Holiday Nutrition "Challenge" - don't get on this Gain Train!
Next week the holiday season officially kicks off with Thanksgiving weekend. This is a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends, eat some delicious foods, have a few drinks, and shop till you drop.
For most people, it also marks the start of big, warm, snuggly clothes season, which is convenient, because as the weather gets colder, you have the perfect cover to hide all those pounds you’re about to gain. Yes, the vicious cycle of holiday parties is upon us and there is nothing you can do to stop it!
Or is there?
** picture the wheels turning in my head.
So, first off, no... you cannot go into hibernation like some of our furry friends. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I’ll get back to you if I figure it out.
I also don’t recommend blowing off your family, friends, and co-workers every time they invite you out to celebrate the joy of the season. You already get weird looks when you order bunless hamburgers at a restaurant, you may completely forfeit your social life outside of NoCoast if you get all “weird” around your “other” friends and family.
Ok, so the only thing left to do besides completely give in, is to engage in MODERATION! This could be harder than hibernation, but I believe it is possible. What if, instead of eating and drinking everything you see at every party, we set some guidelines to live by during this joyous time of year?
If you’re at a dinner party, give yourself a set amount of food you’re allowed to eat. Split your plate into thirds; fill ⅓ of the plate with meats of your choice and fill the other ⅔ of the plate with delicious veggies. You only get one plate of food, so take the nutrients and leave the crap. I know this is boring, but if you pass guideline #1, then you can reward yourself with guideline #2. Tip from Leah: Look for the nuts! Most of the time your Aunt Sally from the midwest is not going to be cooking her food in quality fats. Random foods are often loaded with trans fats, hydrogenated fats, and too many Omega 6’s. Balance it out with a handful of nuts, especially walnuts, a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Grab that nutcracker and get to work
Desserts are a staple at every holiday party and when half of the guests take it upon themselves to bring one, you find yourself surrounded by enough sugar to induce an instant case of the “diabetes.” This doesn’t mean you have to throw your hands up in the air (and wave them like you just don’t care) and eat them all! If you passed guideline #1, then reward yourself with a palm size serving of your favorite dessert. If you can’t decide on one, two half size servings works too. Tip from Leah: Try not to eat desserts in isolation. Sandwich consumption with fat and protein before and after. This will regulate blood sugar a lot better. If you are going to spike insulin levels, best to slow the process down as much as possible. Protein and fat slow digestion down. Head back to the nutcracker….
Sometimes boozing it up is not only a fun way to celebrate the season, but the only way to tolerate all of these parties. Hopefully you like your family, friends, and co-workers as much as I do and you don’t need to get liquored up to enjoy the festivities. But if for some reason you’re not at the NoCoast holiday party (Dec. 19th) and you don’t want to be an outcast, try to abide by the one drink per hour rule (big gulps don’t count people). ** And yes, there will be alcohol at the NoCoast party, and yes, I do love all of you guys. Tip from Leah: Again avoid consuming in isolation. Many of us have made the mistake of having a cocktail on an empty stomach. Eat while you drink. Stick with the simple things, like wine and beer, to avoid added sugar. Ladies, we are blessed with a complex endocrine system that really doesn’t mesh well with blood sugar dysregulation and alcohol. Check out this article for more tips on how to prep for a night where you know you’ll have a couple drinks. Pair your night with a day of prepping with B vitamins, Vitamin C, and hydration. Fellas, make sure MJ isn’t at the party.
Get to the gym!
To help keep you all on track I’m going to take this a step further. From Sunday, November 29th to Wednesday, December 23rd I’m challenging you all to join me in a “Maintain Your Fitness Challenge.”
We’ll keep it pretty simple; maintain your current weight and get to the gym! No money (unless you want to), no food logs (unless you want to), and no shaming (unless you want me too). Just the opportunity to hold each other accountable during the holidays. We’ll weigh in (check in) once a week and share the pain and suffering we’re all going through. This isn’t about weight loss or performance gains; we have another Challenge coming up in the New Year for that. This is simply about staying on the wagon over the holiday season and not ruining 11 months of hard work at the gym.
If you accept the Challenge, announce to the world or just the NoCoast community (on our group page) that you’re not going to get fat over the holidays!
In all seriousness, have fun this holiday season. Enjoy your friends and family, and celebrate the reason for the season (whatever that truly means to you). This is what the holidays and the parties are all about, not the food and the drinks. Be responsible and be safe.