How Do You Hold A Proper Diet Through The Holidays?

How do you hold a proper diet through the holidays? Find out what other people from the message boards think...

TOPIC: How do you hold a proper diet through the holidays?

The Question:

The holidays can be tough on your physique. When there are tons of candy, eggnog, and homemade pie right in your face, it's hard to resist.

How can someone follow a proper diet throughout the holidays?

What are the foods you want to avoid? Describe in detail what foods would be good to have during the holidays? Why?

What is the best way (if any) to use junk food as an advantage?

Bonus Question: Do you purposely bulk or cut during the holidays? Why or why not? What are the benefits to it?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ for more info.

1st Place - perldog007
How Can Someone Follow A Proper Diet Throughout The Holidays?

Let's consider some diverse approaches. You have heard it a million times before, so once more probably won't result in your demise: Everybody is different. The three methods presented here should provide you with a starting point for your own unique strategy.

The "Richard Baldwin Method"

Richard Baldwin We know that writer Richard Baldwin is tough when it comes to his holiday diet. According to Diane, his big holiday indulgence is a little cranberry sauce1. Approach one shall be designated the "Richard Baldwin method".

This is a hard man folks, and his results cannot be refuted. Looking at his pictures leaves no doubt. Richard Baldwin keeps his diet clean at all times and stays in great shape without cardio. His approach could be summed up as, "what holiday?" For body builders and others like Mr. Baldwin, a celebration is no reason to destroy the temple of their body.

I can think of a million objections to the Richard Baldwin approach. I cannot argue with the results. Richard looks great and the discipline required for this cannot be isolated to diet. This kind of dedication has to carry over to other areas of life and sport.

The Zig-Zag Method

Tom Venuto Tom Venuto's "Burn the fat, Feed the muscle" is one of my favorite diet books. Using his zig-zag approach your respondent lost forty pounds of fat and put on about ten pounds of muscle (1/2 inch gained on biceps flexed) in less than four months. The zig-zag approach pays some homage to our evolution and the circadian cycle.

Humans have not had a steady supply of food for very long in our evolutionary history. In the sixties, when this writer was a lad and my parents were professional actors, I encountered all sorts of starving artists who often went without food. The situation in that cash-strapped community probably hasn't changed much. In the great depression many did not get daily bread.

The point of all this nostalgic rambling is to illustrate that a steady supply of food has not been the norm during human evolution. Our bodies evolved on feast or famine. We ate after a good harvest or hunt, and listened to growling bellies when times were tough. The zig-zag method of cycling high and low calories exploits this fact.

By alternating high and low calorie days we prime the hormones to burn fat and feed muscle. Everyone who has been on a calorie restricted diet knows that weight loss will be dramatic at first. For a short time you will feel energized and vital as the pounds drop off. Then you will hit a plateau as your metabolism lowers your burn rate. Some serious muscle can be lost this way. Fat loss slows after about fourteen days on this type of program.

Conversely, anybody who has been on a serious post season binge has seen the other side. You feel great and put on some muscle for about two weeks. The period of calorie restriction primed your anabolic pump to put out some serious hormones.

When you overate you gave your body what it needed to make the hormones and the muscles. This effect was diminished after a short time and your body started to put on fat.

By alternating between high and low calorie days you can take advantage of these hormonal cycles. Tom recommends staying low calorie for no more than three days. Most folks can diet for three days.

Biorhythms: How They Can Control Bodybuilding Success Biorhythms: How They Can Control Bodybuilding Success.
Devices we cannot check, but which have implications in terms of how our lives are governed, are our internal biological clocks. These clocks signal various physiological changes that take place in our body.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Let's say your maintenance calorie level is 2800 calories per day. Granny puts on a mean feast and you want to have around 6000 calories on turkey day. 2200 calories per day three days before and three days after will keep you on the money. This method lets you stay lean while uncle Fred just keeps on getting fatter.

The "Burn the fat, Feed the Muscle" zig-zag method lets you turn holiday feasting into a vital part of your program. Zig-Zag can be used for bulking as well. A couple of low calorie days after three high calorie days keeps fat gain to a minimum. As long as your aggregate calories are above maintenance or below you will lose or gain accordingly.

The "Warrior Diet"

Purchase at For most bodybuilders, the above methods will hold more appeal than the next method. Looking around the discussion boards, not everybody who comes to is looking to get into posing shape. Some of us are overweight and are first trying to get into passable shape. Those of us in that category might be looking at everything that can help.

