It happens every year without fail.
No, we’re not talking about taxes. We’re talking about the time of year when the temperatures get a bit chilly, the family comes together, and the food & wine flow like the Bacchanalia -- the holidays.
Truth be told, the holidays are a time for festivities, fun, and fellowship, and they’re also a time when many of us eschew our healthy habits, ultimately resulting in lower physical fitness, higher fat gain, and the inevitable New Year’s resolution to lose weight and improve our eating/exercise habits.
But, what if you didn’t have to embark on that vicious cycle this year?
What if you could enjoy the holidays without the guilt, stress, or fat gain of years past?
It’s entirely possible to accomplish if you enter the holidays with the right mindset and plan of action.
Here are 5 tips for eating around the holidays.
#1 Have a Plan
The old saying goes “failure to plan is planning to fail,” and it rings true in countless aspects of life, including weight loss and eating (surviving) the holidays.
Quite simply, many individuals don’t have a plan for how to handle holiday feasts and get-togethers. They take a laissez-faire approach (which can be fine for some individuals, but not everyone), and this leads to skipped workouts, over eating, and fat gain.
The first (and possibly most important) tip for eating around the holidays is to actually commit to a plan of action. The particular plan will vary from one individual to another, but actually having a plan will help you navigate the nutritional pitfalls and landmines that await with every passing day of the holiday season.
Plans don’t have to be complicated either. It could be as simple as remembering to log everything you eat during the day (even on major holidays) in your 1UP Fitness App. This way, no matter what you eat, you have a rough idea of overall calorie intake, and you can determine whether or not you’re staying on track with your fitness and physique goals.
#2 It’s OK to say No (Thank You)
Holidays are a time for abundance. This means there will be lots (and lots) of different food and drink options presented to you on multiple occasions. Something to keep in mind is that just because it’s available does not necessarily mean you “have” to indulge.
Some options just aren’t worth the calories.
For instance, everyone might be raving about Aunt Millie’s hashbrown casserole or Uncle Joe’s potato salad. But, if you don’t like those foods, then don’t force yourself to eat them because everyone else is.
Given the abundance of the holidays, take a moment to be judicious and particular about which foods and beverages you’ll enjoy. This will help avoid overindulging and keeping you on track with your health and fitness goals.
If you’re looking for added support keeping hunger and cravings in check, you can also take a serving of 1UP Appetite Suppressant before heading out, which supports increased fullness for longer periods of time as well as better mood and healthy blood sugar.
#3 Protein is Your Friend
No matter what type of party or social gathering you find yourself at, there’s bound to be some type of protein available, be it a honey-baked ham, smoked turkey, or roast beast. Heck, even deviled eggs can be considered a protein -- remember that egg whites (the serving vehicles for the yummy filling) is pure protein!
Now, you might be wondering why protein is your “friend.”
Quite simply, protein is the most satiating macronutrient, which means it helps to fill you up and thereby less likely to overeat. It also supplies your muscles with the essential amino acids (including BCAAs) they need to recover, repair and grow.
And, to top it off, protein also has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fats (which are in abundance around the holidays). This means that your body expends more energy (i.e. burns more calories) digesting protein-heavy foods than it does carbs or fats.
If you’re not sure that there will be a protein-focused option available at the gathering that you’re attending, then you can always have a protein shake before heading out. This protein pre-load helps get an influx of amino acids into your bloodstream, and research has also shown that having a protein shake before eating helps reduce overall calorie intake.
#4 Stay Active
During the holidays, the temperatures get colder outside, which leads many of us to bundle up and stay indoors. This contributes to an overall lower energy expenditure (and coupled with higher calorie intakes) leads to weight gain.
While you may not be able to partake in as many outdoor physical activities during the holidays, still make it a goal each day to remain active. This could be in the form of doing different forms of indoor cardio (treadmill, stationary bike, bodyweight circuits) as opposed to your outdoor cardio activities (walks, hikes, etc.).
If you’re stuck in a rut and looking for other ways to stay fit indoors during the holiday season, you can also reach out to our private group when you enter our transformation challenge. There you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share a common goal to get healthy and live their best life ever.
Also, remember that even brief 5-to-10 minutes bouts of physical activity can help increase overall calorie burning during the day, which can help you keep on track with your weight loss/maintenance goals.
One example of a bodyweight circuit that you can do anywhere is to do 30 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, and 30 bodyweight squats. Repeat that circuit as many times as you can for as long as you have time for, and you’ll be amazed at the fat-burning and muscle-building effects you can generate in just a brief amount of time!
#5 Get Your ZZZZZ’s
Let’s face it, the holidays means more parties, more going out, and staying up later for many of us, which also has the not so pleasant effect of cutting back on sleep.
Sleep deprivation can make it harder to manage your cravings, mood, and stress levels. Moreover, when you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to eat more (and gravitate to) high-fat, high-sugar food.
Lack of sleep also reduced motivation and desire to exercise. This provides a two-pronged approach for fat gain due to increased calorie intake and lower daily energy expenditure from lack of physical activity.
We understand that the holidays are a time to relax, unwind, and set aside more time for social gatherings. Still, make it your mission to get 7 to 8 hours per night of quality sleep.
If you need help getting quality sleep each night, it can be helpful to maintain a consistent bedtime, keep your room cool & dark, and limit blue-light exposure at least 2 hours before bed. You can also invest in a premium-quality nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, such as 1UP Beauty Dream or Recharge PM, which contains natural ingredients that promote feelings of calm and relaxation without leaving you feeling groggy in the morning.
- Tahavorgar A, Vafa M, Shidfar F, Gohari M, Heydari I. Whey protein preloads are more beneficial than soy protein preloads in regulating appetite, calorie intake, anthropometry, and body composition of overweight and obese men. Nutr Res. 2014 Oct;34(10):856-61. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.08.015. Epub 2014 Sep 2. Erratum in: Nutr Res. 2015 Nov;35(11):1028-9. PMID: 25277886.