Autumn is my favorite season: the days are getting cooler, the sun is gently spending warmth and good mood. The food is changing too, some of my most beloved foods are now in season. Quince, duck, pumpkin, game, chestnuts and grapes make autumn an especially tasty time. It is also the season where the big holidays all around the world are starting, making it hard to progress the weight loss journey. But it’s not impossible, let’s have a closer look.
Let’s be realistic, the holiday season won’t make it easy to lose body fat but depending where you start from, and what your goals are, it’s not impossible to make progress. You might need to change your mindset and be even more diligent with your planning, but it can be done!
You know you have this Thanksgiving meal coming up, so you can plan around it. This is the good thing about this season: you almost always know way in advance when you have a challenge coming up, so make sure you are prepared. One meal won’t ruin an entire week of work if you don’t eat and drink like a ravenous bear.
Make sure you nail your diet and nutrition whenever you have the possibility to do so, but don’t be too restrictive either. If you starve yourself the week before a feast, you will turn into a ravenous grizzly bear at the next possibility of overeating/binge drinking. So try to thread the needle between dieting and celebrating.
Be sure to eat enough before you go out. This seams to be a little counterintuitive, but as I mentioned before, it will prevent you to turn into an eating machine. Make sure you get in mountains of low calorie veggies and lots of lean protein to keep you satieted. Veggies have lots of fibre and water, stretching your stomach and sending a strong satiety signal to your brain. If you manage to not be hungry as hell when mom puts the mac’n cheese in front of you, you are less likely to overeat on high caloric foods.
Having multiple occasions where you are one way or another “forced” to overconsume calories might make counting calories a little frustrating. You could use this opportunity to take a break and try out something else. Perhaps it is time for an “ad libitum” diet. Or you could decide to make other healthy habits a priority, like quitting smoking or limiting alcohol intake.
Ensuring you get enough sleep is another great goal you can pursue during autumn. Getting enough sleep will improve your activity levels, improve nutrient partitioning (build more muscle and less fat) and boost performance in the gym. It will also make it much less likely that you overeat the rest of the day. Hot to get better sleep? Here is my super quick guide for sleeping like a bear:
- Don’t eat or drink too much before going to bed.
- Dim the lights and get comfy.
- Don’t watch too exciting TV and don’t spend too much time in front of your computer/smart phone.
- Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible and as cool as possible.
- Create a sleeping ritual like a short meditation or reading a book.
If you don’t have too much body fat, the holiday season might be the perfect time to bulk and make muscle growth your number one priority. This isn’t the licence to eat everything in sight, but having more calories to spend is nice when the pumpkin pie hits the table.
Make sure you don’t slack on your training. Strength training burns a lot of calories, as does the muscle building process. If your training plan is flexible enough, you can schedule your training days on “feasting days”. This way the calorie surplus of pecan pie can be used by your body to build some muscles. Working out before a huge meal will also decrease the chances of overeating, as (contrary to popular belief) strength training does NOT increase hunger!
To sum it up:
- Control what you can control: eat as “clean” as possible whenever possible and plan ahead.
- Don’t be discouraged by slower progress on the scale. Perhaps it’s time to change your goals temporarily.
- Train your butt off (within reason).
- Enjoy the festive season, the delicious food and time with your loved ones!
If you need help setting new nutrition goals for the upcoming season, or you need a training plan that ensures the thanksgiving turkey is used to build muscles, fill out the client intake form and let’s get in touch.