With Starbucks now serving joe in *gasp* red cups, we can rest assured: the holidays are fully upon us. While I personally am trying to figure how to get my nephew's chocolate out of his advent calendar without him getting pissed, many of us are beginning to sweat about the sheer sensory over-load that is the holiday season. Ugly sweaters, synthed-out holiday classics on every radio station, and a "totally unique" red and/or green decorated cookie at every gathering, no matter how small.
Sigh. Since when did the holidays revolve around all the little details and not, you know, community and good cheer and gratitude for all the excellent humans surrounding each and every one of us? I digress.
Here at the gym, we are busy making sure people are set with workouts for holiday travel, setting up special holiday workout schedules (look for emails soon!) and calming people down about holiday eating. While the trepidation is totally understandable ("What about all of my hard work in the gym?! Will I lose my guns if I eat to much stuffing?! How much eggnog is TOO much?!"), there are a few simple rules that, when combined with our last blog post, will make you feel like a champ straight through the season and into 2016:
- Max Out on Veggies (and Protein): without repeating myself from Part 1, the easiest way to avert a month-long dietary disaster is to fill your plate with the good stuff (veggies and protein). You're looking for green stuff (collards, brocolli, green beans), mostly, as well as any other non-starchy vegetable that you might find. That way, when dessert rolls around, you haven't shot yourself in the foot by eating a "meal" of 6 dinner rolls, a pound of mashed potatoes and 1.3 cans of wine-colored sugar-gelatin--I mean, cranberry sauce.*
- The Rule of First Bites: this one is simple, but oh so important. When you're eating the special-holiday-treat foods (don't pretend you don't what these are...), enjoy them! That's right, go ahead and try your grandma's Pecan-and-Crack Pie-Cake. BUT you have to promise to stop when those treats no longer taste as good as they did with your first bite. Most of the time--especially if you followed the rule above--you can get away with treats and still wear your 2015 jeans in 2016!
- Keep Moving: one excellent side-effect of eating copious food, no matter the occasion, is the complete loss of motivation to do anything but cuddle with your couch (and no, it's probably not the tryptophan at work...). Knowing that, be proactive and get your metabolism jazzed earlier in the day, and further, stay with it through the whole season. All your standard strength-focused work will fit the bill here, as it will keep your metabolism cranking and tell your muscles to keep from turning to gravy. Also, because of how our blood chemistry works, aim for exercising BEFORE the big meal (or meals). This doesn't mean you have to go crazy (the holidays are super busy, after all!), but definitely get moving, even if it's just a brisk hike. Or a fifty burpees before breakfast. Or a neighborhood 5k Turkey Trot. Or doing your grocery shopping at a dead sprint--which actually looks super fun.
- Limit Your Alcohol: This might sound obvious, but during the holidays it's just a little too easy to be 4 drinks deep before Uncle John puts you out with a final Boozey Egg Nog. Other than being a ton of extra liquid calories, alcohol can really mess with your digestion during an already stressful time for GI tract.
As always, feel free to reach out to us or comment below if you have any questions. And with any luck, you'll January feeling like a boss!
*While it's true that colorful fruits and veggies, it's also true that when you add 3 cups of sugar to anything--be it cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie--it is now called "Junk Food".