The Holiday 'Trade Off' Guide

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

With holiday season in full swing, nutrition is always a hot topic amongst the health conscious. With all the hard work you’ve put in during the year to look and feel great, the last thing you want to do is let it all go.

Before we get into the bulk of the article you need to wrap your head around the next point. With most things in life there’s a trade-off and you have to find that ‘happy place’ within the spectrum. In this case, how much can I relax on my day to day nutrition/training approach to accommodate to the holiday period BUT also uphold a level of conditioning I’m content with.

It’s not my place to tell you what you want. You do what makes YOU feel TRULY comfortable. If you want to continue looking absolutely peeled be aware that you’ll probably have to sacrifice some of the delicious food and summer nights out. On the other hand, if you want to eat everything in sight and veg out for two weeks then that’s also ok but be aware your physique will not look the same as it once did. If you are content with either then that’s your choice and you should do what makes you happy.

The above examples are extreme and most people will sit somewhere in the middle. Below are a few key points that can carry you through! They can be broken down into 2 main areas, these being mindset and tactics.

Mindset 1: Accept It And Be Happy With It!

First things first, accept that there will be some fat gain. Obviously, the idea is to minimise it but the sooner you can come to terms with the fact you may become a little fluffy, the better.

Mindset 2: You Have Lost It Before, You Can Lose It Again

If you have successfully got yourself in good shape during the year, you can do it again? Fat loss is always achievable and somewhat easy if you fully commit. First things first, make your job easier by minimising the gain over the holidays. Next is have a plan for post holiday season. It may be as simple as going back to exactly what you were doing during the year. Otherwise seek out some advice, stay consistent and you’ll be back in no time.

Mindset 3: Enjoy This Special Time Of The Year

This essentially the sum of the 2 points above. If you can accept that there will be some fat gain but also realise it can be lost then it sets you up to enjoy the festive season like you should. In today’s day and age, it’s rare that you all your loved ones are in the same place at the same time so enjoy it while you can.

Tactic 1: Portion Control

Let’s talk tactics! First is portion control. I like to reference the two ALL’s

You can enjoy ALL of what’s there but you don’t need ALL of everything

Essentially, go ahead and have a leg of turkey, a slice of cake, a scoop of ice cream, a couple of beers but you don’t need half the turkey, the whole cake, the tub of ice cream and 12 beers.

Tactic 2: Aim For ‘Somewhat’ Balanced Meals

Whilst there will be a huge range of food and drink everywhere you look you can still make ‘better’ choices. Make sure you have a good protein source and vegetables at each meal. It means you’re still up holding quality nutrition behaviours and you minimise the chance of you going crazy on the desserts later on

Tactic 3: Plan Your Days and Pick Your Moments

This is probably the biggest tactic of the lot! Plan your days and pick your moments. Obviously, there are days over the holiday break which will be like every other day. Then there’s others where you’ll have the event, family gathering etc. On these low-key days, eat well so you have room to move on the days where food and drink will be a big part of it, pick your moment. When you arrive to the day of the big event/gathering, aim to again give yourself room to move by how you eat in the lead up, plan your day. This might look like 2 high protein, high vegetable meals in the lead up to a work breakup dinner.

Tactic 4: Keep Training

Keep on training! You will more than likely find that these training sessions will feel better than ever with the extra energy and a head clear from work pressure etc.

Happy holidays

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