A very interesting article is Mike Mahler's interview with Ori Hofmekler. Ori's book was also a great read. Paying homage to evolution, circadian rhythms, romanticism, and the ideal of the warrior instinct, the "Warrior Diet" is fascinating as a concept. This book will challenge your core beliefs.

The Warrior Diet is basically undereating during the day, and feasting at night. When underfeeding, the body eliminates waste. Underfeeding stabilizes insulin and primes the hormones for protein efficiency and maximal uptake. This is like doing a "zig-zag" mini cycle every day.

Ori tells us that alternating high and low carb days can be a good idea. The book tells you what you can eat during the day, and gives you a good order for consuming various foods during the evening feast.

The Warrior Diet seems custom made for getting through the holidays. Under this plan you fast or under eat during the day, do your workout in the evening, and then relax with a big meal. Perfect for the holidays. Before and after the days of meals with high carbs, you would go low carb.

Conversation With A Modern-Day Warrior : The Warrior Diet! The Warrior Diet!
Are you sick of so-called miracle diets? With the Warrior Diet you will eat lighter during the day and feast at night - you will reap maximum benefits and enjoy food again!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Many bodybuilders will not go with this plan, and Ori admits that he is not a body builder and doesn't think that it is the best plan for optimal mass. For those who are here to lose a significant amount of fat, it may be worth looking into. The plan is very flexible and gives you something most diets don't, freedom. If you like to read, the book is worth the price.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. All three of these men are past the hormonal advantages of youth, and they all look great.

What Are The Foods You Want To Avoid? Describe In Detail What Foods Would Be Good To Have During The Holidays? Why?

The fundamentals apply here as is usually the case. Unhealthy trans fats and highly refined carbs would be at the top of the list to avoid. This is where the holidays get us into trouble.

Many otherwise wholesome foods are made deadly with traditional recipes. Our beloved sweet potatoes are smothered in melted marshmallows. Marshmallows are no longer made from the mallow plant, modern versions are pure sugar. Green beans, another body building staple, are great until you drown them in cream of mushroom soup concentrate and top them with French fried onions.

Gravies thickened with a roux are a double whammy of fat and refined carbs. The desserts of the season tend to be laden with refined carbs in the form of sugar. Holiday candies should be limited. Alcoholic beverages are another temptation. Abstain if you cannot restrain.

What Is Roux?
Roux is a cooked mixture of flour and fat used as a thickening agent in a soup or a sauce.

The above should be avoided because they will detract from your program. Some saturated fat and protein are nothing to run from. We need them to produce testosterone.

The rule of thumb does not change for the holidays. Any whole foods, fresh salad, and foods without added fat or sugar should be the first choice.

If you are getting into the kitchen you can exercise some control. Stuffing with whole wheat bread. Broth with the fat skimmed off can be thickened with corn starch or arrow root for gravy. Steamed vegetables can be colorful and healthy eye appeal on your platter. Websites for diabetics have some interesting low glycemic index recipes for the holidays.

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If not cooking, look for the foods closest to the natural state. No different from any other day. I would be looking for fowl or roast before a processed ham. Regular green beans, roasted potatoes, salad.

Sticking to your basics as much as possible will minimize any damage. I am going for lots of turkey, skipping dressing and gravy, and looking for side dishes that haven't been drowned in sugar and added fat. For egg nog, my post workout shakes will be 1% milk with egg nog flavored Muscle Milk.

On the holidays themselves, I may have a small dessert if there is a low sugar version available. I will avoid the second slice with coffee after and the leftovers.

Surviving The Holiday Fat Attack. Surviving The Holiday Fat Attack.
This year take these preventive measures to strike back and evade the holiday fat attack!
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If I am going somewhere to eat (in-laws) where fibrous carbs will be hard to find, I will have a big raw salad before I head over.

By concentrating on whole foods and looking for complex and fibrous carbs the holidays can help instead of hurting. Turkey is not a bad food; it's the stuffing and the gravy that give you that Rosie O'Donnell look.

Like any other time, you need your protein, complex and some simple carbs, and good fats. Nothing in this world is perfect. Make the whole natural foods your priority and the processed sweetened treats the exception.


Enter your weight-gain caloric intake (in kcals) and press "Calculate".

What Is The Best Way (If Any) To Use Junk Food As An Advantage?

