert.
Modify recipes all month. Cut butter and/or sugar in half (no one will notice). Use chicken broth in potatoes instead of milk or cream. Don”™t glaze foods. The sugar in the glaze can and will increase your appetite — for the wrong kind of foods.
- Post-Meal Survival
Take a walk immediately after dinner. Don”™t wait — it might not happen. It”™s extra exercise and will also prevent second helpings you don”™t need.
Recruit a friend. “Let”™s walk before we dive into those desserts,” might be just what your friend needs to hear.
When you return, stay on your feet. Help with clearing dishes, or stand and socialize.
- All-or-Nothing Survival
An all-or-nothing mindset will sabotage you. Get back on track immediately — at the next meal. Don”™t wait till the next day — and certainly not till the following Monday.
- Leftover Survival
Don”™t keep leftovers at home. Give them away. Throw away troublesome “trigger” foods.
Don”™t take leftovers home from a dinner. If you”™re pushed to do so, find a trashcan on the way home and toss them. Set yourself up to win.
- Alcohol Survival
Alcohol can make or break your holiday goals. Avoid it when possible. The brain chemistry changes will increase your appetite — for the most troublesome foods.
If you do drink, alternate a glass of your beverage with a glass of sparkling water. If sparkling water”™s not available, drink regular water. Keep alternating as long as you”™re drinking.
- Logging as Survival
Log your food — all of it! If you splurge, write it down and keep logging.
Clients tend to stop logging when they”™ve gone off the grid, but that”™s self-sabotage: “I”™m not tracking, so I can eat anything.” It”™s the all-or-nothing mindset again.
Log every holiday eating day, no matter what. You”™ll eat less.
You might even want to keep a log all month. How great to be ahead of the game on New Year”™s Day!
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