We’ve all heard that saying-when something is bittersweet and the two options in front of us seem to contradict each other, leaving us wondering where the grass actually is greener. You’ve probably been faced with this exact scenario over the holidays, but just in case you have forgotten, I’ll lay it out for you.
6am: You wake up to put the turkey in the oven, making sure you’ve seasoned it appropriately with rosemary and garnished with sides of carrots, onions and celery. Minutes after, you clean up the mess your kids made the night before to prepare for your company that will arrive in a few short hours, working your body hard enough that you might as well have done a 2k row.
Mid-day: Your turkey comes out of the oven, filling your house with a wonderful Thanksgiving aroma and making your mouth water for some delicious stuffing and gravy later on.
2pm: You put finishing touches on the pie and cookies, as well as sprinkle paprika on top of your deviled eggs, meanwhile, realizing you have yet to even fed yourself a few healthy egg whites and spinach for breakfast.
3pm: Your guests come over for the day and you watch them devour the meal that you worked so hard on and you listen to the children fighting over who gets the last piece of pumpkin pie. And what are you doing? Pulling a pre-packaged meal out of the refrigerator filled with three compartments of ground turkey, cranberry mash and green beans because those are the closest “healthy things” you could come up with to resemble Thanksgiving dinner.
Maybe this sounds familiar or maybe you are on the other side-heading over to someone’s house for Thanksgiving and filling up before you arrive on your pre-packaged paleo or macro prepped meals, just so you don’t “give in” to the wonderful meal set before you.
Well, the holidays are approaching and before you start wondering what meals to prep so you stay “healthy” over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years feasts, think about this: it actually IS possible to have your pie and eat it too.
The Renaissance Periodization (RP) team says there are 4 tips for enjoying a healthy maintenance lifestyle when eating over the holidays:
Tips for Enjoying Maintenance through the Holidays:
- DO NOT Skip Holiday Meals
- DO NOT Skimp on Holiday Meal Portion Sizes
- Adjust your Non-Festive Meals (making these appropriate for your regular healthy lifestyle)
- Keep Training HARD!
What they are referencing here is exactly what we all hope for-to enjoy the holidays but feel healthy at the end of them. Their team suggests indulging in 5-7 festive holiday meals throughout the season. That could be Thanksgiving day and the next day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Years Eve and a few more in between for office and gym holiday parties.
Why is this possible? Why is it okay to “cheat” on 7 meals over the holidays? The RP team has laid out some numbers for us to go by to understand water weight v. actual fat pounds gained from the holidays.
- Water weight always comes with holiday meals
- 5-8lb scale increases are not uncommon over the holidays – this is water weight!
- What 5lbs of actual fat pound increase would look like over the holidays in terms of calories, if you were honestly able to achieve this in a few short months:
- As long as your are continuing with normal fitness training and eating a regular healthy lifestyle, you would have to eat FIVE (5) meals of 3500 calories just to gain 5lbs of fat over the holidays! Thats eating 3 regular healthy meals in one day and then somehow stuffing your body with 3500 calories in one sitting, five times!
- 1 piece of pumpkin pie is 316 calories-that is a pie that has 9 slices and you eat one of them. That is ELEVEN (11) pieces of pumpkin pie in one sitting!
- Think about that in terms of gaining 10 lbs over the holidays – how many extra calories is that and can one person, who is a regularly energetic and fit individual who eats healthy on a normal basis, actually find enough room to put that many calories down in 10 separate sittings?
Use these numbers and information above when wondering if you are allowed to indulge this holiday season. Maybe even challenge your family on “steps” over the holiday. Pick a number as a group and work to get all the steps in before the end of the year. Gosh, it’s so important to have a healthy lifestyle, but would you trade the fun and fellowship with family and friends to keep on a tight “diet” for the holiday? What are you going to remember from the next few months? The laughter you shared, the pick up football games and carols you were able to sing after eating a few pieces of pie will stick in your mind forever. So, live a little. Have your pie and eat it too:)