The occasional deep fried or sugary morsel can be used as a "cheat food". The physiological and psychological advantages are too well known to beat that horse again.

The law of caloric balance always applies. If you do a good job on your cardio and control your intake, then a cheat food that does not completely undo your progress is called for.

Let's say you do the lifecycle at the gym for cardio. Burn another 50 calories for forty workouts and that equals 2000 calories. Now you can have two 1000 calorie deserts and it won't make you gain any weight. Since you added cardio these two deserts could have arguably been attributed to increasing your overall fitness. Hmmmm.

Cheat Meals Are Not Necessary! Cheat Meals Are Not Necessary!
Cheat meals have nutritive value, but while such foods serve physiological needs, refeed meals provide all the physiological benefits of cheat meals while maximizing fat loss.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Bonus Question:
Do You Purposely Bulk Or Cut During The Holidays? Why Or Why Not? What Are The Benefits To It?

Tough one here. In the past I have always approached the holidays with the stated goal of maintaining weight or cutting. This has normally resulted in exceeding the average weight gain of eight to twelve pounds over the season.

This year, I am going for at least five pounds of weight gain and challenging myself to keep it as clean as possible. If I managed to gain five pounds of muscle, without adding any fat, my waist measurement would stay the same or go down slightly and my arms would be about 1/4 inch bigger2. There is an ambitious goal.

In reality, a 2:1 ratio of losing fat to muscle or gaining muscle to fat is about the best the non-steroid athlete can hope for3. Some up and down will be required, but it can be done.

I think one benefit to bulking during the Holiday will be giving in to the human desire to seek pleasure. Taking advantage of the traditional abundance to put on some muscle is another. Besides, every diet special on television will talk about how to maintain your weight or lose weight during the holidays. Do you really want to follow the talking heads of the metro sexual culture?

Ranger Rick says always drink upstream of the herd. Useful advice on the trail of life as well.

Thank you for reading, AMF! (Adieu Mon Frere)


  1. Cardio Myths and Facts by Babyboomers.
  2. Strength Coach Charles Poloquin cited by Mike Mahler in "The Compound Solution Program for Puny Arms."
  3. Get Ready To Grow Big Time by Bill Phillips, interview with TjorgBjorg Akerfledt in MM2K.

2nd Place - mivi320

The month of November represents the beginning of giving thanks and celebrating with your loved ones. The month of November also signifies the start of holiday parties, large feasts, and decadent desserts. During the months of November and December, scrumptious indulgences and large quantities of food become common in our lives - causing a dreadful dieter. However, it doesn't have to be this way for the dieter.

How Can Someone Follow A Proper Diet Throughout The Holidays?

Consider the holiday dinners and high-fat goodies as cheating with a purpose. As bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, we workout regularly and follow strict diets. We generally live much more healthy and fit lifestyles than others. Therefore, we should use our healthy lifestyles to our advantage; an active and fit lifestyle enables you to indulge into your favorite holiday treats in moderation!

Whether it is your mother's stuffing, your grandmother's mincemeat pie, or your aunt's sweet potato casserole, feel free to indulge a little. Besides, the holidays only come around once a year.

However, the social nature of these large dinners and feasts can cause you to overeat, and conclusively overpower your will. So just remember, the key to following a proper diet throughout the holidays is to eat in moderation.

Avoid Holiday Food Traps! Avoid Holiday Food Traps!
We've all done it. We spend all year vigilantly keeping to our workout regimens and trying to watch our waistlines, then, when the holidays come around, we inevitably fall flat.
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If you happen to fail to abide by the principle of eating in moderation, don't worry. We exercise regularly, remember [(you do exercise don't you?)]? Doing some extra cardiovascular activities around the holidays will beef up your metabolism (allowing you to burn more of what you eat), and keep you in check.

Cardio doesn't have to be boring, either. Personally, I can't stand the treadmill. Cardiovascular activity can be fun, such as playing some flag football with the guys in the park, playing a pick up game of basketball, and even chasing the kids around! Cardio can be fun too, as long as it gets you moving and your heart rate going!

What are the foods you want to avoid? Why?

Again, everything can be eaten in moderation. However, foods that have been heavily processed and full of trans-fat and should be eaten in limited quantities - as they are generally not good for your overall health and your heart. These foods are typically high-glycemic and cause a rapid increase in insulin levels.

High insulin levels can make you very hungry, which in turn will cause you to eat more. Therefore, these heavily processed and trans-fat laden foods should be eaten in limited amounts.

