Flexible Dieting Tips for the Holiday Season
Tackling the holiday season and its many indulgences and pitfalls is by no means easy. This time of year being a little more mindful about your daily/weekly eating and drinking habits could pay dividends come January. These are the Fundamentally FIT Flexible Dieting Tips for the Holiday Season (try saying that fast thee times).
1. Planning Ahead
Like so many of my discussions throughout the year with clients we talk about the importance of planning ahead. This can be simple planning like snacks for work and evening meals right through to the more tricky aspects like negotiating the hotel buffet.
Christmas is no exception to the planning rules. Look at your diary and plot out all of the meals, drinks with friends, works parties and nights out with family. Now you can start to plan the week around them. Start by plotting your training sessions and try to get them in ahead any parties where a lot of alcohol is likely to be involved as you are unlikely to train the day after. This maximizes calorie burn and reduces the risk of missed sessions. Training after a heavy night drinking isn’t recommended, your muscles will be dehydrated and response times reduced. These means you are at higher risk of picking up an injury. Plus burpees don’t feel any better with a hang over.
Next, if you know you’re going to be eating a big meal and a lot of extra calories then account for this though the day. Have a lighter breakfast and lunch while focussing more on quality protein, fruits and vegetables and less on calorie dense carbohydrates like fizzy drinks and chocolate. This creates an allowance from your usual calories requirement and reduces the calorie surplus you will ceate with your meal. This doesnt green light a binge meal but it does allow you to be more flexiable with your diet and the seasonal fluctuations.
2. Coffee Shop Calorie Bombs
We all know what red cups signify at a certain coffee shop chain. Christmas drinks have arrived. All the big coffee shops offer Christmas specialty drinks to tempt you in from the cold. These festive drinks are a naughty treat I hear you shout, “it’s Christmas” after all. Do you know how bad these little drinks actually are, though?
A Starbucks fudge hot chocolate in Tall comes in at 302 calories and 13.8g of fat while a Grande comes in at 369 calories and 16.1g of fat.
This is just one example but all of the seasonal and specialty drinks fall into the same category of liquid calorie bombs. Tips for curbing your intake include opting for Skimmed milk or soya, cutting out the cream and toppings or just going for a good old fashioned black coffee at just 2 calories. If you’re having one of these drinks most days on the way to work then you can save a lot of calories that will help when heading to the works party.
3. Eating out more frequently
Eating out when trying to manage your fat loss and progress can be very demotivating if you’re not thinking ahead. This time of year always means extra trips out for dinner and lunch so it’s time to change your approach.
If possible check the menu ahead of time and pick out the healthier choices so you can arrive already knowing what to have and avoid some of the temptation. If it’s a three-course meal then opt for a starter or dessert and not both. If possible share the starter or dessert with a friend or partner.
If you are drinking then opt for a dry white wine as its lower in sugar and try to have it with your meal and not before. This avoids the appetite stimulation that comes from alcohol and then the desire to over order when you are ready to eat.
Another easy way to avoid the extra calories from drinking is to be the designated driver.This removes the pressure from others who are drinking and do not share your motivation.
As a general rule of thumb avoid meals with creamy sauces like carbonara or tikka masala. Steak is a good choice with vegetables but swap the fries out for a jacket potato or sweet potato. Red meats like lamb will be very fatty while leaner choices like chicken and turkey are lower in fat and calories (typically). Fish can be a useful health option but avoid heavily butter based sauces where possible and always ask for the vegetables to be served with no butter. Finally, olives make for a good source of healthy fats but keep your portions under control. For extra calorie savings avoid bread and poppadum’s.
Being flexible with what you’re eating and how you think about your week means you can balance out some of the excesses of this time of year. These might seem like small changes, or that they won’t really make a difference.
The reality in January, however, is that the typical weight gain seen by many people does not come from a single day of over indulgence (although Christmas dinner can be extreme) but a whole month of steady nutritional and exercise decline.
Good Luck, Be Strong & Enjoy the Festive Season.
Fundamentally FIT Ltd