This isn’t your typical “Thanksgiving Survival Guide” nutrition blog that’s going to save you from putting pounds on this holiday.
Although I will share some tips that I use with clients and some concepts inside the training I provide for my Elite Members for their Pre-Dinner Thanksgiving Workout, that both will help you ENJOY the holiday rather than trying to navigate around eating too much – because that’s inevitable, let’s just be real here.
And that’s what I really want to get into today.
I’m going to keep it short, sweet, and to the point today. Because I believe the holidays are less about hacking your diet and more about changing your mindset during the holiday season (hacks don’t actually exist in life – FYI).
So this isn’t about Thanksgiving. This is about the final quarter of the year.
Some fun facts about the 4th quarter:
→ Studies show that weight gain through the holiday season is on average between 0.8 – 2.2lbs (time intervals vary from Halloween-New Year and Thanksgiving-New Year).
You may have read that and actually been surprised, maybe thinking I was actually going to tell you what the magazine covers and most people rambling on social media will say, which seems to be “between 5-10lbs”. Well, it’s just not true. This range of 0.8 – 2.2lbs is pulled from multiple studies, whereas that greater amount is not.
So what does this mean?
a.) That you can relax, you’re not going to balloon up from one day of fun.
b.) That the vast majority of people are NOT improving or even maintaining their body weight or body fat levels during this time of year. THAT is not so positive.
→ There’s no science to show this, but what I’ve seen in the 8 years of coaching people, working inside training facilities, and talking to thousands of people either IN my industry or looking to change their physiques… is that a large percentage of people, every single year, WAIT for New Years to come.
Whether we think New Years Resolutions are cheesy or not, most of us have an idea of what we want to make happen in the New Year – and that’s great! We should be setting goals. The big problem we see, is waiting for the New Year to get here in order to start taking action.
Don’t you think your New Years Resolutions would be easier to jump on if you were taking smaller habits leading up to the day? It would give you a head start, making the big changes you need to make actually a lot smaller and easier to manage.
→ Statistics tell us that when New Years Eve hits and we’re setting our Resolutions, most of us are focused on saving more money or losing more weight. These tend to be the top 2 goals set by Americans (but I assume it’s world wide, too).
→ Statistics also tell us that only 8% of people actually succeed in accomplishing the resolutions they set for themselves. That means 92% of people fail…
So why is this? Let’s dissect this one a bit and try to figure out WHY so many people fail to reach their goals after the Holidays are over and the New Year is here.
- Waiting until the Holiday is a build up, which puts more pressure on you.
- Making radical changes in habits creates massive inconsistencies and nobody wants to set “Mediocre Habits” as a Resolution, even though they probably should.
- There’s no evolution to your Resolution, it’s just ONE single outcome. When I set goals with clients, we set benchmarks along the way. Now we have a big picture, with mini-goals to accomplish along the way that lead us to the grand outcome and also seem way more possible to conquer.
- The goal is an idea, not an objective outcome. I see this all the time, “I want to have a more positive mindset.” Rather than setting a goal of, “I’m going to read 1 book on personal development per month that.” In reality, that is a goal that will give you your outcome anyway, but you can actually obtain it and check it off the list as you read each book.
- The goal is to fixated. “I want to lost 25lbs”. Ok, that’s great – but how will you get there? And what happens when your body is visually changing and your health is dramatically improving, but you haven’t lost the weight you set out too? Usually the answer is people getting frustrated and giving up, because it was the number they were after – which we all know is NOT the way to go about weight loss!
- You don’t have a WHY behind the goal. “I want to lost 25lbs”. Again, that’s great – but WHY do you want to lose that weight? Dig deep. Ask yourself why over and over and over again until you get to the pain that is creating the urge to change the way you look. And if you can’t do that, hire a coach to help you.
So we now know that the 4th quarter, every year, is the time of year that you may be slowing your progress down, you’re probably creating the most excuses you’ve ever created, and that you may have even gained a couple pounds (that’s average, doesn’t mean more or less doesn’t happen to some).
Harsh. I know. But sometimes we need a slap in the face to wake up and get our shit together.
