The time of the year where we celebrate with our loved ones. If you are planning a holiday or you are on a holiday then this post is for you.

Finish your proteins

Your lean meats, your nuts, your eggs, and even your beans. These are the things to eat first along with your greens. Most of us, instead, tend to immediately go for the delicious carby goodness. However, doing so might actually lead us to eat much more than had we eaten our proteins first.

Proteins are the most satiating, or filling food out of the three primary macronutrients of proteins, fats, and carbs. Time and again we have seen that people naturally eat less and gain less fat when consuming more protein. The lower fat gain might be attributed to protein’s higher cost of energy to break down in our bodies. Plus, protein is less likely to be metabolized for energy, where carbs in the form of glucose and fats in the form of fatty acids have much higher priority. This means less protein converted into fat.

Protein is also imperative to muscle protein synthesis, aka help you with your muscle gains. Get your proteins first, and honestly, not just for the holidays, but preferably all of your meals if you have a fat or weight loss goal.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all of the other fatty and carby dishes. You certainly still can just eat your protein first and maybe you’ll be satisfied enough with a smaller portion of the other dishes.

Cook yourself

It’s time to show off the cooking skills you’ve accumulated from all the hard work on meal prepping. Cooking yourself control the ingredients that go into the dishes. Like… adding more protein, Or less sugar, less oil, etc. This control means you can tailor a dish to be friendlier to yours and probably all of your family members’ goals. Sure, you wouldn’t want to change the recipes too much where the dish becomes too bland. But, at least knowing what IS going into your dish is better than not.

Let’s not forgot all the calories you will be burning in the kitchen. Cooking, especially for a big family, is no easy feat. So, get the oven heated and try not to burn the food as much as you’re going to burn the calories.

Plan ahead

In this case, every big, festive eating day should be treated just like a cheat day. Like any cheat day, sticking to a calorie deficit during this time would prove useful in order to mitigate all the damage you’re going to do. That means getting consistent exercise for as many days as possible and making sure your nutrition is in peak shape. The more days you can plan ahead, the better. For example, if you think you’re going to eat around 5,000 calories during the holiday, 3 weeks of a 240-calorie daily deficit is better 1 week of 715 daily calories. And it doesn’t have to be days before the holiday, but also days after.

A very strong exercise session on the day of your feasting is also a good idea so that you can take advantage of all the extra nutrients to feed your hungry muscles. And the thing is, you probably already KNOW that you SHOULD plan ahead.

Physical activity

As you draw closer to the holidays, start ramping up your exercises. Add a few more circuits to your MRT workouts, a few more minutes to your runs, or even a few more intervals on your HIIT sessions. The more days you add extra work, the more you can excuse yourself for stuffing your face.

But as great as increasing exercise can be, nothing is more effective than controlling the food you eat. And frankly, it’s much easier than exercising more. Knowing that you have a lot of feasting ahead, eating less beforehand can offset the expected extra calories. But, of course, that doesn’t mean to just go on an insane crash diet. The more days you dedicate to eating less beforehand the better. For Example, If you estimate that you’ll be eating 5000 more calories throughout the holidays, then offsetting that 5000 calories by eating 250 calories fewer each day for 20 days are better than forcing yourself to eat 1000 calories fewer for 5 days. In the end,  it all comes down to eating less and exercising more.

Forget eating less and working out!

You can just enjoy yourself and not worry about any of this. Quite honestly, a few pounds gained over the holidays is such a minor speck to the priceless time spent with your loved ones. It’s time to celebrate your accomplishments over the year and be proud of how far you’ve come. What’s a pound, two pounds, or even 5 pounds’ matter if it means you can’t enjoy yourself at a time in which it matters the most? Forget eating less than usual and forget working out more! Well, maybe you can use a few more workouts. But forget making your life more difficult and just be happy and enjoy your life.