Alcohol should be avoided also, as liquid calories can add up very fast, and don't provide the satiety of a meal or holiday treat. In addition to alcoholic beverages containing plenty of calories, they can also skew your perception of how much and what kind of foods you're indulging in.

Describe in detail what foods would be good to have during the holidays? Why?

Just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean that we should refrain from our typical "bodybuilding friendly foods" - natural, wholesome, nutrient rich foods should be eaten as well. Although the holidays offer delicious treats, they also offer nutritious foods.

Sweet potatoes, vegetables, salads, turkey, rice, fruits, and whole wheat grains are just some of the many bodybuilding staples that the holidays have to offer. These foods are great to have during the holidays, as they will not cause any damage to your diet.


If you happen to be preparing the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, usual high-fat and sugar coated goodies can be made healthy with the help of these recipes:

Pumpkin Pie

    Pumpkin Pie Crust:
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    2 tbsp apple juice
    2 tbsp butter, melted

    2 cups canned pumpkin
    1 egg yolk
    2 large egg whites
    1/3 cup orange juice
    1/3 cup honey
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger

    Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9" pie plate or tin with vegetable spray. In a medium bowl, mix together crumbs, juice and butter until moistened. Press mixture evenly into bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake 15 minutes, until golden. Cool.

    Place filling ingredients in a food processor (or use an electric mixer) and pulse a few times until just blended and smooth. Pour filling into cooled pie shell. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm, with or without a dollop of whipped cream.

Stuffing with Cranberries

    4 cups whole wheat bread cubes
    1 cup chicken broth
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    1 cup celery, chopped
    1/4 cup parsley, chopped
    1 teaspoon dried tarragon
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 cup cranberries, chopped
    1 cup whole water chestnuts
    1 cup chopped apple

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine and cook the chopped celery and onion in the chicken broth until tender, in a large skillet. Remove from heat. Combine the bread cubes, chopped parsley, tarragon, paprika, nutmeg, chopped cranberries, water chestnuts and chopped apple, in a large bowl.

    Stir in the onion, celery and any remaining broth. Spray a two-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon the mixture into the dish. Cover the distance and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover the dish, and bake for 5-10 more minutes!

What is the best way (if any) to use junk food as an advantage?

Indulging in decadent holiday dishes will offer a physiological benefit, and ultimately provide you with satisfaction and satiety. Eating a strict diet for a long time causes you to forget what your favorite treats taste like. Eating the same foods over a long period of time also fails to provide you with satiety and satisfaction.

Eating junk food and holiday treats will break up the monotony of a strict diet. Eating these foods can also cause you to train harder in the gym, and power your workouts more efficiently!

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Do you purposely bulk or cut during the holidays? Why or why not? What are the benefits to it?

I purposefully bulk during the holidays, so I can indulge a bit more than I would if I were cutting. When I bulk, I eat about 3,000-3,330 calories daily - so just imagine what my Thanksgiving dinner looks like! When I cut, I generally take in about 2,500 calories, which means I can't go all out if I were bulking.

The benefits of bulking during the holidays is that the large amounts of food will promote more muscle growth, given you're training like an animal in the gym. My muscles always look much "fuller" after indulging at holiday dinners, which in turn motivates me to keep bulking!


Living a fit and healthy lifestyle means enjoying it with your family and loved ones. Enjoy every minute of the holidays, for they only happen once a year!


3rd Place - DSM18

The holidays can be tough on your physique. When there is tons of candy, eggnog, and homemade pie right in your face, it's hard to resist, but with a bit of self-control and also, calorie control, you can get through the holidays both enjoying yourself, and the tasty food, without loosing your physique.

The importance of eating well can't be stressed enough; it will affect you in every way, from how hard you train in the gym, how productive you are during the day and to the extent of your gains. So how do I ensure I keep up these benefits during the holiday period? Read on and find out the best ways.

How can someone follow a proper diet throughout the holidays?

It's hard, but it can be done. Here a few tips:

Learn self-control, like anything in life, moderation is good. On the other hand, overindulgence is another thing. When you have a big cake in front of you (I know the feeling), your stomach rumbles, you get the endorphin rush and you can see in your minds eye all these beautiful images - of course it isn't easy to say no.

If you can't, there are two things you can do, let yourself completely go and eat the whole cake, or have a piece in moderation, and acknowledge that any more is just going to be counterproductive, both to your physique, and enjoyment.

