Keeping on Food Goals Through the Holidays
We are heading into the holiday season. For serious competitive boxers and for fitness boxers alike we sometimes think of this time of year as a season of gyms being closed, meeting up with old friends, lots and lots of food, and so much to do we can’t even make a list to check twice. How do you plan to keep up?
Well, first, let go for a second. Breath. Do you have a fight coming up this holiday season? If you do, skip down to the last section of this post, because none of these upcoming encouragements about loosening up for a month within boundaries pertain to you: you need to keep as tight and on-schedule as always and it’s going to be hard. For the rest of you, we got this.
First, one of the hardest things about the holiday season simply is that it’s just so, incredibly busy. Your food gets off track, and you end up missing practices here and there by accident. So lets tackle food first: Go ahead and eat what the group is eating at your holiday meals. One, single meal where you eat until you are full (and not just stuffing it all in because it’s your “one chance”) is not going to kill you. In fact, relaxing with your family and friends to eat, drink, and be merry is probably going to help your body with a recovery of the last few months of going very hard. The problem doesn’t come in with the one meal. The problem comes in with having left overs until Christmas from Thanksgiving, from eating out with friends who usually aren’t in town, and from quickly grabbing something to eat out because you can’t stop these errands or you’ll never get it all done.
Go back and read last week’s post on food prep. It isn’t an accident that I posted that last week. This is going to be vital to get you through the holidays on track. In fact, I usually keep a box of protein bars in my car as a quick filler when my day has gotten away from me so that I don’t end up starving and giving into something bad to eat—or worse, ending up at an evening practice realizing I’ve had nothing all day except coffee. When I have ten minutes to pull into the drive way in the middle of those errands, I know I have very quick, healthy, and pre-thought nutritionally fueling food that I can grab and eat and move on with my day.
Next, when you go out with friends, take an extra minute to really look at the menu online before you go if you can, and look for something that truly meets your needs. One of the easiest things I know will help fuel me when I end up out is somewhere that serves breakfast where I can get eggs, a meat, and fruit. I know this still isn’t the same as your eggs and meat you have prepped, but it all adds up, and that means the little bit healthier choice is still better than deciding that you’re going to get a family size portion of wings just because you’re “blowing it” anyways. Another good choice is usually salads because of the simple fact that most of the things in a salad are raw. The trouble with eating out comes in the ways things are cooked. Read through what is on the salad, and then ask for things on the sides so that you can add the portions in your self of the things you’re guessing might be a not-so-good choice. For example, the dressing is usually a killer in the amount, the way it’s made, and often the sodium content. The meat that is in your salad (which if you’re counting a salad as a meal there had better be some significant protein in it!) is another one that will sometimes get you by surprise at a restaurant.
Lastly, on those big days like actual Thanksgiving Day, don’t take home a bunch of leftovers. I know how tempting it is to do so, but unless it’s a food that you know won’t be too bad for you (which a lot of times there are some options for that!) or that you won’t be tempted to go crazy on, then just don’t bring it into your house. If you’re hosting, do your very best to push AS MANY of those left overs out the door as you possibly can.
I know a lot of us have multiple holiday dinners because our family members are spread out, divorced, or even just covering your in-laws, and yours, and your cousin’s, oh and that friend’s house that you grew up at. If you’re someone who has multiple holiday dinners, pick one to just let go and eat whatever at. At the others, make sure that you’ve eaten your healthy food before you go so that you aren’t hungry, and then take small portions of the healthiest options available to not be rude. You might hear a lot of “Oh girl! No wonder you’re so skinny if that’s all you’re eating!” and “You know, it’s not healthy to eat that little/workout like you do/your body isn’t supposed to be like that”. You have to brush those haters off who mean well (or they’re just jealous). They aren’t your coach and they don’t know your training schedule. You don’t need to apologize for keeping your goals and life on track just because they are choosing not to at that moment.
For weight cutters over the holidays: I truly feel for you. Gum is your best friend while trying to get through all of those delicious smells for the day. Keep on sister. You can do it.