THEY SAY: “Bring Your Own Food…”
Flourish and Nourish: You can’t be serious… Are you REALLY telling me to bring my own food to a party and I can’t eat what someone else is making? Here’s the truth: You won’t necessarily gain weight because of the foods you eat at the parties you go to… Rather it’s the foods you eat the days leading up to and after the parties that are the problem. So, NO… You don’t have to be “that gal” that brings your own meal to the party. There’s a better way.

THEY SAY: “Pick Protein Only…”
Flourish and Nourish: I see what they are trying to do here… But are you really just going to eat turkey and ham all night? No thank you. Holidays were meant to be enjoyed, and that includes eating foods like mashed potatoes and stuffing. You just need to prepare your body a little bit. I’ll show you how in a moment.

THEY Say: Don’t Eat Sugar…
Flourish and Nourish: Again… I see what they are saying BUT holiday desserts are some of the best around (can I get an AMEN to that?!). With what you’re about to learn, you can eat all the desserts you want and not worry about the weight gain.

THEY Say: Eat Slow And Skip Seconds…
Flourish and Nourish: First… Getting seconds is the best part of Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Second, are you really going to monitor your chew speed at the dinner table? Just eat the foods you like and ENJOY them. Don’t worry about chewing slower or whether you should get seconds or not. When in doubt, get seconds 🙂

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about how you can limit the damage and possibly be leaner before the New Year ball drops in Time Square. Here are the 3 easy steps you should take.

STEP #1
Incorporate Flexible Intermittent Fasting
(keep this flexible and very moderate)
Especially around the Holidays when your diet is probably going to be a little worse than any other time of year, Intermittent Fasting is one of the best ways to stay lean while eating more of the foods you love. 

Simply put, intermittent fasting allows you to enjoy your foods in what I call an “eating window”. All other hours outside your eating window will be for fasting.
Now, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. Personally, I recommend a much more flexible approach. Usually fasting for 10-14 hours is all you need and a great starting point. What this means is each day you will fast for 10-14 hours and then have an eating window where you eat all your foods.

Because most parties and holidays happen in the afternoon or evening, a great option would be to fast from 8PM the night before until 8-10AM the next day (as an example). Now, this doesn’t mean that if a party goes later into the evening that you have to automatically stop eating. These are just loose guidelines. An hour or two of extra eating won’t make a massive difference, so enjoy yourself and go until the party ends.

It’s important to note here that you will still be eating the same number of calories that you normally would, you are just eating them in a shorter time frame. Always remember to eat when you are hungry and until you are satisfied!

STEP #2
Cycle Your Carbs Each Week
(for every 1-3 lower carb days, include one high carb day)
Along with Intermittent Fasting, you could also be cycling your carbohydrates this Holiday Season. That means cycling between low and high carb days.

This is key to being able to eat anything and everything at the parties you go to. For example, let’s say that today is Monday and you have a party or Holiday on Thursday. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I would recommend following a low carb and high protein diet.
When Thursday comes, that’s your High Carb Day where you can go and eat anything at the party.
As a rule of thumb, for every 1-3 low carb days you have, enjoy one high carb day.
Consider party days as high carb days so that you can eat all the delicious food.
Following this simple outline of carb cycling will make a big difference in the results you see.

At the very least, have at least one low carb day before the party then have another low carb day immediately after.

STEP #3
Always Workout the Day Of and Day After The Party (unless you are hungover and can’t bear the thought of it!)

Following the first two steps, will help you with the food aspect of holiday damage limitation, but as you know, it’s not just about what you eat, you need to move your body!
To really help matters, you’ve got to make sure to get in your workouts ESPECIALLY the day of the party and the day after the dinner/party.
I recommend doing 30-minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) the morning of or a few hours before your party, then doing another one the very next day (depending on how you are feeling!) at the very least go for a brisk, long walk.

An intense 30-minute interval workout will extend your fat burning for hours after your workout is complete, so while you are at the party, you’ll be burning calories thanks to the afterburn effect of that workout.

STEP #4
Last but certainly no means least, I will have the 80/20 rule in the back of my mind, because if all else fails, I know I can count on that to keep me mindful. If you missed last weeks newsletter click on this link to find out more about the 80/20

If you can follow those 4 simple guidelines during this Holiday Season, you are going to limit the damage, you may even get leaner while everyone else around you is wondering how the heck you are doing it, and if someone dares to mention the fact you are eating second helpings of pie, tell them Zoë said it was ok 😉 Don’t forget to send me your pie pics!

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About Zoë Dodds

Life, Health, and Fitness Coach

Zoë has a passion for helping and empowering women to the best version of themselves.

With 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, she delivers inspiration and wealth of knowledge to her clients, some of which she shares in her blog and weekly newsletters.

Originally from England, Zoë has lived in Seattle for 9 years with her husband, two grown-up children and a Labrador called Jordi.

Click here to read more.

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