If you are like us, the time between October and New Years is tough. In a normal year, the weather gets cold, sun sets early, foods get heavier and habits/routines get broken. In 2020, we have a pandemic making things exponentially worse and at best, very different. This post is cathartic for us to get back on track and we hope it helps you to get yourself back on the path before the end of December holiday onslaught.
1. Keep It Simple
If this was still the age of print magazines, right about now is when all the covers would be saying things like “Holiday Diet,” “Get Slim in Time for Christmas,” “Lose the Flab for the Holidays.” Well, there is no need to overthink this or think there is some special diet necessary. All you should focus on is getting on track and staying on track. Keep it simple: whole foods only. Meat, veg and fruit. If you can keep it to those 3 things 80% of the time, you are going to be good to go.
2. Set Your Macro Targets and Hit Them at All Costs
Protein, carbs, fat. If you can manage to set targets for these 3 things and hit them using mainly whole foods, your nutrition will be on point. You absolutely need to use a nutrition tracking app and at the very least, a food scale to do this the right way. Even on cheat meals, you should be able to fit them mostly into your macros if you need an “out” every now and again. We like to target 30% carbs, 25% fat and 45% protein but your macros may vary depending on your goals.
3. Lay Off the Booze
Nobody wants to hear this during the holiday season but, it needs to be said. Alcohol can be seriously detrimental to not only your nutrition but also your fitness. If you are doing your best to try and get your shit together so that the onslaught of Christmas and New Years does not send you into a hole, abstaining from the booze is a small price to pay. If you really want to enjoy a drink, try a glass of red wine or a corn distilled vodka and soda. But, keep it to a minimum.
4. Use the 80/20 Rule
There are going to be parties. There are going to be goodies laying around the house or your office. If you keep to your macros and your whole foods 80% of the time during the season, you are going to be good to go. You won’t get the same results as if you stuck to the plan 95% of the time but, keeping on track for the long run is much better than sticking to it 100% and then going completely off the rails. 80% of the time should be the minimum target for you.
5. A Day Off is Just a Day Off
2 things usually happen after a big cheat day like Thanksgiving or Christmas: People try and compensate for the cheat day by starving themselves and running themselves ragged in the gym OR they just say “screw it, I’ll start after the holidays” and go completely off the rails. Remember, a day is just a damn day. If your car runs out of gas do you try and overfill the gas tank the next time or just abandon it permanently on the side of the road? Do not try to abstain from the “big days.” Enjoy them and then get back on your regular program. Happy Holidays!