Eat the Ham & Pie: How to Stick to Your Goals Over the Holidays

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You’ve packed into the car and are on your way to Grandma’s. You can already taste Grandma’s pecan pie and suddenly your heart sinks. You’ve been working so hard over the last several months and  don’t want to ruin it over the course of a few days with family.

Thanksgiving 2017

However in the world will you do it? Here are my tips for enjoying the holidays without undoing everything you’ve accomplished over the last few weeks.


  1. Plan Plan PLAN – You know the drill. You know what to expect when you arrive at Aunt Carol’s house, so be ready. Know what your food non-negotiables are. For example, if you know that gluten gives you a hard time and aren’t willing to feel crummy for a week, don’t feel bad about not having Aunt Carol’s apple pie. Additionally, if you really love the green beans your sister Peggy makes but don’t want the extra calories from the bacon don’t feel bad about not eating them. Make a plan of what you will eat and how much of a portion you’re willing to have and stick to it. 
  2. If You’re a Tracker Don’t Stop Now – If you’ve been tracking your calories or macros, don’t stop now just because it’s the holidays. Keep logging what you’re eating, especially since many of the foods we enjoy during the holidays are not staples of our everyday diet. You might be surprised to learn that those mashed potatoes aren’t nearly as many calories as you thought and that the veggie casserole your Mom makes is actually a calorie bomb. Knowledge is power.
  3. Eat Everything Just Smaller Portions – Eat all the things just downsize your portions. Take smaller slices of the ham. Load up on the healthy veggies to make up the difference and fill yourself up without the extra calories. 
  4. Offer to Bring Healthy Sides – If everyone’s bringing something for dinner, why not bring some healthy side options or even a healthy dessert alternative. Sure maybe none of your relatives will eat it but at least you’ll have an nice option to pair with that slice of juicy duck your Mom prepared. 
  5. Don’t Skip Your Workout Just Because it’s the Holidays – I know you want to just vacation and not think about working up a sweat but look at it this way if you work out in the morning that means you can load up on more candied yams at dinner. And working up a sweat doesn’t have to be going to the gym. You can organize a family football game, chase your nieces and nephews around the house, or just pack a couple of resistance bands and pump it out. Just get your heart rate up. Trust me you never regret a workout. 
  6. Don’t Go to the Mall Hungry – I have learned this one the hard way. If you have last minute shopping to take care of before Christmas, don’t, I repeat, DO NOT go to the mall hungry. You will eat the first thing you see at the food court and it will be bad. Unless, you know ahead of time where you will eat and what, do not go into that place in starvation mode. 
  7. If you Eat Out Try to Look at the Menu Before you Get to the Restaurant – If you’re like my family and like to eat out at least a couple of the nights over Christmas vacation make sure you take a look at the menu before you head to the restaurant. Many times when we try to make a decision at the restaurant about what to eat we feel put on the spot and don’t want to take too long to decide and end up choosing a meal that isn’t quite what we need. We either end up eating something too bland, or too overindulgent. So it helps to know ahead of time what you’re in the mood to eat there and any modifications you might want them to make, this way you can tell the waiter or waitress without any hesitation. 

Give these tips a try and let me know how it goes. I hope you all have a  very Merry and Healthy Christmas, setting yourselves up for an amazing 2018!

Author: Grace G.

New Mom and Retired Lawyer trying to share the ride.

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