Body Image · Christmas · Fat Loss · Fitness · Holidays · Nutrition · Self-Confidence

The Holidays Aren’t About Fat Loss

Christmas is about Mom’s butter tarts, mercilessly beating your family at board games, and merrily returning to your seat by the fireplace with your 4th liquored coffee in hand before 10 am.  (No one notices because they’re captivated by cute, innocent children opening presents.)

The holidays are about taking extra time to notice the little miracles in our lives.  Unless you’re a competitive athlete needing to make your weight class in the first week of January, this time of year is not about fat loss.

So, for a day or two or four over the next few weeks, I suggest you toss your perfectionism down as if it were a lump of coal you got in your stocking, and replace it with a butter tart.  And, just to make sure it doesn’t leave one hand and creep back into the other, fill your free fist with a festive adult bevvy.

Liquor in my coffee?  Don’t mind if I do!

If you’re looking for another “How to stick to your macros and achieve your goals through the holidays” post, this isn’t it.  You don’t need to read another article that’ll make you feel bad for having some fun this Christmas season.  This blog is about enjoying the holidays without eating and drinking your way into a self-inflicted hole you have to fight your way out of come January 2nd.

Here’s how to use blissful balance to stay friends with the scale throughout the holidays:

  1. Use the 80-20 rule from today until January 2nd

Eat whole, unprocessed foods 80% of the time, and fill the 20% with butter tarts, candied yams, pumpkin pie, wine, and hot drinks spiked with Irish Cream.  If you’re going to let loose a little Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, make sure you factor those days into your 20% in advance.  For me, this looks like:

  • Eating 5-7 cups of veggies a day most days, and probably none except for the green onions on top of Mom’s seven-layer dip on Christmas day.
  • Getting most of my carbs from whole food sources like rice, oats, sweet potatoes, and potatoes, but still having a Christmas cookie if someone offers me one.
  • Sticking to water, tea, or black coffee as the norm, but polishing off an entire bottle of wine to my 125-lb self Christmas Eve, and recovering from that with Bailey’s in my coffee Christmas morning.
  • Eating a balanced breakfast on December 27th even when the baking tray is calling my name, because I know I got friendly enough with it over the past few days.

By applying this rule, you’ll prevent a one day free-for-all from becoming a two-week festival.  You’ll enjoy treats more because you’ll keep them special instead of turning them into the norm.

  1. Gourmet up your boring meals

I believe we get so fired up about cakes and pies, because a lot of us are eating plain, overcooked chicken and dry rice the rest of the time.

  • Get on Pinterest and find some fun recipes to spice up your sweet potatoes or beef up your meat prep.
  • Go out and buy fresh herbs, and spend a little extra on local foods you’re excited to prepare.
  • I also recommend a ridiculous Christmas apron. You don’t have to only wear it for baking pies.  Also use it for delicious lean meat and veggie-packed stir-fries.
In a cute Christmas apron, even squashes seem fun!
  1. Dig into calorie-free delights
  • Double up your yoga pants, ladies, put on your parka, and take the dog for a walk letting yourself feel the crisp winter air against your face.
  • Buy yourself a peppermint body scrub and some essential oils and turn your regular old bath tub into a spa-like experience.
  • Put on your coziest socks and curl up by the fireplace with a new book or an old friend.

Look for ways to feed your soul and not just your belly.  Santa’s joy doesn’t only come from the cookies he gets at every house he visits, but also from the spirit of giving and the beauty of the season.  Be like Santa.

  1. Get your fitness on with different workout partners
  • Do a sister workout in the garage gym, and come up with the training plan together. Consider it a healthy, grown-up way to continue with the torture you inflicted on each other in childhood.  Nothing says bonding like shared struggle.
  • Dust off the cross-country skis and discover a new trail with your long-lost cousin. The things we love are amplified when we share them.

Imagine a world where we split fitness just like we portion out pumpkin pies. Imagine a world where we split fitness just like we portion out pumpkin pies. via @idealistisabel

5. Don’t freak out

You generally have to take in an extra 3500 calories above what you burn to gain a pound of body fat.  That’s really hard to do in a day, but quite easy if you let holiday eating turn into a week-long food festival.

Allow yourself a little freedom and take comfort in knowing that any up-to-four pound fluctuations on the scale are probably water retention from a little extra salt, sugar, and/or alcohol.  Your weight should normalize after a few days of getting back to your usual healthy habits.  Drink lots of water.  Eat your veggies.  Get your rest.

In Summary:

Get comfortable with the scale staying steady this holiday season.

  • Use the 80-20 rule
  • Get fancy with real food
  • Treat yourself with calorie-free experiences, and
  • Get your sweat on with your fit fam and friends.

For a few days, let your belly be warmed by mulled wine, hot cocoa, or coffee with Irish cream and your heart be heated by witnessing wide-eyed children unwrap the latest and greatest toys.

The holidays are about little miracles, and not about fat loss.The holidays are about little miracles, and not about fat loss. via @idealistisabel

The weight loss can wait until January 2nd.



Want to lean out in 2017?  Preorder by Nutrition eBook here.  It includes my entire 14-week nutrition program, a guide for eating on the road, dozens of recipes, and more!  Presale ends Boxing Day.

Related Articles:

Stop Fearing the Holiday Scale: Have your Holidays, and Eat too! (Part 1)

Stop Fearing the Holiday Scale: Festive Training 101 (Part 2)

Stop Fearing the Holiday Scale: Find your Bat(wo)man (Part 3)

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