And with that being said, I want to give you some applicable things to take away. Because I’m all about application, what’s the point here if you can’t take something away to make you better?
But first, a very powerful statement to shift your brain – right here, right now:
“Results do not disappear from one day off plan, just like they are not built from one day on plan.”
Consistency is king.
Consistency is king.
Consistency is king.
Consistency is king.
Consistency is king.
Yes I had to write it 5 times for you. It’s the answer to 90% of issues inside training and nutrition, because our bodies simply do not change over night, just like a million dollar business isn’t built overnight.
Which means a.) stop stressing, be present, and enjoy the holiday with your family.
And b.) focus on consistency above all else, before and after the holiday itself.
- Don’t Track Macros Today (and if you’re reading this post Thanksgiving, this applies to Christmas too). This is a day to apply the healthy habits and eating skills you’ve learned from practicing proper nutrition. Your macros wouldn’t be accurate anyway and attempting to record creates an unhealthy relationship, this is coming from someone who DOES track daily and HAS on Holidays, but will never again.
- Eat Light, So You Can Do Dinner Right. Hell yeah that rhymed and I did it on purpose. But the concept here is simple, start your day with lighter meals (think lean proteins and greens) because they will keep you satiated and full, but also still allow you to hit your protein and fiber minimums. But it keeps calories lower and saves plenty of room for later on (this is still intuitive, though).
- Try Fasting either before or after the actual holiday feast. This in my opinion is one of the best applications for intermittent fasting from a flexibility and social perspective, because it again – like the last bullet – allows us to save calories for later or bounce back when we wake up feeling bloated. Give yourself 14-18 hours of fasting, including sleep, going into the day or the next day – it’ll keep weekly calories in check and give your digestive tract a break.
- Put Your Fork Down. This one sounds kind of funny, but works wonders. Most of us eat too fast, unless we’re living in an Asian culture and use chopsticks (studies have actually shown this to slow us down, intuitively causing less consumption, and helping keep weight in check). So try putting your fork down between every bit and spend time chewing your food. This will slow you down and guess what, you’ll enjoy the meal more! I promise. Plus it allows the digestive process to actually work better by allowing your body to go through each step fully.
- Set A Timer. Again, sounds kind of weird BUT have you ever tried to purposefully eat for an extended period of time? Say 20-30 minutes? It’s pretty damn hard, but it definitely causes you to slow down. So pick a time, watch the clock, and make your food last.
- Protein First. This is an easy one, go for the turkey first! It’s probably the healthiest thing you’ll eat on Thanksgiving and for Christmas dinner it may be a different meat source, but still – healthiest option. Plus protein is the most satiating nutrient so it will fill you up quicker.
- Train Hard and High Rep. The last one is simple, get a training session in and PUSH yourself. Earn the dinner! If you’re trying to gain size, pick your weakest body part. If you’re working to get lean, go with a full body session. And in both scenarios, I suggest taking your reps up to the 15-25 rep range because those will deplete more glycogen, crank your HR up, and will naturally increase insulin sensitivity (helping those calories store properly). Inside the BB Elite, I provide exact training programs to help clients stay lean on the holidays.
The last tip I have for you is non-dinner or holiday related, as in the actual day.
New Years shouldn’t be a reason to hold yourself back or wait on your goals.
You’re making it harder on yourself by doing this.
If you start now, you will be ahead by New Years and 10x more likely to be inside the 8% of people who actually succeed with their Resolutions.
Adding to that, major goals take REAL planning and REAL consistency. Which means waiting only creates more difficulty inside of both of those things.
I have A LOT of clients right now who are dropping fat going into the holidays and it’s because they decided to start now and seek out accountability, rather than get sucked into the stereotype and lose the progress they’ve already made.
If you’re ready and tired of waiting, Click Here Now – we’ll set up a Free Strategy Call to map out your future results.
Cody McBroom is owner and head coach of Boom Boom Performance. He’s a Strength Coach and Nutrition Expert located in Seattle WA. He coaches people in person and online, now internationally. His passion is helping individuals changing their lives through body composition transformation, as well as creating content across all platforms to help individuals and other coaches learn more about training and nutrition.