Do you find you are getting busier now that the holiday season is here? Holiday parties, gift shopping, and seasonal events have begun to suck up our free time, making it even harder to stay on track with our training and nutrition. However, just because this time of the year is inherently busier and more stressful on our wallets, the holiday season doesn't have to be an open invitation to throw your entire routine out the window! Remember that you've worked hard to get to where you are today; it would be a shame to throw it all away.
So, how can you enjoy the holidays without setting yourself too far back? Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of tips to help you stay on track over the holiday season, so when January 1st rolls around you're not scrambling to find the "reset" button. After all, balance is the key to 6S!
1. Plan ahead
Are you travelling for the holidays? Before you leave, think about what options are available for you to workout during your trip. Does the hotel have a gym or is there one nearby? If not, there are so many home workouts to try (and some are even planned for small hotel rooms). If you need inspiration, check out our blog for a variety of travel WODs. Another option is to drop-in to a local CrossFit gym, or try something new (yoga, spinning etc.). Put your functional fitness to use, and grab someone and do something you’ve never tried before!
2. Eat regularly
Eating every 3-4 hours and having a source of protein (20-30 g) at each of these times can help control cravings and prevent you from over-eating or indulging. When life gets busier how can you stick to this? Keep snacks in your bag and desk at work; your favorite protein bar, plain nuts, etc - something easy to bring and quick to eat. Meal prep is another tool that can help keep your nutrition on track during busy times.
Remember: never head to a holiday party on an empty stomach; you are much more likely to over-eat when you are starving. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
3. Balance your plate
Whether you are having a full meal or just appetizers, make sure your plate is at least 1/4 protein and 1/2 veggies. These foods will help to satiate you quicker, which can help prevent indulgence on desserts and heavier foods.
4. Practice mindful eating
If there is one point I want you to take home from this post it is that BALANCE is important and restricting ourselves from entirely “treat” foods is NOT healthy. I completely get it. The holidays are a time for us to unite with our loved ones, and the way we often bond is over food. However, can we practice being more meaningful with the food that we do consume? For each event or gathering you go to, decide on 2 or 3 indulgent foods you want to try. When you try them, slow down and savor the taste and flavor, making every bite count, and stop when you're full.
5. Serve up a healthy alternative
Why not inspire others to eat healthy too? I promise, you will be the star of the holiday ball if you bring a healthier alternative to the party. Be the guest that brings a hearty salad, fresh veggies and dip or maybe a vegetarian entrée. If you are able to contribute to the meal, this can make controlling your own food choices a little easier. Plus, this way you know exactly what is in the dish!
6. Make it fit your macros
If you know you will be attending a holiday dinner, are you structuring the rest of your day around that? If you have a general idea of how many macros (carbs, fats, proteins) you would like to consume that day, perhaps you shift around the composition of your breakfast, lunch and snacks to allow for some extra room for more indulgent foods at dinner. This is quite the opposite of starving yourself all day to allow for a big, glutinous dinner, but rather knowing that you want to enjoy mashed potatoes and a slice of pie then you could plan to have a few less extra carbohydrate and fat sources during the day time.
7. Drink lots of water
Hydrate! Sometimes our thirst cues get mixed up with hunger cues (aka, we may think we feel hungry when we might actually be craving fluids). Aim to have 1 L per 50 lb of body weight of fluids per day, and more if you sweat often and are active.
If you plan to be drinking (alcohol) later in the night, this is especially important. Aside from helping us with energy levels and performance, staying hydrated can help reduce our chances of a nasty hangover and feeling sluggish the next day. Aim to have 1 additional glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
8. Time your training
Put those carb-rich holiday foods to good use! Plan to do your training before your event, so you can enjoy a more relaxed (aka generous) portion of carb rich foods. Why? Because your muscles are more receptive after exercise to put carbohydrates (from your desserts, potatoes, bread, pasta, etc.) into muscle building rather than being stored as fat. However, it would be good to have a small snack post workout to keep your blood sugar levels up and avoid coming to the party starved and ready to eat anything in sight.
Staying on track isn’t always about perfection with your food and training. The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy time with your loved ones. While we all still want to maintain a healthy lifestyle (and you will!), try not to feel guilty about indulging a little. Follow the tips above and you won’t fall far off the path to your goals!
Blog written by : Leigh Merotto
FF6S Nutrition Coach
CrossFit 6S team helping you achieve your fitness goals.