Holy moly, how did we get here already? I swear each year the holiday season creeps up on me faster and faster. We are 34 days away from Christmas and I haven’t bought one single present. Yep, I’m that person. The holiday season for me however, has never been about the gifts; it’s always been about the feasts! I love everything about them: getting together with friends you haven’t seen in a while over drinks, sitting around my parents’ house hanging with my sisters and taste testing mom’s latest creations, holiday potlucks at work, and this year I’m hosting my first Friendsgiving. It is the atmosphere of all those events that I love. Everyone is usually genuinely happy to be putting a pause on our fast paced lives and gather for a night of laughs and good company. It makes you feel like a carefree child again to bust out those traditions like the game of monopoly, or skip bo. The last thing I want to worry about when my family is dishing up their plates and sitting around the dinner table is weighing and measuring every little thing I’m putting on mine. Flexible eating is exactly that, flexible. It shouldn’t impact your life any more than it needs to. You should be able to enjoy these times while eating in a way favorable to your body composition and health. One of the biggest rules of a successful, SUSTAINABLE diet is that you can eat whatever you want, in moderation. We want you to head into your Thanksgiving meal this week confident in your food choices and to enjoy your time with your family. If you want a slice of pumpkin pie, have one! Dish yourself up a piece, enjoy every savory bite and then move on. Moderation is huge in flexible dieting success and one piece of pumpkin pie is not going to completely sabotage all your hard work. That being said, one piece of pumpkin pie, 3 sugar cookies, some fudge and a handful of sugared pecans will. Here are some tips I want you to keep in mind when heading to your holiday dinner:
#1 Hit your protein first. Fill your plate with the amount of turkey or ham you need to meet the remaining protein for the day. Didn’t pack your scale or just feel silly weighing at your weird Uncle Chester’s house? That’s okay. Guesstimate as close as possible, I’ll add a chart at the bottom of this post for you to reference for portion sizes using your hand, palm and fingertips when you are trying to guesstimate.
#2 Fill almost the rest of your plate with vegetables. These are nutrient dense and will fill you up without completely pushing you over on carbs and fats.
#3 Stay away from foods heavy in fats. Gravy, butter, stuffing, and Grandma’s cheesy casserole all contain higher fats and fats are very easy to go over on. By avoiding these items, you are giving yourself a better chance at staying as close as possible to your daily macros while guesstimating your meal.
#4 Knowing you are going to be enjoying a piece of pumpkin pie, or a serving of mashed potatoes at dinner, keep carbs and fats low in the start of your day, save them for your holiday meal.
#5 Enjoy the time with your family and stop stressing about being exact on your macros! By following the tips above and making SMART decisions about your food, you will not reverse all the hard work you’ve already put in. Choose wisely, keep moderation in mind, and go to bed happy knowing you didn’t eat until you were stuffed and you’re still headed in the right direction with your progress. That being said, if you are heaping your plate and eating as much as possible with the attitude of “I already messed up so I’m going buck wild!” you will probably wake up the next day feeling and weighing in heavier. Don’t let this be you, grab the bull by the horns, take control, have a plan and remember you have the power!