The holidays are by far my favorite time of the year, mostly because gluttonous behavior is not only allowed, it’s celebrated!
I start off with consumption of my infamous Steaming Hot Apple Pie, which is actually a potion made with apple cider, freshly ground nutmeg and cinnamon, and plenty of quality dark spiced rum. Top that off with some fresh whipped heavy cream and you’ve got yourself a socially acceptable Christmas time breakfast. With a full rum belly I then burn most of my day glued horizontal to the couch with my eyes pinned on college football bowl games. This is my happy place.
You probably have a similar story, albeit with different preferences in vice and gluttony.
On top of the requisite booze and couch time, there’s all the usual holiday stressors to contend with. Training time is typically exchanged for a hectic travel schedule, enforced “family time”, and the abomination that is holiday shopping madness.
I’ve been on a health and physical performance quest for a very long time. And I hate to say it, but in reality it’s silly to expect any major milestones or personal breakthroughs in fitness during these few weeks. Pure and simple, it’s more about survival than progress.
What I wanted to do is share 5 great tips that I use during the Holidaze to minimize damage. This might be just what you need to push through the carbohydrate-induced delirium that is Christmas time.
1. Drop the fallacy of perfect.
If someone offers you a second or third piece of Christmas pie, take it! Likewise, don’t decline your New Year’s day refill of beer and nachos. This will not change your fitness or performance destiny at all in the big picture, trust me.
Acute stresses are manageable, so pick 1-2 days for the bulk of the gluttony and get it all out of your system. Hold it together for those other 5-9 days of vacation that could really do some damage if the party doesn’t die down. Be good those days – Not perfect, not great…just good.
Don’t fall into the common logic trap. A few days of celebration doesn’t make you fat and weak. You’ll probably just be fired up, fully rested and refueled when it comes time to resume hard training.
Trust me, you’re fine.
2. Brush your teeth!
If you really need to stop the onslaught of treats, breakout your toothbrush!
I first picked this trick up while dropping weight for USAW Nationals. Endless snacking can put you in a very real physiologic, psychological and behavioral trend where you will search for garbage both immediately after feeding and also the second you become hungry. Sure, the last thing you want right now is another damn sugar cookie, but just wait until after that succulent ham dinner.
The trick is to just brush your teeth. Hit those carb crushing chompers with a quick scrub. It’s amazingly effective at killing the desire for junk food and sweets.
3. Give it away, give it away, give it away now.
Human will power is finite, especially as fatigue and alcohol kick in. If there is crap food laying all around your house, you’re going to keep eating it.
Make the 4 pounds of Mac-N-Cheese. Bake the 20 dozen cookies, all that. But just get rid of if once you’ve had your fill. Give it away to friends, co-workers, or family members, anyone that could use a little vice and good ol’ Christmas spirit in their life.
Remember, if it lingers in your house or desk it will eventually linger all around your love handles. Enjoy yourself, then move on little soldier.
4. Satisfy your sweet-tooth with frozen fruit.
Did you know the sweetness index of Fructose (the form of sugar in fruit) is enhanced at colder temperatures?
If you are having a hell of a time kicking the dessert cravings, just start keeping some fruit in your freezer for quick snacking. It’s amazing what 6 frozen green grapes can do for silencing a killer sweet urge.
If you’re really going crazy, mix some of the frozen fruit with greek yogurt, some nuts, and a Stevia packet. Is it equivalent to my beloved Americone Dream? No! …But it does the job.
One flavor to rule them all.
5. Lemon water is your secret weapon.
There’s a lot of scientific evidence suggesting that flavoring your water generally enhances intake (i.e. it makes you drink more). This is a very good thing, as the signals for thirst are frequently mistaken in the mind for hunger.
Pour a tall glass of water with a large wedge of fresh lemon. Add a bit of Himalayan sea salt to taste, or maybe a packet of stevia towards the end of your meal for a sweet finish. This will really help to mitigate some of your naughtiness. Not all of it, of course, but that’s not really what we were going for, is it?
Give these tips a try and let me know how the gluttony goes, I’d love to hear about it. Until then, I wish you success, plenty of blessings, and an amazing Holiday season.