It’s that time of year again–the time when nutritional prudence goes completely out the window,
the time when most people’s waistlines seem to expand relentlessly into new pairs of pants,
the time when any semblance of self-discipline is left by the side of the road during a thunderstorm.
So how do we break the cycle?
I’m not going to tell you guys to “be good” no matter what, because that’s horseshit and it doesn’t work.
It’s the holidays, there’s insanely delicious food everywhere with
family members that go to a great deal of trouble to prepare it,
and if you can’t enjoy life there isn’t any point to it anyway.
I will, however, give you a few tips that have served me well over years of
mitigating the consequences of enjoying lots of food.
These apply to holiday meals as well as buffets.
1) Pick your battles.
If someone brings a box of cookies into work on a Monday, it’s not worth it to fuck with your body
by spiking your blood sugar.
However, if it’s Thanksgiving and Mom shows up with two delicious homemade pumpkin pies
(or other delicious treat if you don’t like pumpkin pie, you wretched heathen soul), that’s a different story.
2) Fill up on meat first.
If you’re at a meal where STWKY is in abundance and you know you’re going to partake,
start by eating all the meat you possibly can.
Protein and fat fill you up far more than sugar, and they’re essential to life.
You can always make room for sugar, and if you’re filled up on protein
you won’t want to eat more than a sampling of the unhealthy stuff anyway.
3) Drink lots of water throughout the meal.
This aids the digestive process and fills the stomach, so you won’t eat quite as much
nor will you be pinned to the couch for eight hours in a bloated and painful post-meal stupor.
Speaking from experience here.
Immediately pre- and/or post-meal, do some air squats, push-ups, lunges, and/or pull-ups.
Hopefully you drank water throughout the meal so you’re not rendered immobile from the “itis.”
Do enough reps to feel a burn in your muscles (usually 30 to 50)–this will divert nutrients towards
replenishing muscle glycogen, meaning it’s not going into your body’s fat cells.
Also, if at all possible do a WOD prior to the big meal; might as well force your body to repair itself
so it has something to do with the massive influx of calories you’re eating.
5) Improve your insulin sensitivity.
This will make your body better at nutrient partitioning (sending stuff to your muscles instead of your fat cells).
Simple ways to do this:
A) Fish oil (take it with a meal – at least 1000mg EPA/DHA)
B) Cinnamon (on baked goods and/or in your coffee)
C) Exercise (see above)
6) Don’t worry about the scale and get right back on track.
When you’re stuffing your face, expect to gain several pounds after a single meal–
most of it will be retained water and you’ll pee it out in the next several days.
Thing is, the day after a dietetic disaster you HAVE to return to your normal eating habits.
This will minimize the likelihood of overriding your body’s internal stabilizing mechanisms
(hormones that tell you to stop eating, increased metabolic rate as compensation, etc.)
and raising the body’s set point for weight.
The only way to keep from getting derailed during the holidays is…wait for it…to not let it happen.
Stay on point 90% of the time, save your indulgence for when it counts,
and use these tricks to mitigate the damage.
Happy holidays, er’body!