Holidays: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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If any of you are like me (which I think most of the US is this way) but the holidays are really hard on my nutrition. It is filled with holiday parties, travel and a great social time. These are all great things but I get exhausted, stressed and bloated from all the food. Regardless of if its sweets, carbs, or actually healthish food I end up just eating way way too much. Here’s how my 2018 holiday season played out and how I dealt with the obstacles and celebrated some wins but also had to deal with the losses.

In my last blog post I went over my Thanksgiving and early December so I’m not going to relive that hear, if you’d like to check that out its Fat Loss Chronicles: So Close I can Taste It. The holidays I’m going to go over is Christmas to New Years. This officially started for me December 21st.

I had made a decision to not drive home (back to my parents in Iowa) on Friday the 21st because I knew after a day of coaching and work I would make bad choices. So instead I planned to have a movie night with Nate and Dina. We had pre-planned to eat BBQ Productions so I had scheduled my entire eating day around this. How I do that is, I go online the night before and pick foods that fit into my current eating goals. Then I put that into myfitnesspal and build the rest of my day around that. So I did that 20th and I was very happy about my decisions of what to eat and how to make that work. I also knew that if I was traveling Saturday for 7.5hrs that I would need food for the trip. So I planned the food I wanted to travel with and I got groceries for the trip Friday morning. I made sure that I had a plan for the foreseen obstacles instead of using these obstacles as an excuse for why I ate badly. Friday night was a success and I hit my exact goals for the day win!

My takeaways from the really are that if I have a well laid out plan and hold myself accountable to the plan then I can handle it. So overly planning is very important for me. Saturday’s drive went better than any I have had in terms of food. I ate a good breakfast in the morning and ate a lot of protein on my drive. I had a family Christmas party that evening so I knew I wanted to save carbs for that.

I got home and immediately was bombarded with the fact there was Christmas cookies and food everywhere, especially sweets. I have always been a sweet tooth guy more than salty. I however was feeling strong so I planned out my dinner at my parents’ house first and ate all the rest of the food I could to fit my macros plan. I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to eat at the party. This worked great, I used will power and strategies to keep me from eating at the party and had no real issues.

One of the biggest tips that works great for me at parties is always refilling my water and not talking over food. Sunday the 23rd started off great. Ate an omelet with the family in the morning and had set up a plan to eat in the afternoon. I created a tentative plan of the foods mom told me that would be there. My sisters all started walking in with gobs of cookies and treats. I knew it was going to be very hard to just use will power. I mentally was fighting my urges a lot. I didn’t snack on any treats however and wait until dinner to eat. The family decided to have pizza for dinner and I knew I was in trouble. I had all the food I could need in the fridge but I knew I wanted to eat pizza. I designed a strategy to just eat one slice then eat ham and asparagus after that. Well let’s say that didn’t go as planned. After that it became the snow ball effect. The issue is it carried over from the pizza to then eating cookies in the evening and hammering desserts. I had let the flood gates open and the rest of the night was a blur. I went to bed with an upset stomach.

Christmas eve started off decent again, ate a nice prepped meal for breakfast and had an ok lunch. It was a little higher in carbs. I later agreed to have a fry night with my brothers family and I knew right away I was in trouble there. Before I headed over there though my parents wanted to grab some gyros. No biggy, I could get one gyro I figured, haven’t had them in forever. However, the Greek place was closed so my sister wanted to grab Chinese. I knew I was eating at my brothers but I wanted to not disappoint my fam. So I ordered some food at the Chinese restaurant and figured I can have it later, just a little bit now. I actually did a very good job of these, and only had soup and a small serving of orange chicken. Later, I went over to my bro’s house and they made fried moz sticks, fried beef pieces and much more. I definitely didn’t do a good job eating and I started to not feel good. My body has been so used to a healthy diet the bad meals were taking their toll. Because all these crappy foods were in my system I was struggling with will power and started eating gummy worms and other sweets.

My takeaway is being willing to say no and not worry about hurting peoples feelings when it comes to food. In all honesty, they would have all been perfectly fine with me eating healthy because they all know that’s how I eat, but it was me self-sabotaging and caving because now I had an excuse.

Christmas day I woke up not feeling great because my gut was distressed. But Then I decided to trust my instincts when it came to eating. This is where the next 9 days went wrong. Even though I have been working very hard on improving my eating strategies and discipline, once you kind of turn off your restrictions is really hard to get them back on. For breakfast I had some donuts that were in the house. For lunch, I had my left over orange chicken which always gets my sweet tooth going. At dinner that night I was out of control. I kept eating sweets, way too much carbs (potatoes, green beans), and deviled eggs. After this I noticed that I kept snacking throughout the night.

After looking back at this day, the biggest mistake I made was not planning and letting the night before carry over. I didn’t make a plan figuring I had already screwed up. I let the multiple bad nights get to me instead of overcoming the obstacles like I did all year. Just like everyone else, I really struggle at Christmas. Our family holidays are always so wrapped around food that I personally fear going home for the holidays because they set me into a 2 week spiral trying to recover from them.

I drove back to Illinois on 26th and ended up coming down with a nasty head cold that I got from the family. So from the 26th to the 1st, I used “feeling sick” as an excuse to eat badly. I literally ordered food for 2 meals a day all this time. And they were by no means healthy choices. I wasn’t so sick that I couldn’t function and I definitely could have made food. This is a mode I go through when I’m feeling sorry for myself. My natural tendency is to eat really badly. I have no idea where it comes from in my history but when I don’t feel good or down in the dumps I turn to crappy food. Let’s just say by January 1st I felt a wreck. I weighed in 12 lbs heavier than I did on December 22nd…..that was a tough pill to swallow.

On the 1st though, I had gotten my energy back and got back to work. I knew the 12lbs wasn’t body fat so I just needed to get back to my normal eating routine. It did take about 2 weeks but after that I was back to my normal weight. Our bodies do hold onto that stress and retain a lot of fluid when sick and eating bad so the weight gain was mostly from those issues.

My main point of writing this article was to let everyone see that the holidays derail all of us. Regardless of my normal eating habits and my discipline we can all fall victim to the holidays. But we can use a victim mentality or take extreme ownership and say I need to do better. Whenever the next holiday with my family is, I will use this moment to improve and try to start enjoying the time I have with my family and less about the food disaster that always seems to happen.



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