The Absolute WORST Advice I've Ever Seen
So it’s well into December, the Christmas parties have officially begun. How does that make you feel? Excited? Happy? Nervous? Ready for the parties? Worried about sustaining your healthy lifestyle? Looking to all of the magazines for help on how to “handle” the holidays and all of the food that it brings? Worried about how to fit in all of your workouts? Whelp I want to help. I want to share with you the top 4 WORST (no good, dirty rotten) pieces of advice I have ever read about going through the Holiday Season while on a journey to better health and fitness.
Eat before going to the party
Don’t eat before going to the party
1 and 2 obviously go hand in hand with each other. There is a plethora of contradictory advice out there about how to “handle” the stress of less than nutritious foods at all of the holiday parties. The two most popular are to eat a substantial meal beforehand, and eat as little as possible throughout the day so that when you finally get to eat you “won’t go over your daily calorie needs.” Well I call B.S. people!!
As for the first one, there are all sorts of issues that arise if you eat your substantial meal beforehand. First of all, if it’s a dinner party wouldn’t it be rude to not eat with everyone? If it’s an appetizer party, what happens when the plate of cookies or mini sliders go by, you just can’t resist...before you know it you’ve double your calorie intake for the day.
As for the second piece of advice, this is absolutely the BEST recipe for disaster you could ever make. So you don’t eat all day, you’re saving for your favorite prime rib, pasta casserole or cheesecake…you get there, finally fill up your plate and before you know it you’ve eaten so much you can hardly move. When going to eat on a completely empty stomach, you’re surely going to consume way more than needed.
As for both of these, I think the same answer applies. That answer is to go back to what we know. LISTEN. TO. YOUR. BODY. Are you hungry? Eat. Not hungry? Don’t eat. Instead of force feeding a huge meal so you don’t eat anything at the party, or starve all day in order to eat everything in sight when you arrive, just listen to your body. When the party comes, take reasonable portions of everything you’d like, include vegetables and a good source of protein and just keep your hunger in check. Stop eating when you’re full. Remember those foods are always there, there is no need to eat for more of the taste and there is no need to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. Give yourself credit, your body knows you best, listen to it.
Getting a good workout in is more important than going to the party
Do a really long and intense workout before the party
Just like 1 and 2 I believe that 3 and 4 go hand in hand. As for the workout side of staying healthy during the holidays, there are two extremes many people go to. One is skipping that holiday party entirely in order to get your workout in, or doing a grueling workout the day of the party in an effort to “cancel out” everything you are about to consume.
As I said in my post about focusing on family and loved ones during the holidays (read it HERE), I want to emphasis the fact that this is the season of life that we are in right now. This month is meant to be spent with an emphasis on spending extra time with those we love. Because of this, many people’s routines get a little out or f whack. But you know what? That’s OKAY. There is plenty of time in the coming months to get back to normal. For the time being, get your workouts in but keep them short if you have to. Thirty minutes of intense exercise keeping that heart rate up is absolutely enough to keep you strong and healthy. You don’t need to skip the party because you need to catch up on cardio, or make up that workout you missed the other day. Read my post including a short and intense week of workouts HERE.
As for the latter about going through a long intense and grueling workout before the party….that is so not necessary. First of all, that’s just going to make you incredibly tired and crabby. Second of all, that creates a detrimental thought pattern that could lead to much worse mental issues around fitness in the future. You don’t need to workout so that you can eat whatever you want. Workout because it makes you feel good, it keeps you strong and relieves stress. Workout because its GOOD for you, don’t make it bad for you.
To wrap it all together (like a Christmas present…see what I did there?!) you don’t need hours and hours of exercise to balance out your food intake. Just eat and exercise normally. Keep those workouts short and intense to leave room for the extra fun activities happening in the coming weeks. Eat the foods you want in moderation and remember portion sizes. Listen to your body, eat until full, and be sure not to deprive yourself. My favorite way to keep the holidays healthy are to bring my favorite veggie dish to the dinner parties and to create healthier recipes of my favorite treats. Look out for my post next week about healthier Christmas cookies the entire family will love. I won’t tell them they’re actually not bad for you if you won’t! Talk to you next week!