The Holiday season is in full swing, when many juggle office parties, meet-ups over drinks, even quick trips out of town to drink beer and play really bad hockey. Ho ho ho.
Despite the festive vibe, a few clients have reached out to say they feel a little down. And it’s all Thanksgiving’s fault.
Thanksgiving (at least the US version) is a 4-day disruption that arrives at the worst possible time: it’s still a full month before Xmas, yet its close enough to party season that many are just regaining their post-Turkey Day eating/sleeping/training rhythm when the next round of social debauchery begins.
For some of my unhappy clients it’s almost too stressful and they want to pull the pin. Not on their diet, but on attending any dinners or parties. So they can stay “in control” and continue to make progress.
Associating holidays and family with food anxiety is a big black hole as it leaves you with two undesirable outcomes: attend the function and stress about calories and nonsense, or skip it altogether and choose “your diet” over socializing.
Either way, it will eventually turn you into a burnt-out shell of the person you once were; the person everyone loved.
I’ve seen it many times. Maybe even lived it. Don’t do it.
Here’s some advice:
1) Don’t hold yourself to an unrealistic or impossible standard. If you have a busy social schedule don’t expect to track your macros to the gram 7 days a week. Maybe plan to use “best practices” when eating out as opposed to tracking? (Veggies and lean proteins, limit starch, no sweets, eat slowly, one drink, etc).
2) Be selective with your schedule. You don’t have to attend every damn party you’re invited to. Nor do you have to stay all night and wake up in the laundry hamper.
3) Plan your cheats. This works really well. Use a calendar and block off the “must-attend” parties/dinners for the month. These are the events most dear to you and my advice is to just show up and “be in the moment.”
Focus on the people, not food or booze. The remaining days of the month go EXTRA strict with tracking and prepping. You might even consider a calorie deficit these days. It works.
4) Plan to drop the hammer January 2nd. I use the last few weeks of December to make a lot of business and personal goals, including training and dieting plans. I plan what I hope to accomplish every quarter, and what steps (diet, exercises, and lifestyle) will be required to get me there.
This should include the most process-oriented steps, such as meal plans, shopping lists, and proposed daily scheduling that considers ALL aspects of your life.
Knowing that you have a well thought out, robust plan just ready to drop January 2nd can relieve a lot of stress when you’re staying with family and drinking egg nog with every meal.
The time to get after it s coming. Enjoy life’s blessings today.
Be in the moment.
Ebb and Flow
Truth and Kindness
Happy Holidays