Such a popular question Shakespeare himself must've pondered about it each December.
From the 24th of December up until New Year's Eve no one really knows what day it is (don't fight me on this, we all know it's true); it's just a blur of days and endless holiday eating.
Of course, this one will be different... but that age-old question still remains.
I like to think I'm a person that likes to live life to the fullest. I don't restrict myself if I don't want to and this extends to my fitness journey as well.
My healthy eating comes from a world of abundance- not restriction, and that's how I want others to see it as well.
That's why I urge people to go on their own fitness journeys and get to know their own body. My choices come from respecting what makes my body feel good/bad. I know what she'll like... or not like and I know how she'll react. Bread is my weakness, I sometimes overdo it and end up paying for it later- but each one of those moments I knew what I was choosing to do and I supported myself.
Everyone is at a different part of their fitness journey. Maybe you're prepping for something you need to physically look your best in. In this situation, for you, it's best to stick to your specific planned meals. Maybe you're just starting out and are slowly easing yourself out of familiar foods and transitioning into new ones. In this situation, you just want to eat smaller portions of foods you've always eaten during the holidays. Maybe you're always disciplined and allow yourself "cheat days" on holidays. In this situation, you go all out on whatever you want.
Whichever your situation, your action always has to be something YOU concur with- because you want to, not because you're obligated to.
I've always been one to enjoy whatever food I want on holidays and trips- because WHY NOT?! I follow my body's clean eating guidelines all year long. A fitness journey is 365 days each year. A few days of eating/not eating what you want is not a reflection of what you've been doing the rest of the year. What's worse is having an unhealthy relationship with food. Food guilt?
Who tf came up with that? Why are there so many internal battles to be fought that started out with industries preying on people just for their own profit?
But I know it takes time to suddenly erase thoughts that have taken up so much of your time. So wherever you are on your fitness journey and your relationship with food, here are some tips to help you with your holiday eating, and you decide whichever is best for you.
What if I want to stick to my set goals?
Experiment with healthy recipes! Introduce nutritious dishes to the holiday table and maybe they'll become one of your traditional staples.
Check out my Spicy Yogurt Cilantro Dip or my Healthy Holiday Recipe board on Pinterest to get you started!
Eat a protein rich meal before the celebrations start. Go moderately full and then choose whichever meals align with your fitness goals. This can go if really don't want to eat much of what'll be present or if you feel tempted by some dishes. For some of us it just takes one day of "unhealthy" eating to then motivate us to do so again the following days, therefore taking us off our disciplined path. If you want to stay eating clean during the holidays- do it. I know it's harder with family members present, especially if they aren't on a fitness journey and want to coerce you. It's easier to give in if you're hungry. That's why eating a meal or having a protein shake before that'll keep you full for longer can help.
Check out my Protein Rich Recipes board on Pinterest! You can also make a bigger batch of the chosen recipe, eat some before leaving, and take the rest to the celebration to share with others.
What if I want to enjoy everything present?
Eat in moderation. Nothing is off limits, but stay aware of the proportions. Some good guide would be to eat according to the plate proportion template from ISSA or The Healthy Eating Plate from Harvard. You choose whichever is the best fit for you.
Listen to your body's cues. Sure, eat what you want, but many of us eat with our eyes and we pay the consequences later. Trust me- sometimes I think I have a black hole in my stomach from how much I know I can eat after my body has told me it's full... and then I feel bad. White bread and white flour make me feel bloated, so I know when my body tells me it's had enough. On the other hand, my body can eat bigger proportions of whole grains... and so I do.
Give in to all your desires. You have a whole year to exercise and eat clean, you won't explode by eating what you want for a few days. Our bodies may be more bloated (stay tuned for a post-holiday blog to combat bloat), but fitness is mental as well. If it makes you happy it's worth it. Eating something that has negative emotions attached to it does more harm than good. This blog and your mind should be a food guilt FREE zone! Ain't nobody got time for that.
So with this, I wish you all happy eating and
Keeping it Merry and Simple,