Home for the Holidays: Staying On Track
There's no place like home for the holidays.
Most of us don't live at home so we cherish these calendar holidays for home-comfort and a ton of yummy food. What tends to happen is that the 1-day holiday becomes a 2-week holiday of binging.
Leading up to my home visit for the 4th of July (America's summer holiday with hot dogs, burgers, red, white, & blue decorated desserts, and fireworks) I was keeping my calorie-intake low. I wanted to let loose at home and eat whatever I wanted but... after 2 days of frozen yogurt, cupcakes, burgers, pop-tarts, and tacos, I felt disgusting. And it wasn't even the 4th yet!
My "bulking" plan backfired because I was eating complete crap and I went from loving how I looked in a bathing suit to feeling completely bloated in less than a week. I decided to re-think my plan and use my ability to figure out roughly how much protein vs. fat and carbs I was having daily just by eyeing it. Before I left I was 58.9 kg and I thought I'd come back 2 weeks later weighing about 62 kg but—low and behold, I only gained .8 kgs weighing in at 59.7 kg!
5 Tips for Staying on Track When Home
1. Option a) buy a membership to a gym nearby
Try to exercise every 2nd or 3rd day you're home. If you aren't into lifting weights or cardio machines, then take some aerobics classes. There are so many different kinds of classes—spinning, yoga, the bar method, zumba, pole-dancing, whatever.
Chain-gyms tend to be pretty cheap. If you live in America, I'm sure there's a Planet Fitness, an LA Fitness, or an Anytime Fitness nearby. There's also the NY Sports Club and the Edge if you live in Northeast America. In the UK, PureGym is where it's at. You pay by direct debit and can cancel anytime.
1. option B) move your body
If you don't want to pay $ to exercise, and I don't blame you because the whole point of being home is to get pampered by Mom and Dad, then find other ways to move. There are a ton of "At-Home Workouts" on YouTube you can check out that don't require any equipment.
Reach out to your friends and invite them to go on a walk with you or play tennis in the park. My friends and I played beach volleyball when I was home. It was 100% free and a great workout, not to mention it was just fun to hang out with people I rarely get to see since I live in Scotland at the same time.
2. make plans with friends and family
Keep yourself busy by doing things with friends and family. Go shopping, see a movie, play board games, or just goof-off reminiscing about old times.
This is a big redundant from what I said in 1. Option B) but it's really easy to get lazy at home and dig into your Mom's stash. My Mom likes to "hide" M&Ms and mini-peanut butter cups that I never fail to find. I don't know how she has the discipline to not eat them all in one sitting like I do.
3. Skinny margaritas & guilt-free snacking
My friends and I went a bit crazy over tacos and margaritas before I moved to Scotland. Let me tell you, the idea of 1 margarita being 400 calories never, ever crossed my mind.
When you're home, you're going to go out with friends and drink. Don't go overboard. Stick to hard liquor and soda water.
If you can't resist the chips and guacamole, order chips and pico de gallo. Guacamole is extremely fatty and yeah, I get it, it's the "good kind of fat" but it's still about 900 calories of mashed avocado. For the tacos, replace the tortillas for lettuce wraps.
If you're not eating Mexican—apologies for assuming you're as taco-crazy as I am, avoid fatty foods and eat as many greens as possible throughout the day. Eat healthy on the days leading up to the holiday.
Don't forget to drink lots of water!
4. Intermittent Fasting
IF saved me during this trip home. By not eating breakfast, I automatically ate less during the rest of the day. Check out my post about IF here.
5. Go All out on the holiday
You deserve a "cheat day", so eat your heart out on the holiday. Stuff your face until you feel sick, take a nap, then eat some more. Just enjoy it. But when the day is over, chuck out the leftovers and get back on schedule the next day.
Your body will not explode after one day of binging. You'll be back to normal a few days later.
Before I left for the States, I was 58.9 kg. I guessed that after 2 weeks I'd be 62kg at least. BUT, low and behold... I only gained .8kgs, weighing in at 58.7 kg. #gains, yo.
When you're home, don't give up your routine. Food tastes good, but healthy feels better.