Its that time of year where most of us get together with our families and eat obscene amounts of butter, carbs, and sugar laden foods or deserts made by our loved ones. And no one wants to be that guy or gal that shows up and says how he/she can’t eat anything because of a diet.
So here are some tips to help you stay on your diet and still be able to enjoy all that awesome food you are going to have in front of you this time of year.
Focus on Weekly calories as opposed to Daily calories
- Assuming that you are going to eat a full 2,000 calories more on said holiday than you normally would, then for the 4 days leading to the start of the holiday, drop your daily caloric intake by 500. By doing this, even if you go completely overboard on the day itself, you will have put yourself in a caloric deficit, and depleted a good deal of extra muscle glycogen. Depending on how often you work out, this might even facilitate more of the calories and carbs from your binge eating being stored preferentially as energy in your muscles rather than fat.
- Earlier on that day, fill up on as much green vegetables as you possibly can and arrive full. This will mitigate your appetite as much as possible going in and make it that much easier to stay away from that extra piece of pie that might be calling out to you.
During the Holiday
- Avoid snacks and other foods you see that you can have at any time of year and
focus not he things that you only get at these special events. It doesn’t make much sense to jeopardize your progress on something as common as the bowl of pretzel sticks that was left out for everyone to nibble before the real dinner is served
- During the meal, try and eat as much of the meat dishes as you can (roast beef, turkey, pot roast, etc.) Protein, even if its from a very fat-heavy source has a very high satiety index, which will prevent you taking in too many carbs later on in the meal, reducing the possible damage (diet-wise) by a great deal.
The Post-meal Compensation
- Keep in mind that if you weigh yourself the morning after the large majority of the ‘morning after’ weight gain will be from water weight and not actual fat storage. All that sodium and carbohydrates have a tendency to draw in a lot of water with it. If anything, this is an awesome day to head to the gym and break some PRs!
- The compensation tactics at this stage are very much like what was recommended for the preparation. Lower your calories for the few days after. Now this doesn’t mean starving yourself and doing 4 hours of cardio to try and compensate. Just a moderate decrease in your intake, and you’ll be right back on track in no time!