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Avoiding guilt: I think out all the emotions the human body can experience. This one has to be one of the most influential in terms of what extent you are able to achieve your goals. A lot of people don't realize this but guilt can be the sole cause of the reason you ended up eating, eating and eating, as well as emotional upset.

It is a powerful emotion. Don't worry if you do indulge a little, a little won't hurt anyone. Try and look at your guilt as irrational, and learn to talk back to that inner critic.

What Are The Foods You Want To Avoid? Describe In Detail What Foods Would Be Good To Have During The Holidays? Why?

It's funny actually, if you wanted a perfect job, you would have to avoid most foods. But the reality is life doesn't always put us in the perfect situations. Just accept it, and do what you can. Don't be too strict, allow yourself to enjoy the food, but be conscious of these things:

  • Saturated fats - These can be found in any products based on full-fat dairy like cheeses or cream in deserts, cakes and sauces, palm oil, in meats (turkey is lower in fat) and pastries.

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  • Trans fats - These occur to several oils when deep fried. Steamed or boiled foods are a healthier option than deep fried stuff.

  • Sodium - Very hard to avoid, found in almost all cooked foods, and in high amounts. Avoid adding additional salt to salads etc.

Also, consider:

  • Try to eat foods in their most natural state - keep an eye on cooking methods, are they fried, steamed or baked? Is the food natural, unprocessed or raw? The more natural, the less destruction to nutrients, and generally, the less the calorie content.

  • The size of the meal - big meals can tend to slow you down, as anyone who has eaten a big meal has just felt like lazing around for the rest of the day or night.

  • Calories - Foods high in fat and simple carbohydrates are the victims here. Anything deep fried, cakes and deserts and even some homemade dishes. Be sure to control portion sizes.

  • Glycemic Index - the rate at which the carbohydrates are digested. High glycemic foods are associated with rapid weight gain, unbalanced insulin levels, low energy and mental concentration. I know, after I eat a high G.I. meal, I can feel tired right away because it acts on your serotonin levels, which control your sleep/wake cycle.

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  • Here, try and combine fats/proteins with carbs, so eat your turkey or meat, with the side serving of salad and whatever other carb choices are on offer.

  • Talk to whoever is preparing the meals and find out if there are servings of food you want to eat and that they will be available on the table. I'll have a salad for vegetables, wholegrain bread for carbs and chicken or meat for protein. I know there is added salt, fat and sometimes too much carbs, but I know in the situation, at least I'm making the effort and have the self-control to do this.

What's A Well-Balanced Meal At Christmas Dinner?

A serving of protein - the main dish at the dinner table, traditionally turkey, maybe a meat like roast beef or veal: 35-50 grams of protein.

A serving of vegetables - most times you will have a fibrous salad available, high in nutrition, phytochemicals and non-cooked, fresh vegetables: Less than 5 grams of carbs (fat is dependant on whether oil or dressing was used).

A serving of carbohydrates - balance this part of your meal so you don't overeat here. A good choice is whole meal bread, a dish with baked potatoes or some pasta or rice: 50-75 grams of complex carbohydrates.

Dessert: Choose a low sugar/low fat variety (if there is one). Maybe some fruit, if that's not to your tasting, then allow yourself to indulge in a sweet treat. Worst choices are cheesecakes, which are packed with calories and unhealthy saturated fats.

This meal ensures a healthy G.I. and is balanced and nutritious. Feel good about what you've done.

What Does 'G.I.' Stand For Again?
G.I. is an acronym for 'Glycemic Index'.

What Is The Best Way (If Any) To Use Junk Food As An Advantage?

Hmmm, this is a good question. There is a popular thing called a "cheat day" that people use, even body builders. This is a day you basically let go of all food responsibility and allow yourself to indulge in whatever you fancy - no restrictions, no worrying about your next meal or how many carbs or fats you are consuming.

The theory behind this "cheat day" is that by shocking your body, it will respond by not storing all those excess calories as fat, but will instead, excuse the French, be sh*t right out. The rules to the cheat day? There are none. Just enjoy yourself.

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A lot of people are turned off by the fact that they think they are putting all their hard work in calorie restriction to a halt by eating what they want, but this as I stated above, is in fact quite the opposite.

