Races are wrapping up, and in many parts of the continent, the cold weather is starting to cut down the group rides. Athletes are starting to “shut it down”, transition to more off the bike work, and maybe even take a little break. As we enter this shoulder season, there is often the opportunity for plenty of holiday gatherings. And often with these festive occasions there will be an abundance of delicious food. Maybe not so “healthy”, but delicious none-the-less.
It’s so cliché but I truly believe that moderation is the key. Depriving yourself of these holiday meals and treats during your social gatherings can often backfire. Healthier eating does not need to be a toggle switch, where on one side you're eating like a small bird and the other is throwing in the towel for complete gluttony. Your “diet” is a continuum; find that happy medium where you can enjoy some of the holiday food without guilt, but at the same time over indulging. Then, after the holidays, you can transition back to your personal center with a sustainable, energy appropriate diet.
A notion that I read in an article a few years ago was “that second piece of pumpkin pie (or substitute whatever you’re considering for another service) won’t taste any better than the first.” So go ahead, have some of that great food. Be in the moment and really enjoy it with no guilt. And then be satisfied when you’ve had your fill and don’t eat more just for eatings’ sake. Looks like Microsoft Word doesn’t think “eatings’” a word, but I’m going with it.
This concept really resonates with me, as I used to always be the guy going back for seconds and thirds, when in most cases my firsts was enough. Now, I’m still the guy for seconds from time to time, but I’ll make sure to really take my time and check in with myself first. For me, my typical weakness at the holiday table is more the savory foods during the main meal such as stuffing, potatoes, and turkey all with plenty of gravy. I try to ensure that after that first usually overflowing plateful, I take a moment and ask myself, “are you hungry, or did you just like the taste and want more?” before going back up for another load. If I’m really not done, I don’t hesitate to get some more. But if I’m not, I’ll just sit and enjoy everyone’s company. It works for the most part with the mental re-framing of “the second plate won’t taste any better or enhance my experience from the first.”
Here’s a nice article with 5 Quick Tips brought to you from the find folks over at TrainingPeaks:
Surviving the Holidays: 5 Quick Tips for Healthy Eating
I think there are some really good points made here such as not saving up your calories, making sure you stick with your normal rhythm of eating, and making sure you don’t go into situations with the indulgent food overally hungry.
So, as the article suggests, don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and get involved, but it’s doesn’t have be an all or none situation.
In my search for meaningful articles on the topic, I found it interesting that the suggestions on the sports related sites are very similar to just general guidelines from the medical and health community.
Here’s another quick read from the Mayo Clinic News Network:
10 Healthy Holiday Nutrition Tips
What’s your best tip for suriving the holiday decadence? Post a comment or question below.
Thanks for reading and happy holidays!
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.