Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Letting Go: Guilt Free Holiday Feast (err, feasts)

Hey Fit Fam ..

One of the things in life I find most difficult is -- letting go. This doesn't just pertain to my #FitLife.  I am just one of those people that has a hard time doing this in general. So it's only natural for me to get stressed during times that over indulging is possible.

A good example is when we went on vacation back in August. The first few days were mental torture. I analyzed everything I was eating and doing (or not doing) and worried about every single thing I ate. When we got to Starbucks and they didn't have sugar free pumps, you would think I was going to have a breakdown in the store, haha. My husband was like, "Stacy .. get the damn regular mocha in your coffee"- lol!! Aside from the one meal in moderation a day I was planning on having (since it was vacation) .. I found myself over analyzing everything anyway and stressing about all my other meals ... when this was VACATION! But I just couldn't "let go" of what was the norm for me now (eating clean, eating basic, eating every three hours). Much of it was fear of "rebounding" .. while much of it was simply habit. A good habit no doubt .. but we have to learn to let go sometimes! Thankfully after a couple days I managed to let the "guilt" not overcome me. However I still was "aware". I actually blogged about it -- it's called Beach Bod -- you can see it HERE. It all ended up being bunch of worry for nothing. Both weight and abs remained in total check!

But ..  it's happening again. The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is this week and I find myself doing the exact same thing. Analyzing everything I am about to eat tomorrow. Part of this is because I've already cheated (several times) this week because my competition season ended on Saturday! But part of it is just the innate INABILITY I have to just ... let go. There has to be a balance though....especially during the holidays!

The obvious would be to do as I've suggested in other blogs and just modify recipes. There is nothing wrong with trying to make your recipes HEALTHIER even for your holiday feast and most probably won't notice at all! I highly encourage it and wish everyone would have the same mindset. Here are a few examples of how I'm going to make the dishes I'm cooking a TAD healthier. As I walked through Kroger yesterday getting what I needed to make my gluten free dressing, gluten free corn casserole (per Doug's request) and a gluten free dessert -- instead of regular butter I got smart butter made with flax oil. Instead of full fat buttermilk and sour cream I opted for the fat free or reduced fat kind. Honestly -- I would love to attempt to make an all "healthier" holiday feast if I was having a small gathering or if it was just me and my hubs. I saw that QUEST has tons of really cool ideas for things like cornbread (which is used in dressing), sweet potato casserole, pies, etc., and wanted to make it all!! There are TONS of healthy holiday recipes out there and they all look SO good!! I think it would be a really fun challenge to make an all "cheat clean" Thanksgiving dinner!  I had Friendsgiving brunch last year (sadly I didn't have time to plan it this year) -- maybe next year I will host a Fitsgiving :)

But since most people don't think this way ... how do we let ourselves enjoy these days .. somewhat guilt free? How do we let go? I guess .. you just do it. I typically NEVER advocate a "full day gorge" and of course I'm going to preach "moderation" and also using your belly and not your eyes as an indicator of how much you eat. BUT .. Thanksgiving is a day that is all about taking a break from life and sitting down and enjoying a meal with those you care about. On this one day maybe food shouldn't be "feared" or over analyzed. If there is ever a day you should stop analyzing your macros... it's this precious day with your family.

If you are like me and go to the gym 5-6 days a week and eat on point 99% of the time .. then one even full day of "letting go" and being off of a "plan" is NOT going to hurt you. If you are new in your fitness journey could it set you back a little more than someone that is more dedicated -- maybe -- especially considering the typical person EASILY throws back around 3,500 calories in just ONE sitting on Thanksgiving. Now THAT is hard to "swallow" so to speak! But that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy yourself too. But this should motivate you to want to be healthy the rest of the year .. so that you can let go with minimal to no set back on special occasions/weeks! Whatever fitness category you fall into .. there are things we can all do to be able to eat your grandma's pie .. your aunts butter filled WHITE potatoes .. your moms honey baked ham and fatty side dishes galore .. and feel a little less guilty!

1 - GET IN A PRE FEAST LIFTING WORKOUT!!!  Most of us think that it will be more beneficial to go do cardio for an hour. But I'm always an advocate for lifting over cardio if you have to choose one of the two.  Not only are you burning calories while you are at the gym lifting .. you will burn them all day long (unlike traditional cardio)! Plus if you can get in your workout close to when you are going to be eating that high sugar/high carb meal .. all that extra food could be beneficial! Your muscles need certain nutrients to recover from your workout so they can grow ... so instead of your typical post workout meal .. use your Thanksgiving feast as muscle (booty) fuel!! Granted .. muscle recovery is best in that "power hour" and certain foods are obviously better than others (I typically have 1st Phorm Phormula One Protein & Ignition) still sounds like pretty good good logic to me, lol! So I say ... get up, get your cooking going and then go hit the gym and lift hard for at least an hour. Maybe do a full body workout that consists of lots of super-sets and very little "rest time". If cardio makes you mentally feel better .. then tack on a 15 min session to wrap up your workout! Then go feast as soon as possible! If your gym is closed ... don't let that be your excuse! If you don't have any gym equipment at home .. I would suggest a good Plyo workout!!