Using this approach, you are giving yourself as much as you want. So cheating during the week won't seem so enjoyable. It can be used once a week as many people do, but I personally use it every 2nd week. It is convenient because if you have a day where it's hard to eat properly, such as when going out to a function, you have the perfect excuse to avoid the stress of having to follow a diet when it's near impossible. Enjoy this approach and soon you'll probably be having a cheat day more often!

Positives/Negatives With Other Dieting Approaches To Calorie Control On The Holidays.

There are many approaches that are available. Some are productive, some not so productive, others plain right stupid. Here are a look at a couple, looking into why they are or aren't so good.

"Warrior Approach"

    This is where you eat little through the day, and allow yourself a large meal in the final sitting of the day. This means you can what you want during Christmas dinner without having to worry.

    Isn't recommended for bodybuilding, but I wouldn't recommend it for weight loss either:

    • Ignores your bodies need for acceptable portions of food at constant intervals during the day. Eating every 2-4 hours means you are maintaining high metabolism, keeping yourself full and away from snacks, fueling your muscles and getting your nutrition in a more balanced way.

    • Your body digests food more efficiently in smaller servings. Many also believe that the body can only digest 25-30 grams of protein at each sitting, regardless of whether you consume 25 or 100 grams at a meal.

    • Eating during the day mean you are eating and burning your calories while you are active, whereas eating at night becomes counterproductive.

    • It ignores the body need for both carbohydrates and fats, without these you will feel tired and grumpy, and it will affect your gains.

High/Low Days Approach

    Here you switch from very low to very high calorie days. This is the better of these two approaches, and is more balanced. I don't deny the hormonal advantages here, but, also consider:

    • The benefits towards eating an excessive amount of calories aren't anywhere as bad as the negatives towards restricting total calories. Here, your body will go into semi-starvation mode, and remember that muscles aren't the only thing protein is used for.

    • On a normal day you may be getting 220 grams of protein and 400 grams of carbs, on a high-calorie day (i.e. Christmas day), twice the carbs and fat (cakes, chocolates etc); it will be hard to stomach two times the protein.

    • This diet causes you to be less strict on your higher calorie days. It gives you an excuse to overindulge, and end up eating foods high in saturated fat, sodium and less freshly cooked protein. Doing this once a week is fine, but 3 days is excessive.

    • It becomes very monotonous to continue changing the amount of calories you have by the smallest amounts.

What Are Some Better Ideas To Controlling Calories On The Holidays, And Maintaining Your Physique, While Others Are Packing On The Pounds?

As stated above, a "cheat day" can serve as very productive. Not only are you eating what you want, but you are also getting something out of it. You could have this cheat day Christmas day, then again nearly one week later on new years day. I'm an endo-mesomorph who easily gains weight, and stays at a healthy bodyweight on this approach.

At least you don't have to worry, "what will the in-laws think if I avoid there fresh apple pie?", or "Everyone's going to think I'm one of this overly strict fitness freaks", you can just eat what you want.

Another option is take one week off, not only from the dieting, but from everything including training, and anything related to body building. This is a great opportunity to "get away from it"; like a mini holiday. Freeing yourself from the responsibilities can be refreshing, and you will preserve energy, refresh your motivation levels and when you get back into the gym you will be fresh, roaring and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.

Bonus Question:
Do You Purposely Bulk Or Cut During The Holidays? Why Or Why Not? What Are The Benefits To It?

Personally, I stay a lean 12-13 percent body most of the year and there really isn't any bulking or cutting. I know this isn't your traditional bodybuilding approach, but it works for me. I do, however put on 1 or 2 kgs over the holiday period, but that's nothing.

Should I bulk or cut over the holidays? Firstly, in the States it's winter, and a lot of people naturally prefer to cut during the summer months when there physique can be on show.

Secondly, bulking during this period probably is smarter, because regardless of how much you try and balance the "holiday food", you will probably still end up adding a couple of lbs. Why put yourself through the stress of cutting at a time when you are in an environment that is conductive to gaining?

How do I get through holidays without gaining fat? I basically use all the advice I've provided in this article. Balance is the key. If there was only one piece of advice I could give, it would be "balance".

Tis The Season: Tips To Stay In Shape! Tis The Season: Tips To Stay In Shape!
You will enjoy the holiday gatherings even more when you have no feelings of guilt from over-eating and the depression some feel afterwards.
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Anything is good in moderation, a small piece of cake high in fat and sugar, or a deep-fried chicken wing with fat dripping off of it won't kill you. However, your mind can affect you - just don't feel guilty, show some self-control and enjoy your holidays!