It's that time of the year again; when everyone ditches their diets and workout plans to eat as much pumpkin pie and cookies as humanly possible. After all, they are just going to make their New Year's resolution to get back in shape, right? Well guess what? You are not everyone! You are better than that and if you did not already realize that, you do now.
You might be asking; "Mark, what can I do to make sure I do not put on 20 pounds this month?" I will tell you how and it's pretty easy. Portion control. Now I understand this is easier said than done but there is only one way to make it happen and that is to just suck it up and do it. I have read various statistics that say the average Thanksgiving meal is between 3,000 and 4,500 calories. I generally consider this the ultimate cheat day and I am extended a Blue Chip pass of forgiveness to everyone on that. The issue with the holidays comes from the snacking, the incredibly huge family meals and drinking. Well that's actually the problem with our society in general but let's consider it only in the context of the holidays for now.
If you are home for the holidays and your mother or grandmother makes cookies everyday you do not have to eat 30, you can just have 1 or 2. The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility that states as a person increases consumption of a product, while keeping consumption of other products constant, there is a decline in the marginal utility that person derives from consuming each additional unit of that product. So you get less satisfaction from every cookie you eat. I think it's more enjoyable to maximize the utility (satisfaction) you receive by eating just one cookie. It makes having a cookie every now and then that much more gratifying.
The same concept can and must be applied to everything else. You do not need 5 pieces of pie after a huge dinner. I would recommend waiting 2 to 3 hours after you eat dinner to have that desert you want if you must have it. Spacing out your caloric intake will minimize the effect the holiday season has on you and make it that much easier to stay in shape.
You should also never stop training. With travel and family time it could be less than convenient to find time, but if it means waking up 30 minutes earlier to get a jog or workout in, do it. You will thank yourself later. Carrying the portion control theme through the holidays with snacking, eating and drinking could reduce the caloric intake of a family day of eating and drinking by 2,000 calories or more, significant to say the least. You may even consider off-setting any unnecessary calories you eat by adding it to your daily goal when burning calories through cardio. The more often you can do that the better off you will be. If you can avoid the pie all together; great, but at a more realistic level one of each item will suffice and doing that will keep you lean and mean this holiday season.