How to survive the holidays
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or an everyday Joe, the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s can wreak havoc on the waistline – and more. Rod Dixon, LA Marathon Director of Training, and Matt Mahowald, LA Marathon Nutrition and Supplement Consultant, offer their tips for enjoying the holidays – and holiday menus – without sabotaging your diet, exercise or training routine.
- Never show up hungry to a holiday party or meal. Make sure you have a big breakfast and enjoy at least two good meals or snacks before the feast. This will minimize the amount of overeating. For instance, 12 almonds and an apple will help to quell your appetite so that when you get to that meal you don’t overeat.
- The most important item during the holiday season is water. Water helps your body synthesize carbs. It helps with the high and lows of blood sugar that come with desserts and sweets that we don’t normally have in our diet.
- If you are going to attend a holiday party and plan on drinking alcohol, consume a full eight to 10 ounces of water in addition to a beverage of your choice. This will minimize the amount of alcohol you drink.
- When eating appetizers or pot luck style, the best choices are vegetables, lean proteins and fruits. If you’re designated to bring a dish to a gathering, bring something that’s a healthy choice for yourself. You never know what’s going to be presented in front of you and you always want to have good options.
- Fill your plate modestly, and wait 30 minutes after you finish before going back for seconds. This will allow your blood sugar and insulin levels to adjust. You may find that you won’t really be hungry for that second plate.
- Treat dessert as a treat. Serve yourself a small portion, and stop there.
- A good cardiovascular workout for 2-3 days after your holiday will help deplete excess storage of carbs and fat that you picked up during the holiday.
- If it’s possible, throw in an extra two days of 30 minute cardiovascular activity. Remember that walking is just as good as a slow jog and easier on your body.
- Consistency is key to your exercise program. Don’t let the holidays derail you by missing too many days in a row of your routine. Don’t try to make up what you’ve missed by overtraining – just get back on your plan.
- Remember that it is a holiday, so do let yourself enjoy. The following day wake up and get right back on your food plan and exercise.