The 3 Best Tips to Thrive in Your Holiday Eating

If you’re like me and nearly everyone else on the planet, the holiday season is a time to indulge! We look forward to it. We have a day literally dedicated to do just that! It can be difficult and downright stressful trying to figure out how we can manage our health and fitness goals, while enjoying the holidays the way we want to or even feel pressured to. We can’t eat EXACTLY how we want, but we can still enjoy these meals several ways without feeling the guilt that tends to follow. I mean, we may still feel guilty because you can’t always escape the discomfort from your pants feeling too tight or get away from the bloat, but we can feel confident knowing we didn’t break the calorie bank!

Here are my three practical strategies, you might already be familiar with them but they will still help and apply during the holidays!

Calorie Hoarding – an easy one! This is where you essentially bias the majority of your calories toward the big meal ahead. Now, you don’t want to just eat nothing all day, as that can cause you to overeat later and/or make you feel and be pretty miserable. You’ll want to consume high protein, and still try to lean towards satiating foods (like fruits and vegetables) ahead of the big meal. An example would go something like this: Say you had 2000 calories to eat each day…you may want to eat 800 calories throughout the day, and save 1200 calories for that evening meal that you can either track or not track! 

Calorie Borrowing – this one is a little harder depending on how many calories you’re eating day to day while dieting. That said, it can also be combined with Calorie Hoarding. With this strategy, you’ll want to shave off a few hundred calories for a few days prior and/or after the big day and add those “borrowed” calories to the big meal day, so that your weekly totals are still the same. An example of this would be: if you were consuming 2000 calories daily, you could shave off 200 calories 2 days prior and 2 days after and have an extra 800 calories for the big day to total 2800 calories.

Replace your next day’s breakfast with a protein shake and/or just choose to eat less. The third and maybe easiest strategy - I think this one doesn’t get talked about enough, yet it is so simple. You can still combine this one with the strategies above, but the nice thing about this strategy is that usually after a night of big eating our appetite is pretty low the next day. We could take advantage of this by just having a protein shake in the morning to still help promote satiety and ensure we’re getting adequate protein for our goals. For the meals that follow, we could seek out satiating lower-calorie foods to help continue to offset our indulgences, or if our appetite is really low, just eat much smaller portions than we’re used to. This is a strategy that you can play by ear on the day and go by how you feel! An example of this would be: if you ate 2000 calories a day with 4 equal meals, that would be about 500 calories a meal. Replacing your first meal with a shake would free up about 350 calories. Reduce the intake of your other meals and… I think you get the point!

Whatever way you choose to approach the big meals ahead, just know that they’re just a blip in your health endeavors! Where people struggle are all the days in between! It’s not those 3-5 big meals that set you back, but rather the not so obvious to blame leftovers, snacking, holiday treats, reduction in activity etc. that catches up to everyone.

Cash me in the kitchen,

Francesco Catalano

Coach, Master Athletic Performance