The holiday season is quickly coming upon us and if you're not careful, it could rapidly derail all the hold work you've been putting in with your diet and workout program for the last few months.
While visions of sugar-plums dance in your head, overcome the temptation and stick to your guns. You don't have to completely miss out on some treats this season, but you must still be smart about your decisions.
As the ovens are fired up and the smell of freshly baked cookies fill up your homes, make sure you plan your meals so you can continue putting on lean mass over the holidays without adding sloppy weight. Let's be honest, many of the things at holiday gatherings aren't on your list of appropriate foods to eat such as cranberry sauce, mince pies, cookies, green bean casserole, and all those fancy desserts.
Many people bring dishes to gatherings, so why not plan to take something that you know that you can eat? Ask to bring a main dish where you can include a healthy protein, or maybe even a veggie tray that you can pick at rather than filling up on a bunch of snacks that you are trying to stay away from.
The end of the year seems like a never ending temptation to test your will power to not completely fall off the wagon when it comes to your diet. After Thanksgiving wraps up, you only have a few weeks to prepare for not only the Christmas holiday, but also New Year's as well. All three of these holidays are loaded with treats and desserts that can quickly and easily stack up the calorie count.
The main thing to remember is that you can splurge a little, but don't lose focus of your overall calories and what food you are taking in.
Let's start off with the area that can get a lot of people in trouble by not being aware of how many calories they have taken in. Drinks! Alcoholic or not, there are always drinks being passed around at friends and family gatherings over the holidays. Egg nog, wine, beer, mixed beverages, sodas, and teas just to name a few. These calories can quickly and easily add up. Be aware of how much you are taking in if you decide to sip on something other than water. By no means am I saying to be a party pooper or deprive yourself of a little enjoyment of a drink, but just be aware of your intake. Another great alternative to calorie heavy drinks would be SciVation Xtend.
Traditionally, during the Christmas holiday you will find main dishes including turkey or ham. Both options are fine even though the ham will obviously be a lot higher in sodium content. These protein sources are what you should try and fill your plate up with primarily. From there, look for some healthy carbohydrate choices such as sweet potatoes, yams, or any green vegetable (just as long as it isn't fried in something or loaded with butter). If none of those choices are available and the only thing to choose from is mashed potatoes or an unhealthy carb, go ahead and scoop some out but be sparing. Remember, everything in moderation. If you want to have something off your diet during the holiday, go ahead, but don't overdo it. An even better idea would be to try and get a workout in prior to the big meal that way if you decide to splurge a little you would have already burned off some extra calories that you are taking in with foods you normally wouldn't be eating. Check out the holiday workout featured a little later on in the article to get an idea of how you can burn some extra calories prior to the holiday gathering.
If you want a sure way to keep yourself from picking at foods you normally stay away from, try drinking a protein shake before going to the gathering. This will keep your appetite under control and will help keep you from loading up your plate. Another idea instead of eating all those fattening and sugar-coated desserts would be to make your own protein dessert or eat a protein bar.
Rolling from Christmas right into New Year's is like a never ending food temptation. First you had all the leftovers, sweets and desserts at your disposal, and now another big meal that families gather for. The food choices are pretty much the same only the main dish for New Year's is traditionally pork and sauerkraut. More times than not, you will see side dishes such as mashed potatoes and rolls going along with the meal. Again, if that is what you have to choose from, then scoop sparingly but load up on the pork. If veggies are available you can load up on those as well.
Remember, protein is always your friend-it helps curb your appetite and fills you up. Good quality protein is the building block to muscle growth. We want any weight gain from the holiday season to be lean mass so you can break into the New Year with new growth. Use the holiday as a time to rest, recover, and reflect on the past year. Come up with new goals for the New Year ahead and take the necessary steps to get there. The only thing holding you back from the physique you always wanted it yourself. If you think it, you can do it. Make it happen!
Preparing Your Own Healthy Holiday Meal
If you want to prep your own meal for the holiday so you don't have to worry about any surprises when you show up at a gathering, check out the shopping lists below for a list of ingredients that you can use to make your own healthy meal options:
- Ground Beef
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Wheat Pasta
- Natural Peanut Butter
- Pumpkin Seeds
Healthy Holiday Shopping List
Since most gyms are closed on the holiday, you can still get a decent workout in by using just your bodyweight. Below you will find a workout that you can follow to ensure you burn off some of the calories you might be taking in during your gatherings.
At the end of the day it's your decision. Will you come out of this holiday season ahead of the game sporting a new lean muscle mass or will you come out scrambling to figure out how you're going to get rid of the excess fat gained and reach those New Years Resolutions?
You have the power to determine your path and if you use the advice just presented, you'll be on the path to success.