Face it, for many of us, the house of good nutrition has been built on a shaky foundation. As much as we’ve learned to eat right and enjoy healthier foods, decadence looms like a California tremor, waiting to ruin everything we’ve worked so hard for.
And guess what, kids? It’s earthquake season! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, the list goes on—all at once! As usual, Beachbody is here with swell how-to-get-through-it articles. But in this one, instead of focusing on the entire stretch, let’s discuss that one day when it all happens, when all the relatives come over and that big meal is laid out. In the name of political correctness, we’ll call this day Irophh Day, for Insert Religious or Patriotic Holiday Here Day.
First thing to remember is that there are only a handful of Irophh Days throughout the year, so if you eat too much, it’s not such an issue. You need to live it up from time to time. That said, wouldn’t it be nice getting through just one Irophh Day without having to unbutton your 501s after you leave the table? Here’s how:
1. Treat the rest of your day like any other day.
Wake up, eat breakfast, snack, lunch, and snack. Don’t fast just so you can eat more at dinner. It’ll just cause you to overeat that night—and it won’t help your diet. Dumping all your food into one huge meal ruins digestion.
2. Visualize how much you’ll be eating.
It’s easier to keep control if you have a plan. Decide in advance how many of Grandma Edith’s cheese puffs you’ll eat pre-meal. See yourself eating one plateful of turkey with all the fixings—without going back for more. And for dessert, imagine a small piece of pie afterwards. It’ll still taste good, even if it’s not the size of a Buick.
3. Indulge in different ways.
If you feel that you need to indulge on Irophh Day or it’ll be ruined, take another decadent route. Get a massage or a pedicure. Hit the record store and buy yourself a couple of CDs. Buy yourself a sexy outfit that you couldn’t wear if you still ate like you used to.
4. Buffet it.
If you’re the host, don’t put all the food on the table. Instead, set up a buffet. Numerous studies have shown that if you need to get up to get seconds or thirds, you’re less inclined to make the trip.
5. Avoid the less thrilling stuff.
Chose which “bad” things you eat. The impulse is to put a little of everything on your plate, but do you really like Aunt Louise’s creamed onions? And the bread? Come on! It’s just bread! Flour and water! Why miss eating all those once-a-year Irophh treats by eating bread?
6. Moderation is the key.
Of course, you’ll want to eat a serving of Uncle Walter’s candied carrots, but a serving is all you need. Savor that instead of shoveling a mountain’s worth in your mouth.
7. Wait for dessert.
The body takes about 30 minutes to figure out it’s full, so take a breather before dessert. If you’re feeling full when you hit Grandpa Saul’s honey cake, you’ll be less inclined to eat too much.
8. If you blow it, you blow it.
So, despite all this great advice, you might still make a pig of yourself. Oh, well. It happens. Don’t torture yourself or starve yourself or try to do Turbo Jam for six straight hours to make up for it. It won’t work. The body doesn’t work well when you try to overcompensate. It just leads to malnutrition and overtraining. Like I said, Irophh Day only happens once a year, so now you have 364 days to make up for it with moderation.