As much as we love the holiday season, there’s a reason Santa wears an oversize suit and people swear by ugly sweater parties. Everybody gains weight over the holidays, and it’s easy to give into it when it’s the coziest time of the year and you don’t have to show your skin again for at least three months. Like, sweatpants are all that fit you right now, and you can’t blame it all on the leftover pumpkin pie you’ve been nibbling on all week. It’s time to establish a game plan so you don’t get unrecognizably fat this holiday season. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Travel With Food
If you’re traveling for the holidays, showing up prepared with healthy snacks is key. Don’t leave to the airport thinking you’ll pick up a salad at the gate or eat a few peanuts on the plane. We all know you’ll end up licking the cinnamon sugar out of the bottom of a bag of Auntie Anne’s pretzels by the end of the flight. Show up with unsalted nuts, natural protein bars, fruit, and vegetables. Everyone laughs at the girl eating baby carrots on a plane, but no one’s laughing when she’s the only skinny one by New Year’s.
2. Don’t Show Up Starving
A lot of people think that by dieting or starving themselves before a holiday meal, they’ll be able to treat themselves at the table and compensate for their lack of eating beforehand. Sounds like simple math, right? Well, wrong. If you show up starving, you’ll just end up eating 10 times more than you would have if you ate breakfast that day like a normal person. Pace yourself throughout the day, but don’t rely on sugar-free gum and cold brew thinking you’re doing yourself a favor.
3. Keep Alcohol Simple
Nothing says the holiday season like drinking Merlot until you can’t hear your relatives speak anymore. We’re pretty much blackout from Thanksgiving until MLK weekend, and all those alcohol calories add up. Try to keep your alcohol choices simple, and skip any extra calories that come from sugary syrups or any other holiday-themed drinks. Like, if you’re seriously drinking eggnog, I really want you to take a step back and think about your priorities. We’re trying to get drunk here, not turn into Rachael Ray on the Food Network Christmas Special.
4. Eat A Little Of Everything
From your mom’s Hannukah latkes that she’s making you eat to the sugar cookies your co-workers keep sabotaging you with at work, holiday food is coming at you from every direction, and it’s hard not to give in. Plus, we wouldn’t actually want you to deprive yourself. It’s the one time of year when eating a salad is looked down upon and there are SO many good foods around. The trick is to eat a little of everything. That way, you’re still tasting all your favorite foods but you’re not overdoing it. It takes a shit ton of self-control not to devour an entire pie that’s sitting out on the counter, but pick your poison if you’re gonna give in.
5. Plan Your Workouts
We’re not saying you have to work out on the holidays if you don’t want to, but it can’t hurt to squeeze in a quick HIIT session here and there just to speed up your metabolism and burn some extra cals instead of laying under a Snuggie for two weeks straight. If you’re gonna work out, you’re gonna need to do some planning. In other words, you need to actually pack your sneakers and your sports bra and set a time on your phone to go work out. You’re never going to actually do it if you completely wing it, so force yourself to do a little planning in advance.
6. Let Yourself Sleep
If you’re sleep-deprived all year round, allow this to be your time to recover. When you’re sleep deprived, you feel sluggish and gross, and you end up feeling extra hungry and craving fatty foods. Give your body enough sleep so that you feel good and enjoy eating healthy foods without needing a sugar rush by 4pm. Plus, going to sleep early is a sick excuse to cancel plans anyway, so we’re really just helping you out. You’re welcome.
7. Throw Out The Leftovers
So many people end up gaining weight from the holidays because of what they eat AFTER everyone goes home for the night. Like, there’s a reason food tastes so much better when you’re drunk at 3:00 in the morning. It’s so easy to snack on all your leftovers for days after the holiday has ended, so it’s time to toss them before shit gets dangerous. Or like, give them to a homeless person to be less wasteful. Either way, get rid of the cakes and the cookies before they became your regular breakfast for the next week. It’ll be painful, but you’ll be happy you did it.