Around this time of the year begins the pre-entry into what may (affectionately) be termed “The Eating Holidays” or for some “The Eating and Drinking Holidays”. This is especially the case for folks who are done with their racing season and are ready to relax. We’ve got Oktoberfests, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, work parties, friend’s gatherings, and the culmination of New Years...or Festivus! Wait, then there are College Bowl games… and Super Bowl. Okay, you get the point.
Anyway, it never fails that come mid-January I hear from a number of athletes about their dreaded weight gain and needing to get back on track. Some might say this is job security for me, and while I won’t disagree, I want to share a few tips for those who have grown tired of falling into the yo-yo weight gain pattern each new year.
Dabble in “nutrition planning” for your week ahead (or even just your day ahead) so that you are more likely to eat healthfully instead of winging your meal choices or experiencing haphazard eating. Be nerdy and actually write out a meal plan (and then stay true to it!).
When you have special events planned, you can budget your pre-event food intake to accommodate for what is to occur later. For example, if you know the evening party is likely to lack vegetables and quality protein sources, then plan to eat these foods earlier in the day while going lighter on the types of foods you want to enjoy later.
Who’s in it? Do you have friends that sabotage your nutrition plans or don’t respect your wishes? “Just have this gigantic piece of cake!” type of folks (when this isn’t in your plan). Identify who is supportive of your goals and those who have similar goals… and hang with them. This isn’t to say you should dump your friends who want to indulge a bit, but the line gets easily crossed when you are put out of your comfort zone due to external pressures.
Be “That Guy” (or Gal)
Call me crazy, but you can be that guy or gal who brings the awesome side dish to the party that everyone really wants to enjoy. The dish can be simple such as Caprese salad, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, a fancy cheese and olive plate, hummus or guacamole with colorful veggies, stuffed jalapenos, or bacon wrapped dates. You can also consider using Whole Foods Market for some ready to eat foods or our local Boulder favorite, Real Athlete Diets, for some great salads, meatballs, or soups.
Even though the holidays may seem far away, the season will be here fast. Now is the time to start planting your own seed for success(es) so you can enjoy all that the season brings, but come out on the other side of the new year feeling positive and ready for an exciting and healthful new year ahead.
Dina Griffin, MS, RDN, CSSD, METS II
- Helping athletes of all abilities nationwide and internationally