Two Painless Ways to Navigate the Holidays without Gaining Weight

The holidays are in full swing. Everywhere you look there are delectable treats to indulge in and social/family obligations cutting into your gym time.  What in the world is a health-conscious grown adult supposed to do with all this amazing food and merriment? If you have concluded in the past that the holidays are the place where training and diets go to die, fear not here are two tried and true strategies to navigate the holidays intact.

The first strategy that is especially effective is to stop thinking red and green. I mean…, red light/green light. One of the things I have discovered coaching hundreds of people in training and nutrition is that we treat both like a red light or a green light aka stop and go.  This type of binary thinking lands people in trouble when it comes to training and nutrition.  Either I make it to the gym and train an hour OR nothing.  Either I stick to my meal plan OR I go ham on that Christmas ham! 

While it may be difficult to make it to the gym with all the holiday traffic and the added social engagements it is possible to find 15 minutes here and there to take the pooch for a walk or to do a quick calisthenics circuit of push-ups, lunges, Y-T-W iso-holds, and hip bridges.  Get your training in wherever and whenever you can fit it in.  You do not have to be that weird guy at the office doing push-ups at his desk either…. unless you are into that.

When it comes to navigating the holiday food scene the same binary thinking can make your life a real struggle.  Be reasonable. Enjoy all those foods that make their way around once a year, a Christmas cookie will not destroy the progress you have made all year, an entire tray of Christmas cookies will.  A great way to off set the consumption of less than optimal foods and beverages during the holidays is to front load your meals with as many veggies as you can fit on your plate followed by a decent size helping of protein. What if there aren’t any veggies at the party? Bring your own! You be the one to show up with the veggie tray.  There is bound to be someone else health conscious at the party too that will appreciate your contribution.  Finally, if you have been known to drink a cocktail or ten, try spacing them out with water. That means more than what is available in your ice cubes.  You will thank me the next morning.

Another strategy for navigating the holidays is to slow the heck down.  A lot of stress around the holidays is self-induced madness. The holidays are some of the few times a year we get to be around the people that matter the most in our lives.  Cherish those moments.  Slow down and take it in.  We only have one shot to spend time on this spinning rock hurling itself around the sun.  We live in a time where we can get gifts for everyone at the click of a button, don’t waste your time doing something that you can do at your leisure, in the sanctity of your own home. Take the extra time you create to do something meaningful.

Slowing down not only works socially but nutritionally as well. If you have ever done the Virtue Nutrition coaching program you know one of the very first habits is to eat slowly.  This strategy works like magic.  Your meals especially during the holidays are not the place to create more time.  Especially, if you are concerned about your waistline.  Eating slowly drastically cuts down on the amount of food you consume in a sitting.  It’s science. Try making your meals last twenty minutes.  I dare you. You will not be disappointed with the results and trust me, the enjoyment of your food doesn’t increase with the volume of food that you consume.  Slow down and taste your food, try and identify as many different ingredients as possible before taking another bite. 

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so enjoy them.  You don’t have to go crazy abstaining from the festivities in the name of health and fitness.  It is entirely possible, just make sure that you leave some Christmas cookies for Santa, slow down, and don’t get caught up in red light/green light thinking and you can safely enjoy the holidays.

 Merry Christmas everyone. 

Much Love

- Coach Luke and Megan.



Luke Atchley