It’s that time of year where everyone is super stressed, walking through the stores like an army of zombies, draining their bank accounts and getting a third mortgage on their house just to show all of the people they normally hate how much they care about them.
It’s also the time of the year to eat. Thanksgiving has come and gone (more recently for our American friends – thanks for the sales by the way). It’s time for cookie exchanges. It’s time for egg nog and Yule logs. It’s the time when people either pause or totally give up on their diets. It’s also NOT the time of year where people start them. Why? Because, the holidays!
Even if the holidays aren’t a crazy time for consumption, most people are waiting til it’s time to put up the new calendar (if you’re over 45 and still use a paper copy, or you are my wife and I).
January 1st is the time of new beginnings. It’s what we all wait for desperately because 2016, 2017, 2018 or 1994 was such a terrible year and we can’t possibly try to improve anything until then. That’s when it all magically changes and we can kick open a door to exclaim “It’s Britney, bitch!”
Any time I find myself in a conversation about starting or continuing a diet, with a client or otherwise (when I’m crying “oh god why did I open myself up to this????”) I’m always asking why we have to wait.
In the end, you gotta do you but viewing a diet as an all or nothing deal is counter-productive in my mind. To steal a page out of Precision Nutrition’s book, try viewing your diet/nutrition as a dial. You can turn it up when your environment allows and turn it down when you need to – like during the holidays. You can meal prep for your whole week or you can be happy with just eating a vegetable on a daily basis.
On top of this, to manage the pressure of following a diet, we need to do away with perfect and strive for better. Eating a donut during your weight loss program after you had a chicken and spinach salad is better than eating a funnel cake after your poutine for lunch. Maybe you get stuck in traffic and you won’t have time to make it home for dinner before you drive your kid to whatever practice they have today, so you stop for a quick bite.
Make a better choice. Maybe the fast-food joint wrap won’t match your macro breakdown perfectly, but it’s still likely better than choosing the triple patty bacon cheeseburger. Not perfect, but better.
Adopting these two mindsets for the holidays can save you big time.
Grandma is probably not going to be too concerned with how you’ve chosen to eat. She’s going to cook the sweet potato pie, make a damn-good gravy, and those carrots will be more butter than root-vegetable. Well, you could ask granny to change her ways – if you’d like to wear the wooden spoon. Or just make better choices where possible.
- Put some more green stuff and protein on your plate – chances are if nobody is eating it, it may be a better option
- Don’t’ go for seconds, or at least take fewer
- Offer to contribute a dish you know you can count on
- Be aware of your snacking before and after dinner
- Be mindful rather than mindlessly treating yourself
This last one’s a big one. Eat the cookies but be present and choose wisely. Go for the home-made, once-a-year treats you won’t get from a box. Bypass the boxed crap that tastes like the back of last year’s shelf and enjoy the shit out of Aunt Beth’s cookies, squares or tarts.
Pay attention to what you’re eating. How does it taste? What’s the texture? Does it change? Appreciate that gooey fucker.
What you should never do is bring a cooler to a holiday dinner, unless it’s for taking leftovers home. If you’re somehow in the middle of a contest prep then eat before and entertain the rest of the party with a small plate that won’t throw you off.
Don’t make a big deal about how you’re choosing to eat either. There’s no need to broadcast you are being “good” or “better” than everyone else at the table.
Just do your thing and for fuck’s sakes, shut- up already Karen!
If someone asks, share about what you’re doing but there’s no need to make a post about how well you ate this Christmas.
With this adjusted mind set why not start making changes early?
To be clear, this isn’t me saying go-balls-out and throw good habits out the window. No, if that’s where you think I’m going then you need to go back and re-read. What I’m saying is:
Maybe the Christmas season isn’t the time for normal people to function at an 8 or 9.
Maybe the non-cyborg type can work well at a 4 over the holidays and return to their regularly scheduled programming when the chaos subsides.
Maybe someone can start at a 2 or 3 over the holidays, getting a three-week head start on their transformation.
Maybe it’s worth waiting, but maybe it’s worth starting now, where you are, and worry about dialing it up down the road.
Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!