Holiday Survival, Iron & Spice Style

With just a tiny bit of intention, you too can enjoy the remainder of the holiday season without guilt. And I don't mean this in the way that suggests that my tips will involve gutting it out at every holiday party eating out of Tupperware, or turning down the snowman cookie made by your kid because you're afraid the gluten and sugar will make you fat, or working out like a mad person for 5 hours each day to offset your eggnog consumption (or not working out at all, because what's the point if you can only get to the gym twice this week anyway?)

I like to be reasonable. I like to help people design lives that make them feel confident and powerful. I like it when people can celebrate the holidays with good food, not a giant ball of stress and crazytown. The holidays don't have to be a free-for-all that leads into the saddest January, and they don't have to be filled with restriction. They can just be. And so can you.   

1) PRIORITIZE: I talk a lot about consistent good choices trumping perfection that's unsustainable. If you know that the next two weeks are stacked with parties and running around, take a second to set what's non-negotiable. Be realistic when you do this. Maybe you can't make it to the gym every day but you can make it 3 days a week - you can ramp this back up when things calm down in January, but it's much better to come in 3x per week then to throw up your hands because you can't get in here 5 times, say eff it, and stop altogether. Maintenance is real.

Also - fun science fact - around a hard workout your body is PRIMED to use dense carbohydrates the right way! This is in complete opposition to the idea that we all grew up with of "burning off" foods with endless hours on the elliptical, and WHOA NELLY - I'm not at all saying you have to
"earn your cookies."(Seriously, I will never say that.) But you can be strategic about using times of higher than normal carb intake to your advantage. Instead of berating yourself for sneaking an extra scoop of icing - try visualizing that sugar rush as fuel for your muscles to get stronger.  Snatch a heavier kettlebell or run a little faster! I love being strong and active every day, but especially at this time of year. 

2) BE CHOOSY: I said this about Halloween candy and I'll say it again. Just because it's in front of your face doesn't mean you have to eat it. You can say no to stuff that isn't that good (office fruitcake?) Instead, eat a few cookies that you made with your kids and drink your grandma's real, full-fat eggnog. Life is short.

3) PARTY SMART. I don't always love the tip of eating a healthy snack BEFORE the party because I find myself filling up a plate when I get there even if I'm not really hungry. What I do like to do is treat it much more like a normal meal - i.e. Let myself be just "ready to eat", not ravenous, fill my plate with protein or veggie based offerings, and then pick one or two treats to enjoy with purpose after i eat the other stuff. Keep the #5burpee rule in mind. And be mindful of your alcohol consumption, too. It's a lot harder to remember your "why" after 4 glasses of prosecco.

4) KNOW THYSELF and be honest: Continue to be mindful of what foods cause you to go apeshit. Gluten free treats are still very calorie dense treats! Maple syrup and date sweetened things are still sweetened. I love that we have ways to enjoy these things if the real versions make us sick but it's easy to put a golden halo of health over those alternative versions.

5) KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON: telling yourself something is forbidden is the best way to make yourself want it more. Enjoying a few extra treats with real joy, not guilt, won't reverse any progress you've made. I promise.

PSSST....I'm hosting Recharge, an eight week, habit based, group nutrition program at FUELHOUSE GYM, and it begins mid-January! This program is open to members and non-members alike (click here for registration details). If you're tired of dieting in a way that makes you feel restricted, tired , guilty and hungry, let's hang! We use a magical combination of group cameraderie, individualized support, and workouts that are fun as hell to make you ENJOY your journey to better health.  I'm kicking it off with a 90 minute NUTRITION SEMINAR and Q&A on Jan 9th at 10am (register HERE).