By Myprotein Writer |
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again – the leaves have changed colours, the snow is starting to fall, sweaters are emerging from their closets and the stereotypical gym bros are beginning their winter bulks.
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the season with memorable stories and delicious meals. Oh, ho ho those holiday meals! Whether it be your grandmother’s Christmas cake, those delicious cookies that (should) be for Santa Clause or the oh-so-famous pumpkin spice latte, the winter holiday seasons are stuffed like a stocking with opportunities for people to taint their diets.
But you’re a fitness enthusiast…and you’ve worked too hard for that snow-melting physique. Fortunately, this article will guide you in making sure your diet stay’s on the “Nice List” this year!
#1 Trying The “No” Tactic… Hear Me Out
If you have a willpower stronger than Santa’s belt, this tactic is for you!
Some people, after having just one bite of some sugary goodness, often find themselves cascading down a subsequent avalanche of diet mistakes. Therefore, it may prove beneficial to abstain from tasty treats altogether.
Although it may be tempting to do otherwise, the best way to avoid unhealthy foods during the holidays is to just say “no!” If you are still hungry, there are plenty of other healthier foods to consume instead – more turkey or ham, nutritious vegetables, sweet potatoes or simply drinking a cup of tea or coffee after your meal will be sure to satiate you for the remainder of the evening.
Make sure to always carry around your favourite sweet snacks – throw some protein brownies in your bag, or make some home-made snacks to nibble on as soon as the temptation arises – if you know you’ll be triggering a sugar episode otherwise!
#2 Boost That Workout Motivation: Plan Your Goals
What a surprise! But in all seriousness, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean that you should slack on your training regimen.
It is crucial for an athlete to stay committed to their program year-round, for skipping a workout out of laziness can lead to more unhealthy decisions to come – a surefire way to earn your place on the “Naughty List.”
That being said, when you workout, you burn calories – and that’s science. Food contains calories, and typically, excess food in the form of sweets and beverages are consumed around the holidays.
If you maintain your workout schedule during the holiday season, your body will burn more calories in the process and in turn require more calories in order to properly recover. This will allow you to fit in a few of those candy canes or cookies with your diet without going overboard on your daily calories.
#3 Budget Your Calories
Everyone has a daily allotment of calories that they need in order to...stay alive.
When excess calories are consumed, this typically results in undesired weight gain. Unfortunately, it is quite common for people to over-eat during their seasonal holiday meals. Therefore, you can be pro-active and plan accordingly!
Here’s how to do it:
If you know that you will be eating a hefty meal later in the evening or sometime the next day, plan ahead and cut back on your caloric consumption up until the time of that meal. That way, because you ate less calories in the hours prior to your festive feast, you can compensate with eating more calories during that special meal. Thus, at the end of the day you will remain within a general net balance of your consumed calories, and virtually no weight gain will occur!
✓ Alternatively, if you didn’t plan ahead and ate a large holiday meal in addition to your regular diet, you can always cut back on your consumed calories the day after you overeat – this creates a net caloric balance between two days.
#4 Cook Healthy Alternatives
Just for you kitchen-savvy individuals: if you can force yourself to pass on the festive desserts yet still want a taste of the season, cooking healthier alternatives is the way to go!
Once you get creative in the kitchen, the opportunities are endless when it comes to making your holiday meals more macro-friendly! Here are just a handful of the (many) ways to lower the calories or increase the nutritional value of your favorite holiday foods.
✓ Using a zero-calorie sweetener (like Splenda® or stevia) or sugar-free syrups in your baked goods instead of using calorie-laden sugars.
✓ Adding protein powder to a home-made cakes or treats (you’ll get an extra bang for your buck with the additional protein!)
✓ Baking any sort of pie without the crust.
✓ Baking sweet potatoes with cinnamon and zero-calorie sweeteners instead of butter, brown sugar and marshmallows.
✓ Making your own whole-grain/whole-wheat stuffing instead of using the popular pre-made boxed brands of stuffing.
Regardless of the option(s) you choose, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that they all taste equally as good as their unhealthy counterparts. In addition, you can enjoy these foods guilt-free and know that you’re doing your body well!
#5 Treat Yourself – Even If It Means Planning The Treat!
The holidays only come once a year, after all! ‘Tis the season for family, friends, and giving, so why not give yourself a little treat? – you’ve probably earned it, anyways!
Your training will not suffer in the gym, your gains will not instantly become hidden behind a thick layer of bodyfat, you’ll feel more comfortable among your dining companions, and the leeway you give yourself will grant a substantial amount of psychological relief from adhering to your regimentally-clean diet.
The key is to practice moderation and not let one cookie or slice of pie lead to a full-fledge cheat day. So go ahead, treat yourself, and be jolly this season!
Take Home Message
When the holiday season rolls around, it is common for people to let their diets loose and overindulge in a plethora of holiday goodies; when this happens, these people begin to be mistaken for Santa Claus himself! But you’re a fitness enthusiast, and you’ve worked too hard to let a few holiday meals hinder your progress!
Now you know some tips and tricks to keeping your body lean and mean this holiday season – so get out there, enjoy the holidays, and FUEL YOUR AMBITION to stay show-ho-ho ready!