The Big Day is upon us. For me, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a treacherous obstacle course in eating. While I love the holidays and look forward to the various social gatherings, I don't look forward to the vigilant restraint I must keep during November and December. Over the years I've told my clients that the best approach this time of year is to put aside goals of weight loss and focus on maintaining their current weight. This is a great approach as it allows you the freedom to have a little fun while continuing to keep an eye on the scale. Continue your exercise program and put in extra effort to make all of your gym "appointments." Then, when January rolls around you will be able to resume your weight loss program without having lost too much ground.
While the season is a battle for me as well, I usually come through it without any weight gain. In the past, my approach has been to stay on my standard strict diet and refuse any indulgences during the entire holiday season. Not much fun huh? It wasn't fun and was exhausting at times as I worked so hard to avoid my favorite foods. This year I have decided to release a little restraint and have a little more fun while continuing to work hard in the gym. My plan of attack has been plotted and I encourage you to join me.
1. Relieve yourself of the anxiety that comes with big, festive meals by giving yourself the freedom to indulge a little. Instead of fighting so hard to avoid all of the traditional holiday foods that you love, allow yourself to choose 2 or 3 of your favorites. Indulge a little, but don't overeat to the point of discomfort. Have a nice, large meal, but avoid second servings and stop eating when you are full.
2. Other than the designated special meals such as on Thanksgiving and Holidays, follow a healthy, strict diet. When you wake up the day after Thanksgiving, immediately return to your healthy breakfast, followed by your usual lunch, dinner and gym date. Now is the time to avoid the extra evils that hang around the holidays: office treats, afternoon holiday cookies, and leftovers.
3. If your social calendar includes several holiday parties allow yourself one indulgence per party per week. If you must attend more than one party per week, indulge at the first event and avoid the goodies at the second event. Therefore, outside of the big meals, you can enjoy treats once per week. I pray that I don't need to identify for you what counts as an "indulgence," but yes, alcohol is also considered naughty. My tactic: I choose my indulgence before I arrive at the event. If I'm in the mood for red wine, I will enjoy it and avoid the cookies. If I really want dessert, I will skip the wine and look forward to the dessert tray.
Remember: it is always difficult to remain disciplined. It is hard work, but it will be worth it when January arrives and you don't have to work your buns off-literally- in the gym. This year will be a first for me. I hope you'll join me and drop me a note on your experience!- Holly Perkins, Intent.com
Holly Perkins B.S. is a Fitness Expert and Personal Trainer in Los Angeles. Holly holds a degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition from Penn State and has been actively involved in the industry for over 12 years. Holly is a member of NSCA (soon to be CSCS certified), is the newest Celebrity Trainer on ExerciseTV, and is the current fitness model for WeightWatchers.com. Holly's unique approach bridging diet, lifestyle and personalized training has helped celebrities, athletes, moms and even a 2008 Presidential Candidate.