Nutrition Food During Holidays. Make Them a No-brainer

With the end of the year approaching (like it always does so quickly after the new year rings in) we find ourselves surrounded by lots of food that we can’t help but take bites of here and there.

Is all this food bad for us? Not necessarily.

But how can we avoid things like anxiety, guilt, and shame during the holidays?


food during holidays

Keep your confidence while leaving behind the food restrictions during holidays!

There’s something to be said about making that change to releasing the need to be restrictive. I have clients who ditch their hamster wheel of crash dieting to really see the light in being more open and flexible with how they make progress – weight loss or not. It really comes down to the 80/20 approach because being 80% all of the time is better than being 100% some of the time and leads to better, lasting results!

How does this transition to holiday eating when food is so abundant? How do we manage it, and how can we stick to our plan, but also make room for enjoyment?

I, personally, have tactics to help guide people through the holidays as most people have many different needs and require different approaches. It’s important to know where you are within your fitness journey to be able to best tackle food (and exercise) during the holidays. Are you currently trying to lose weight? Have you met your weight loss goal and are now trying to maintain your weight? Or perhaps you are trying to gain muscle, and you’re not quite sure how to incorporate more holiday food within your plan.

If you are currently in a weight loss phase, or ‘calorie deficit’ there are many ways to take on the holidays, but here are the main two:

Diet Break! Eating at your maintenance calories

Have you ever implemented a diet break? This may be for you if you have been dieting for some time and think time off for a week or two (maybe more) during the holidays may be what you are looking for to ensure you don’t slip off and derail your progress you have worked so hard for.

  • Diet breaks are meant to be a period of time eating at a calorie allotment meant to maintain your current weight 
  • Many reports they feel better eating at maintenance after a period of dieting and can help your adherence to dieting in general 
  • Taking a break from a weight loss phase can prevent feeling restricted and can also lead to prevention of binging, over-exercising, and feelings of guilt from eating a little extra than intended 
  • This is calculated with a few steps: (We are using the Müller Equation, the preference of many coaches)
    • Transfer your weight into kg. We will work through my measurements so you can see the real life application. I am 153 pounds, divide by 2.2 to equal 69.5kg. My body fat is also 18%. Lean mass = 57kg and fat mass = 12.5kg
    • Find your activity level and multiply by your BMR 
      • 1.2 – little to no exercise up to 1.9 – a construction worker who lifts 5x a week. I label myself as 1.3 because I lift in the gym but am only moderately active because I am sitting in classes and on my computer constantly.
        • (13.587 × LBM) + (9.613 × FM) + (198 × Sex) – (3.351 × Age) + 674 = BMR 
          • (13.587 x 57) + (9.613 x 12.5 )+ (198 × 0) – (3.351 x 23) + 674 = 1491.5485
          • Times my 1.4 activity level = 2088 calories for my diet break week. 

Planning your meals consistent with your diet 

This information retains the same if you are trying to lose, maintain, and even gain weight to avoid the ‘going overboard’ and seriously regretting some decisions you may have made. Taking preventative steps before you eat too much or get into a situation with more food than you expected is key here.

  • You don’t need to necessarily stop your fat loss phase if you are looking to keep losing weight during the holidays.
  • You will, however, need to plan well and plan accordingly:
Do you track your food daily? 
Make room for pie!
Prioritize your protein 
Consider eating lighter in the day if a big family dinner is coming up, or adjusting your calories over the week to give you more flexibility for holiday dinners 
  • Make a list of food you know you want to eat and work around it! It helps with feeling like there’s too many options, and you can prioritize your favorite family member’s cooking minus the guilt of indulging!
  • If you plan the generics of the foods you want to eat into a food tracker, you will have a better idea of how the calorie breakdown looks, and you will be able to better maintain yourself when eating!
  • Starting your day with a higher protein breakfast will potentially mitigate feelings of hunger, helping you to feel less tempted to overconsume!

There are ways to stay on track if you’ve been maintaining your weight for a while by just ensuring to be diligent in your choices. Maybe consider tracking the food to better estimate what you may be eating during holidays. If you are dieting you can take one of the two options I described such as utilizing a break period in your diet back to maintenance calories (with the math you need!) or just, again, being very diligent and moving food around and handling your tracking without disturbing your progress.

There is no right or wrong answer, it is completely up to you which route you choose!

This is your fitness journey and we are here to support you with the tools you need to be successful. 

No matter your goal, you can remain confident in the holidays without feeling guilty about your food choices. Remember, you are in control! 

If you found this helpful, share it with your friends to help them with the holidays!

To reach out directly, send me an email at [email protected] and let’s get you set up for success and confidence!

NightCake Fitness

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