2 - GET IN A POST DAY WORKOUT!!! I know many of you will be Black Friday shopping and I suppose that could be good cardio, haha. But today is a great day to go hard in the gym. It may even be a good day to experiment with a Glycogen Depletion workout! So get up .. don't eat .. and go do some fasted cardio and/or a fasted workout! GET RIGHT BACK ON TRACK!!! This means NOT taking home leftovers from grandmas house! If you are hosting .. send everyone else home with them or take them to a neighbor or someone in need!

3 - DO NOT Starve yourself all day!! That is right .. eat normal the rest of the day. Banking calories is something MANY do. Even many in the #fitfam do something called IIFYM (if it fits your macros) type diets and "save" calories for bigger meals or occasions. I personally don't like this approach for many reasons. But each their own! The bottom line is that you should TRY to treat holidays just like any other cheat meal!  Get up and have a healthy breakfast, eat every 3 hours as you would/should be doing -- right up until it's time for Thanksgiving lunch/dinner. You will be less likely to OVER indulge and also keep your metabolism high (that is what eating frequently does).  Maybe make your portions smaller for those other meals of the day, or cut the carbs/fats in half of what you would normally have in those meals. For example .. I normally have a mug cake for breakfast with fruit.  But instead .. I'll have a Muscle Egg Crepe (just flavored egg whites) with maybe a tiny bit of low carb/sugar greek yogurt as icing, or if I want to be festive, maybe a little pumpkin as a filling instead of  the peanut butter I would normally put in/on it!  As for after dinner .. just just like a normal cheat meal .. don't force yourself to eat again 3 hours later if you are too full. Skip that next meal...or maybe even split your holiday plate into two very small ones instead of one big full plate This could be necessary anyway for those of you that have more than ONE stop to make.  Which brings me to tip #4.

4 - Make it a HoliDAY not a HoliWEEK -- It's probably unrealistic to think that a holiday is going to be just a single cheat meal for most. The reality is .. it is going to be a full day of being off track. So if you can't stick with tip number 3 and it's going to be a full day of splurging .. at least try to keep it to just that .. one day. I know this can be really tough for many of us though because we split up our time at numerous relatives houses! It's going to be really hard for me at Christmas. I go home for almost a full week. I have a Christmas Eve-Eve dinner at my dads, followed by a Christmas Eve breakfast, then a Christmas Eve dinner with my sisters family and then Christmas day is not only lunch at my moms .. but sausage balls for breakfast and lots of "snacks" laying around pre-dinner! So it makes it really hard to not over indulge for just one day .. but several!! I wish I had some magic advice for this...but their aren't many options. You could ask your family to make some healthy options for you to have. Since our Christmas Eve breakfast is always pancakes .. I think I'm going to teach my dad how to make them using my basic batter base, lol :)  You can also just have really small amounts of everything since you know you are going to be cheating a lot. For many, the week of a holiday is their vacation though. If that is the case and this is your one or two weeks a year you take off -- treat it that way!! See my VACATION blog I linked earlier for some relative tips! If you find yourself in this spot -- I would say just try to get in some workouts and just being aware/limit what all you are eating!

5 - Moderation!! It's going to be tempting to pile your plate full and eat until you feel sick. Try to have some self control. Make sure you are drinking lots of water that day and just have a "little" of everything that you want! Eat SLOW and enjoy every bite! If you want more than one brownie or piece of cake. Wait a few moments and see if the temptation for "more" passes!

6 - Don't Dwell!! What's done is done. The next day you will be bloated and have tons of extra water weight. Try not to jump on a scale and beat yourself up because it will in no way be an accurate number. Just get back on track (as mentioned above) and give your body a few days to regulate/adjust. But remember you can only have these full splurge days (or several days in some cases) so many times without it taking a toll on your body and all the hard work you have put in -- and December will likely be packed full of temptations. So start planning out the next few weeks. Lots of parties, lots of food, lots of alcohol. Make sure you aren't slacking on clean eating on non party days and make sure you are going hard at the gym everyday! With a little planning (eating before you go, planning your cheat meal around party days, taking a healthy side you know you can enjoy guilt free, and enjoying other stuff in moderation) .. we should be able to have minimal damage this holiday season!

Now .. let's hope I can "let go" and practice what I preach :)  I've talked about before FINDING BALANCE in other blogs and this is so very important this holiday season! But as important as it is to take care of ourselves .. it's also important to give ourselves a break .. stop obsessing and enjoy time with our friends & family! We work hard .. we deserve it!

Gobble...Gobble :)

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