With Halloween just behind us and Thanksgiving and the Holidays just around the corner, I get asked this question multiple times by clients, “How do you deal with the unhealthy food temptations during the holidays?” And this is my take on it, do not obsess over it. Have some self-restraint especially with the foods that you don’t really enjoy, and indulge in the foods that bring you happiness. Food is so much a part of tradition, and social gatherings that unless you want to be a social outcast you gotta partake in some of it, just don’t overdo it. I really do believe everything in moderation. This can help you enjoy life but also keep you fit and healthy over the long term.
This is what I do: I give clients on average 20 days off of any dietary restrictions
- a) December 24 to January 1, this is also when I do not train clients because I find their performance suffers.
- b) Ten days during the yearly holidays. For some it is Spring Break with their kids, or summer holidays. Vacations is also when I recommend clients to take a break for their usual workout routine and be active outdoors instead through non-traditional means.
From my experience, this is why I endorse a guilt free eating policy during the Holiday season:
1) The Holiday season food experience goes beyond nutrients. Festive eating is a social activity and is just part of the experience.
2) The body composition does not suffer that much. Any damage done can be fixed in the month of January or even less.
3) The reality is that you will only have a half dozen of those meals: office party, Christmas Eve, Christmas breakfast and dinner, New Year’s Eve, and Jan 1 brunch. Compare this to the 1,800 meals a year you are having that are healthy. It’s like a drop in the bucket.
Here are my three rules regarding this break:
1) Indulge in the food/beverages you really love. Enjoy every bite, and do not feel guilty, you only live once.
2) No pissing, or moaning. If you are bloated, have headaches, joint pain goes up, you cannot complain. It is a reminder why you choose to eat clean 50 weeks out of the year. Consider it a short-term study on the effect of inflammatory foods on your health.
3) Do not tell me about it.
Remember to have fun with your loved ones, savor every bite because January 2 is around the corner and I’ll be waiting for you with workouts that will whip you back into shape!