Natalie Hodson
December 2, 2016
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How to Handle Your Nutrition Around the Holidays

Should you try to diet during the holidays? How can you avoid gaining that extra 5-10lbs during the holiday we all seem to gain? What about all the dinners you have to attend?

These are all questions I get asked a lot this time of year and I wanted to touch on them again because it can be a hard time of the year for people who are trying to stay on track with their health and fitness goals and finish the year strong.

I have compiled a list of common issues I have run into and what I typically do for each one; of course, you may find something that works different for you and that’s great!!

Enjoy your holiday meal!
I always tell people that big holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter to name a few – are not days where I limit myself. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed; to spend quality time with your family, to eat some great food and to not stress about your nutrition.

With that said, there is a difference between having one meal or one day off and enjoying what you eat versus having a cheat week. If you let that one meal turn into a whole day, you are usually okay. If you let that one day turn into a whole week of eating leftovers, it quickly becomes “I will start again on monday…” and that can really derail your progress.

So enjoy the meal, or the day off, and jump right back into your routine tomorrow.

How to bounce back?
After you have enjoyed yourself guilt-free, use the next day to get back on track and be conscious of what you eat. If I have a lot of unhealthy leftovers, I like to send them home with guests to eliminate the temptations to eat leftovers all week. I also use the time off from work to go grocery shopping and stock up on lots of veggies and fruits that me and the kids can reach for as snacks.

Whiteboard System
I use what I call the whiteboard system to set goals throughout the year so I can easily see my progress. I also use the whiteboard system to set meal plans each week. The benefits of creating a meal plan are you can “shop” what is currently in your fridge and pantry to eliminate waste, and having a plan makes it easier to stay on track.

I love making a protein and integrating it into multiple recipes throughout the week too, so it helps use up leftovers. Shredded chicken is great for this, but my family also uses a variety of venison that I have harvested as well.

Assign your Holiday Meals in Advance
Coming from a divorced family, I know all too well how the holidays can be a little crazy – I usually have multiple dinners to attend, for starters. Instead of making each dinner party a cheat meal, I will usually pick one food I want to eat at each. So I will have turkey and potatoes with grandma, casserole at my dads, etc.

If this strategy won’t work for you (sometimes, people can be offended if you don’t eat what they make), you can ask if you can take it to go. That way, you are not offending anybody by NOT eating it, but you are also not consuming a large amount of calories either.

Workout
I always try to get in a quick run or Dollar Workout Club workout in on holidays to help create a calorie deficit. It is absolutely not necessary (holidays, am I right?), but it can help give you some wiggle room to feel guilt-free during your holiday dinners!

What is your favorite holiday meal? Let me know in the comments section of our Facebook post!

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