Tips For Staying On Track During The Holidays

I can't believe it's already time to start talking about the holidays. How are we already in October?! This year is flying by! 

We all know the end of the year contains a lot of holidays. There's Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years! The two bigger ones are obviously Thanksgiving and Christmas. There's a LOT of anxiety around food and self control during these holidays because of all the really tasty food served at family lunches and dinners. It's almost like people expect to give in and just gorge themselves in food until they feel overly full. That's definitely not the mindset you should have around yummy foods anyway! You wouldn't over-indulge on a box of cookies on any normal Thursday during the week, so why would you do that just because it's Thanksgiving?

The tips I share are for anyone that struggles with food around the holidays.. but just remember that it really is dependent on your goals!

1. Remember what Holidays are about

To me, holidays are about spending quality time with family and just enjoying everyone's company and catching up with one another. Of course food is a HUGE part of different holidays, but it's not the only reason to celebrate.

2. Portion Control

If you are not tracking macros on a holiday (which I usually advise my clients NOT to track), keep smaller portions for all of the foods you're going to put on your plate. It allows you to try everything on the food panel (yes, even aunt Sally's sweet potato casserole!) and be satisfied. Don't restrict yourself, but also don't intentionally over-eat just because you're not staying within the confines of certain macros for the day.

3. Calorie Balance

If you're not tracking macros on a holiday, but you're still trying to keep calories at bay, then plan ahead by keep meals earlier in the day lower carb/lower fat/moderate protein. This will essentially "save" a lot of calories for that bigger Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner that you'll have and shouldn't put you over too much if any at all on calories for the day.


You are likely going to go over your normal calories a couple of times throughout the holidays because we're all human and we all love good food. Those influx in calories will likely be from fats and carbohydrates...and sodium. For every gram of carbohydrate that you ingest, your body retains an extra 3g of water. So if you're wondering why you're heavier the day after you eat more.. that's one reason why. Sodium will also make you retain water if you're not drinking enough to balance it out. Staying hydrated will not only make you feel better the next day, but it might also help you not want to eat as much. 

5. Bring your own dish

If there's a macro-friendly version of a Thanksgiving or Christmas dish that you want your family to try, make it and bring it! That way you might feel more comfortable eating one thing you made yourself knowing that it less calorically dense than the other foods. It can also give your family members a chance to try something different!

6. Don't stress too much over it 

We all (hopefully) know how detrimental excess stress can be, physically and mentally. It's better to just trust yourself and be relaxed during the holidays. Accept and own the fact that you know and understand your goals and that how you approach things around the holidays is ultimately YOUR choice. You don't have to eat the casserole and you don't have to have 3 slices of cake, but if you do, OWN IT and be okay with it. It's only one meal. One meal didn't get you fit and it sure as heck won't make you fat.

But Ashleigh, what if I have to make weight a week or 2 after Thanksgiving or Christmas?

- That REALLY stinks.. and you're definitely going to have to practice portion control at holiday dinners, more so than someone that doesn't need to make weight.

**I think that's pretty much the only hypothetical question that I would need to answer about all of this.**

I hope these tips will help you stay on track over the holidays! Staying on track for you might look different than staying on track for someone else! It's all dependent on your goals. At the end of the day, it's just food. It's just one meal. You'll be okay! & if you over-indulge.. don't beat yourself up about it and DEFINITELY don't "work it off" in the gym the next day.. horrible mindset to have. Food is fuel.. not good or bad. 

Ashleigh Hubbard