Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Staying Sensible Over the Holidays

Well, this is the time of year that we all enjoy indulging a bit. That is fine, that is what makes us human. Hopefully you have worked hard for most of the year keeping your diet relatively clean and exercising regularly, so why not go a little overboard for the holidays and celebrate! The problem that some of us run into, is that we may completely throw our inhibitions out the window at this time of year and can erase much of the progress we have made throughout the year.

Below are a few tips and ideas on how stay sensible.

1) Eat before you go - Many of us will be attending holiday parties and family get-togethers where there will be plenty to consume. Drinks and snacks, not to mention large meals are a staple at this time of year. There is a tip, that you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you should also never attend a holiday event on an empty stomach. Try having a healthy snack and few glasses of water right before you go to try and fill your belly. I recommend some vegetables because they are high in fibre and will give you that 'full' feeling. Protein and some healthy fat also goes a long way to keeping you feeling 'full'. Have some yogurt or a handful of unsalted almonds or peanuts to hold you over longer. Going to a party feeling ravenous will end up causing you to go crazy on the junk food.

2) Aim for veggie platter - If you feel like grabbing some food when you arrive, head straight for the veggie platter. This is for a couple of reasons; one, this way you will start to fill up on healthy foods high in fibre first. Also, they are high in water content and low in calories so you can fill up your stomach with little calorie hit, so that when you are grabbing some cheese balls, you won't be eating as many.

3) Protein - Aim for snacks that are higher in protein but low in carbs. Try and avoid starchy snacks that are drizzled with sauce, instead aim for the turkey slices or cold meat platter. Just not too many because cold meats tend to be pretty high in salt.

4) All calories add up - People tend to forget that alcohol counts towards your calories as well. For example, an average bottle of beer has around 150 calories. So if you are having a drink or two, you may want to stay away from the foods, and vice versa. If you plan on having a few snacks and a drink, remember to cut back on both or they can really add up!

5 ) Be a chatty Patty - The more time you are socializing, the less time you are probably going to be snacking. Try and mingle and catch up with people that you may not have seen all year so that you are talking as much as possible. This works for your dinner as well. Talk and enjoy the company during dinner and take your time eating. Savor the foods you are eating and enjoy every bite. You will start to fill full sooner and not need to unbuckle your belt.

6) Plate size - At your meal, if you have a choice, choose a smaller plate. Studies have shown that people consume less if they have less room on their plate to put their food. Not everyone has that choice though, so another option would be to, *GASP* put less food on your plate. You can still enjoy all of your holiday favorites, just try them in small quantities instead.

7) Get back on the horse - There is nothing better than following a cheat day up with a really good workout and diet day. Everyone gets those post-holiday blues where the holidays are over and all you are left with is a credit card bill and a larger waistline. Get your feel good hormones flowing by doing a workout on Boxing day or the day after, then continue that trend for the days following. Many of us have some time off over the holidays, there should be no reason why you can't fit a workout in!

This is the time of year that we all cheat, so don't beat yourself up too badly about it. Just don't let things get out of hand. I will leave you with some parting stats on how much exercise it would take to burn off the following indulgences:

2,100 jumping jacks: This exercise will sweat off the calories in 1 cup of egg nog
280 pushups: Sheds the calories in one glass of wine
1 hour, 30 minutes of calisthenics: Burns off a serving of nuts
2 hours of moderate walking: Eradicates one slice of pecan pie
13 minutes of jumprope: This activity will make that shot you took last night a distant memory

-Tyler Robbins B.Sc. PTS