“How can I get through the holidays without gaining weight?”
The most straight forward answer is to make sure you aren’t eating in a caloric surplus every day.
One or two days of overeating can be considered a “refeed” if you’ve been in a calorie deficit up to now. Refeeds are useful tools for fat loss. (Read more about that here…)
But weeks of “refeeding” – that’s not a good plan.
This time of year is crazy busy, but success with a fitness program is 100% dependent on consistency. (Your body just works with what you feed it and what you do.) If you want to navigate the holidays without gaining, you probably need to do at least one of these things…
Keep up your normal routines with food prep and workouts. There will be treats, true, but a foundation of quality food choices – vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grain, all based on your preferences and food tolerances – will keep your body well nourished.
Assuming you’re already tracking and using macros, double down on the tracking. If you bite it, write it. (Drinks, too! Not just the things you “bite”! LOL!) You might need to modify meals later in the day to make room for those extra calories.
Prioritize hitting your protein grams and overall calorie targets. The holiday treats are going to throw off your carb and fat numbers, but if you focus on your total calorie intake, that will keep you from going too far off.
Related: Learn more about macros in the free training How to Get Fit and Stay Fit After 40
If you’re not tracking but are maintaining your weight with your current eating habits, make your regular portion sizes a little smaller to make room for the treats. But keep those treat portion sizes reasonable, too.
Going to a holiday party? Social eating is usually dominated by carbs and fats. Make your earlier meals that day mostly protein.
Water and sleep. Water and sleep. Water and sleep. (Ok, I know the sleep thing can be a hard variable to control, but you can drink more water.)
If you can, weigh yourself most days to keep track of what’s going on. If it starts creeping up for two days in a row, you’re eating in a surplus. Expect a bump up after a lift or after a high carb meal, but that’s just water and will flush out in a day or two.
If you have a plan, you CAN enjoy your holiday, have some treats, and stay on track. Not saying you won’t be tempted, but that your plan will help you keep your goals in mind when the temptation is right in front of you.
If you over eat for a couple days, that’s not horrible, actually. Don’t let it trigger negative self-talk. Your body will use the extra calories to recover from your training.
Worst case? You allow that negative thought loop take control and question your motivation or discipline. Which gets us to the “Why bother? You always fail” self-talk…and then you quit.
No one has ever reached a goal running a perfect program. And no one has ever reached a goal accidently.
We all slip up. The smart move is to know it’s temporary.
Just. Don’t. Quit.
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