If you’re anything like me, the holidays always start out extremely joyful and end in a painful stomach ache from too much food and a pounding migraine from too much family time. And if you’re really like me, the holidays also end in a much-needed shopping trip to replace the wardrobe that is now somehow too small to be socially acceptable as an adult over the age of 22.
We spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas in Nashville with Jack’s (extremely large) family. That translated into four different home-cooked holiday meals paired with countless festive treats, scrumptious desserts, and plenty of drinks. How can you resist homemade red velvet cake, rice crispie treats and toffee pretzels? You can’t.
What I Did:
After I finished my short cut to lose ten pounds, I knew I wanted to optimize the winter and holiday season by strategically finding a maintenance level that allowed me to increase strength while minimizing fat gain and actually enjoying the holidays. My caloric intake leading up to the holidays was about 1,700 – 1,800 calories.
Leading up to Thanksgiving, I crept my way up from about 165 grams of carbohydrates to 230 grams, increasing incrementally every week.
Protein remained at a constant 145 grams.
Fat slowly increased from about 45 grams to around 55 grams.
All in all, I was totaling around 2,000 calories and still incorporating some cardio into my workouts. While we were home, I stuck to my macros pretty strictly and we cut back on one of our favorite pastimes: dining out.
When we were in Nashville for the holidays, I made sure to eat a light meals throughout the day which included things like oatmeal and egg whites for breakfast and maybe a sandwich for lunch. I took an intuitive approach to eating and didn’t track my macros at all. Then at dinner, I allowed myself to indulge in all the delicious foods that were offered utilizing the portion control practices I implemented during my cut.
Did I overeat? Probably. Did I care? Not really.
Jack and I made the decision together that we would make sure to work out every day while we were in Nashville even though we didn’t have a full-size gym at our disposal. Luckily for us, we had a good array of dumbbells and the Tennessee hills at our fingertips. Some days I went for a long run and other days I did high intensity interval workouts using body weight or dumbbells. Regardless, we worked out every day and while that might not have negated the excessive calories, it definitely gave us peace of mind.
Traveling can be tough if you are trying to maintain your weight. Luckily for us, Nashville is only about a 4 hour drive from Atlanta so we are able to get by with some heavy snacks to avoid the hangry everything-you-do-annoys-me arguments that tend to happen during long road trips.
Some of our favorite road trip snacks:
– Quest bars (staple Jack & Sarah traveling item)
– peanut butter sandwiches
– granola bars
What I learned:
The most important lessons I learned from this holiday season was that intuitive eating is your best friend and being strategic with the holidays makes a huge difference. Coming from me, I know it can be extremely hard when there are so many temptations around, but do what you can to set yourself up for success. Complete your workout even when you are feeling lethargic from last night’s dinner. Have a taste of everything, but don’t go crazy. Listen to your body. And don’t forget…