So, you’ve made it this far. You’ve been following your plan… you’ve seen some results that you’re really happy with and you’re riding a wave of confidence that you didn’t think could be stopped. And then, all of a sudden, it creeps up on you. It arrives before you know it and you’re a little anxious… OK… a lot anxious! It’s every dieter’s nightmare, right?! THE HOLIDAY SEASON!!!
Let’s be real! If you’ve been tracking macros, you know better. Flexible dieting is just that… FLEXIBLE!!! And, you should remind yourself that the purpose of flexible dieting is to empower you with the knowledge/ tools needed to balance real life with with your goals. #reallife #goals.
That said, I have a few strategies for you to put you mind at ease and help you enjoy the holidays as they were meant to be enjoyed! So, put down the food scale (unless you fit category #1) raise your glass and enjoy a slice of grandma’s pumpkin pie! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
STRATEGIES BY CATEGORY IN ORDER OF LEAST FLEXIBLE TO MOST!
- CATEGORY #1: Stay flexible, but stick to your plan.
- You have a deadline approaching. A photo shoot, bodybuilding show, etc, etc. If you fit this category, you probably want to stick to your guns. That means, stick to your tracking/ measuring/ calorie/ macronutrient/ micronutrient/ meal timing/ supplement targets as prescribed. But, that doesn’t mean you cant have fun! There’s plenty of turkey (or ham) to meet your protein needs. And, mashed potatoes (sans the gravy) will provide you with the carbs and a little fat (if made with butter). Green beans or other veggies as sides for fiber and bulk. Then, a glass of wine will bring you up to your fats – see fitting alcohol in your macros here.
- CATEGORY #2: Let Calories and Protein lead the way
- You don’t have a deadline on the horizon. And, you want to enjoy the holidays but still feel in control. In this case, I suggest that you continue to track your day. However, instead of weighing/ measuring everything, learn to have a solid eye on your portion sizes – see picture below for reference. Enjoy the carbs and fats as you may. Meanwhile, focus on staying within your allotted calorie target and hitting your protein goal.
- CATEGORY #3: Calories are King; macros are wild (Let the Cards (macros) fall where they may)
- Like category #2, you aren’t pressed for time to reach your goal. And, you want a little more freedom and don’t want to hijack the turkey to hit your protein goal. Here’s what to do… use a good eye to track foods as you add them to your plate – see picture below for reference. However, in this case, you’ll be safe by simply using your calorie target as your guide. Let go of your macros for one day. I promise; you’ll be OK! 🙂
- CATEGORY #4: Give yourself a break, you deserve it!
- Last, but not least! There is no deadline… you’ve been tracking with consistency, accuracy and seen great results! You’re friends and family barely recognize you when you show up to the party. Heck, you probably have a streak in MyFitnessPal that reads like a social security number. It’s time to take a break… you deserve it! Be smart, use the portion size guide below to help you prevent you from falling off the rails. And, yes… you heard it from me… end your streak… Don’t log your food for one day!
- Find comparable items from restaurants or brands (i.e. Boston Market, KFC, Sara Lee)
- Not sure how to log the mashed potatoes and gravy? Or, you ate over at a friends the pumpkin pie was homemade. Not to fear… simply look up an appropriately comparable item from a restaurant or national brand and log that item.
- Take a picture now and log later
- You don’t have to log your meal(s) right then and there. Load up your plate, then snap a pic with your phone. Be sure to get your hand in the pic for reference of scale. Then, go back later and log the meal(s). That way you can enjoy the company without being “that-guy (or girl)”.
- Drink 1/2 your body weight in oz of WATER daily!
- Holiday meals are usually laden with sodium. And, if you consumed alcohol in addition to all the amazing food, you need to hydrate anyways. Expect to see a few pounds on the scale over the next day or two (easily up to 2% of your body weight) with the shift in fluid dynamics. But keep the water flowing and don’t exacerbate the issue by being dehydrated.
PORTION SIZE GUIDE