The biggest challenge around the holidays is maintaining a healthy eating pattern. This is not just about binging out 2-3 times but using a privation strategy to try to compensate for the binges. “I see people fasting either the day of a binge or the day after to ‘make it okay, to binge, renowned bodybuilder and strength trainer Christian Thibaudeau says.
This is a mistake because it often leads to an even more disastrous pig-out event. “But more than that, it reinforces negative mental patterns that can actually make it really hard to get back to a solid nutrition plan,” he adds.
Usually, there is always a way to eat healthy at holiday gatherings if you overcome the temptations and make the right choices. “So it’s a matter of deciding what is important to you: Having the body you want and the health you deserve or having short-term sensory pleasure,” Thibaudeau says.
“My problem is, if you use the holidays as an excuse to open the floodgates of poor eating for two weeks, then you risk developing a pattern where you feel like it is okay to make excuses for yourself, and very soon you will use the simplest things as a justification to get away from a healthy lifestyle,” he adds.
It’s important to exercise, too. “An hour of cardio might ‘burn’ 400-500 calories and an hour of weight lifting about the same,” Thibaudeau adds. “So if you train hard for 90 minutes you are likely burning around 600 calories. Note that this should not be used as a strategy to justify eating poorly all the time. I’ve seen a lot of people gain fat when they started to train because they thought the training would completely prevent fat gain.”
Start now so you avoid making a similar resolution in a month. “A ‘resolution’ is something you don’t want to do (otherwise you’d already be doing it) but force yourself to do,” Thibaudeau says. And only few people can last long doing something they feel forced to do, he adds. “If you are in the wrong mindset you will not stick with it, period.”