Holiday preparations, family visits, and epic meals… end-of-the-year festivities can make it feel impossible to avoid skipping workouts, gaining weight, and landing on January 1st with a momentous hangover.
That’s why I put together this Holiday Survival Guide.
It’s packed with the tips and tricks we use to help Precision Nutrition Coaching clients prioritize health, fitness, and nutrition no matter what life — including the holidays — throws at them.
Life can be calm and collected.
Or it can be frenetic and crazy.
The holidays, of course, offer a healthy dose of the latter.
Indeed, my wife and I have four little children — although it sometimes sounds like 97 of them — plus big extended families who like to visit for the festivities.
Oh, you should see our house.
Minions and princesses everywhere, bits of craft projects stuck to every surface, groceries to be put away, meals to be cooked and eaten, towels to be washed, and so many kids to be bathed and tucked in for sleep.
It’s really fun and it challenges our preferred eating and exercise schedules.
Yet, over the years, we’ve gotten really good at eating and exercising how we want, even during the holidays.
(There are some modifications, of course. And — don’t worry — lots of Christmas cookies.)
I’ve passed these strategies along to our Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them get the most health and fitness — along with fun and joy — out of their own holiday seasons.
And, today, I get to share this “Holiday Survival Guide” with you.
At Precision Nutrition we often say that your food and fitness strategies should be designed for your most hectic days — not just the easy, or perfect, ones.
So use these five, free, downloadable infographics (plus one short article) to eat and move more intentionally during the holiday season. I promise you’ll be feeling strong, confident, and in control no matter how frantic your days.
Holiday Survival Tool #1
Article: Eat slowly and to “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”
The most effective (and sanity-preserving) tool for holiday eating may also be the simplest one: Eat slowly. (And stop at “satisfied”, instead of “stuffed”).
This strategy helps you avoid overeating for two main reasons:
It takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.
When you slow down, “sense into”, and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less but enjoy what you’ve eaten more.
Indeed, when eating slowly (and stopping at “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”) you can try all the delicious foods on Grandma’s buffet without guilt or needing to “work it off later”.
For tips on how (and why) to eat slowly during holiday food fests, check out our full article on the topic, All about eating slowly.
Holiday Survival Tool #2
Infographic: How to stay in shape when you’re busy
It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming Precision Nutrition Coaching clients: Folks who want to get (and/or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to get derailed by the holidays and “fall off the wagon” for the entire year.
That’s why we came up with this simple workout, which you can do no matter where the holidays take you.
This plan takes only a few minutes a day, it requires minimal or no equipment, and it focuses on compound exercise (big muscles, big movements) which makes it very effective when you want a good movement session but have limited time.
To sneak in quick, effective workouts this holiday season, check out How to stay in shape when you’re busy [Infographic].
Holiday Survival Tool #3
Infographic: Eating well on the go.
The end of the year has most people bouncing from supermarket to mall to party to recital — not to mention the planes, trains, and automobiles routine if you’re traveling.
When you’re on the go, it can feel like navigating a nutritional minefield: Hunger signals overpowering, junk food everywhere, little time to sit down and eat your veggies.
Challenging, of course, but not impossible. With smart strategies you can eat well on the go no matter where life takes you.
To learn how to maintain your nutrition habits even while running around this holiday season, check out 25 ways to eat well on the go [Infographic].
Holiday Survival Tool #4
Infographic: How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake
What’s a Super Shake? It’s a nutrient-packed, delicious, liquid meal that you can whip up and drink while you help a 4-year-old glue googly eyes on felt reindeers.
You see, letting yourself get too hungry is one of the best ways to end up over-drinking and overeating. And during the holidays, you don’t always have the time to prep a nice, balanced plate of protein, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats.
Since Precision Nutrition Super Shakes include all four, they’re satisfying + nourishing. And they’re really easy to make.
For quick, healthy, filling, multitasking-friendly liquid meals, check out How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake [Infographic].
Holiday Survival Tool #5
Infographic: The best calorie control guide
Want to get through the holidays without losing strength? Without gaining extra weight and body fat? That’s all possible.
Sure, it’ll feel difficult with all that calorie-dense food in front of you. But your health can survive another year of Mom’s mostly-butter mashed potatoes and Aunt Marie’s pumpkin bourbon cheesecake if you just eat slowly and pay attention to portions.
No, no… not calorie counting. That’s often annoying, impractical, and inaccurate, especially at Christmas dinner. So try our “hand measure” system instead.
To learn how to use your hands to measure the best portions for you, check out The best calorie control guide [Infographic].
Holiday Survival Tool #6
Infographic: 3 steps for prepping (and loving) your veggies
Another effective strategy to avoid gaining weight and body fat during the holidays? Eat lots and lots of veggies. They’re water-dense, calorie-sparse, and full of the nutrients you need to keep your energy and mood up for holiday party #17.
The only problem? Many folks don’t love the taste of veggies, especially compared to ultra-palatable holiday food.
That’s why we recruited our top food magicians to create a simple 3-step formula for prepping healthy veggies in a way that’s delicious enough for a banquet table. Trust me, these have converted even the most hardcore veggie-phobes.