Surviving the Holidays: Eating

 I should have written this before Thanksgiving here in the US, but I did not get around to it.  But maybe you are recovering from your Thanksgiving feast and thinking "I am not doing this again".  If so, here are some tips on surviving the rest of the holidays through New Year's Day.

I know that folks often think "Hey, I exercise a lot so I can eat what I wish and as much as I wish".  Yes, exercising or training does give you a bit more leeway, but if you are training then you do not want to gain excessive weight that is going to have to come off later.  Also, unfortunately exercise expends far fewer calories than you think.  A commonly used number is that it takes about 100 kcals to run or walk a mile.  That is in the ballpark.  If you look at the number of kilocalories in the food you consume, you will be shocked to learn how many miles you need to run to work off a meal.

First, and this one is a hard one: avoid or reduce alcohol consumption.  Yes, it is the holidays and the booze flows at office parties and dinner parties.  However, alcohol carries a pretty big caloric wollop with 7 kilocalories (kcals) per gram.  For comparison, carbohydrates have 4 kcals per gram and fat 9 kcals per gram.  Alcohol also is empty calories carrying virtually no nutritional value.  

Alcohol also contributes to poor decision-making, and I am not talking about making copies of your butt during the office party or hitting on Jenny from accounting.  A few drinks and you might start to make some poor food choices and over-eat.

Speaking of food choices, one thing you can do is eat before heading off to parties.  Eat a nutritious meal that is filling so that when you get to the party, you are not hungry and can avoid gorging yourself.  If that is not realistic, then survey the food options and remind yourself to make good food choices.  

Another aspect of holiday parties is that you might be there a while.  It can be tempting to graze.  Instead, get up and move around and talk with people to avoid the temptation to eat.

Another tip is to keep exercising!  Also, include some intensity even if it is your "off season".  I do not believe in completely leaving speed to certain times of the year.  While time might be short during the holidays, you can increase energy expenditure by increasing the intensity of the run.