Every year I completely fall off the wagon at Christmas.  It’s probably an understatement to say ‘fall off the wagon’ – it’s more like I turn into a competitive binge eater, a champion competitive binge eater.  It’s really easy to say, “well it’s that time of year” or “this is the one time I go all out and eat whatever I want”.  I used to say this too – but I realize that as I get older, the Christmas blubber that once would come off in 2 week sticks to me like duct tape and takes months to go away.  The worst part is that my performance at the gym suffers for a few weeks post binge(s) – I lose my pull-ups, I squat less weight and this impacts my motivation.  That is NOT COOL and I won’t repeat that this year.  I have 3 consecutive Turkey Dinners to attend this year and things can get out of control quickly if I don’t have a strategy in place.  There will be a dessert buffet at each one of these meals with homemade tasty goodness and this is usually where I spiral out of control.  In order to completely scare myself from eating all that garbage and hopefully others, I decided to calculate the caloric content in a typical Christmas Dinner and share it with you so that you can think about whether it is worth it to try every single dessert or have that extra heaping of mashed potatoes.   Brace yourself…this is ugly:

This is based on 1 huge Christmas Dinner including appetizers, chocolate (a piece here or there), wine and in this case I’ve included 3 pieces of pie.  Yes, that’s what I ate last year.  I’ll break it down by each food so if you’re not as ravenous as me, you can re-calculate it with only 1 piece of pie.  Courtesy of Fitday.com:

GAH! 4,200 Calories!! That's not including any other meals that you might eat that day.

 

Here is the breakdown by each food:

400 grams of Carbs?!?!?!

Alright, so I went overboard on the desserts.  But I’m not lying when I tell you this is a pretty realistic depiction of what I’m capable of eating at one dinner.    I hope that by seeing this breakdown you can come up with a plan to make good choices so that your caloric content won’t tip the scale at >4,000.  It only takes 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound, so if you’re like me and having 3 Christmas dinners, it is easy to see how you can gain 5 pounds over the holidays.  

Here is a meal that I have modified to remove some of the worst offenders.  I don’t believe you should totally deprive yourself so this is not Paleo.  This includes dessert (only 1):

Cut your calorie consumption by more than half by removing Crackers, Cheese, Chocolate, Gingerbread Cookies, Ice Cream and limiting portions of Dessert, Wine and other Unfavourable Carbs

 

This is not a perfect meal plan, but it is considerably better than the former meal plan and you will still get a generous taste of some of the goodies.  My other suggestions for a healthier holiday dinner are:

  • Insist on bringing a dish to the dinner.  Bring a steamed vegetable, sweet potatoes or even a Primal dessert such as Primal Gingerbread Cookies
  • Look online for Paleo or Primal Christmas dinner suggestions.  Search on “Primal Thanksgiving” and you’ll find many suggestions including several from the website Mark’s Daily Apple where participants in his Primal Challenge posted what they ate over the other Turkey holiday.
  • Make sure you get your workouts in.  Even if that means taking 15 minutes before you shower to go for a quick run or do 100 burpee’s – it will make you less inclined to pig out.
  • If you’re having dinner at your parent’s house  – ask them to set aside a portion of the vegetable dish aside before they add the butter, cheese or cream.  Thank you Mom and Mom 2!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Too much Christmas!!  And it’s only December 3rd.  Over the next 3 days, I have 1 Christmas Party, 2 lunches out, 1 Girl’s dinner and a dinner with my husband.   I always get anxious about these types of events because I go in with such good intentions – no bread, 1 drink, meat and veg only.  But then I easily start convincing myself that one bite of bread will be OK. But it’s not OK. For me, 1 bite leads to an attack of the entire basket which just spikes my insulin and fuels more cravings and then more indulgences and then 3 days later i wonder why I can’t do a pull-up and I’ve got a muffin top over my jeans.  This year IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT.  Here are 5 tips that I will adhere to over the holidays and I recommend for you:

  1. Eat before you go to your event.  Have a piece of protein, some veg or fruit and a handful of nuts.  The protein is important because it will keep you feeling full and fuel your socialization skills.  For example, tonight I will have 2 ounces of chicken, 1/2 an apple and a tbsp of almond butter (pure almonds) before I go out.  This will help me to avoid the appetizers and bread basket.
  2. Aim for an extra workout at some point during the week.  I hit Crossfit 1 extra time this week and it was a killer WOD so i’m feeling good going into this slew of parties.  This will offset some of the extra calories that are sure to be consumed regardless of how good you are – for me, that’s most likely through wine.
  3. Stick to meat and veggies only.  Your co-workers will give you a weird look – this is guaranteed.  Tell them that you’re saving your calories for tomorrow night’s dinner or that you gorged yesterday and still feel gross – this is a lie, but it works much better than trying to explain why their non-paleo meal may kill them and that you only eat ‘real food’.  A party with co-workers is not the time or place to preach your primal instincts.  Feel good with your Spring Mix while they’re scarfing back potatoes fried in cheese, butter and then more cheese.  
  4. No Dessert.  PERIOD.  Don’t do it!  This is going to be painful and you may need to say the serenity prayer (Alcohol Anonymous anyone?)  If you desperately need something sweet, get some fruit.
  5. Make sure you do have 1 great cheat meal where you throw caution to the wind and inhale that giant steak with garlic butter and chase it with a bottle of the finest Cabernet.  You can’t completely deprive yourself or you will end up like Jack Nicholson in the Shining.  My cheat meal will be the dinner with my husband at Nota Bene.