How to avoid a diet meltdown over the holidays

Every year I remind myself to eat healthy during the holiday season. I made it through Halloween with collateral damage, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.  Of course, we all have our own definition of collateral damage, mine being “approximately six peanut butter cups.”  In any case, I made it into late November relatively unscathed, and then, suddenly, we came upon that four-day weekend synonymous with over-eating, black Friday and football (in no particular order).

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pumpkin pie in Dallas, so I decided to eat 3/4 of an entire pie afterward but not until I had a giant piece of stromboli first.  It’s a good thing I chased it all down with diet Coke, no less than 20 of them.  This wasn’t just a bad diet weekend — this was the equivalent of a diet nuclear meltdown!

This year we were invited to the annual Thanksgiving Day Cowboys game in Dallas.  This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I decided if I have to bend on my diet a little bit, then so be it!

Over the course of the four-day weekend, I managed to eat: clam chowder in a bread bowl, a giant bag of peanut M&M’s, a full rack of baby back ribs with mashed potatoes, a giant slice of ultimate fudge cake, waffles, a full Thanksgiving dinner, a hot dog, chocolate chip cookies, a bacon-avocado burger, a fajita omelet (sounded healthy, it wasn’t), pancakes, chocolate almond clusters, another full Thanksgiving dinner, Oreo cookie brownies, more chocolate chip cookies and a southwest omelet (that actually was semi-healthy).

So now what?

Well, first things first — I know from experience that weight loss doesn’t happen in four days and neither does weight gain. I certainly feel guilty and look softer around my waist. It was time to get back to business. Remember, I’ve said it a million times — health and wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. I fell off the “fitness wagon,” and now I’ve gotten back on.

The following Monday I was back in the gym working hard.  I like to alternate between weight-training days and cardio days. On weight training days I do complete body workouts, specifically using compound movements such as squats, presses and pulls. I skip the isolation movements such as bicep curls. On cardio days I get creative, but the key is always high-intensity interval training. Rather than jog on the treadmill for an hour, I sprint for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds repeating for approximately 40 minutes.  The key is giving it 100 percent effort with each workout.

Additionally, I’m trying to eliminate all sugar and white carbs from my diet.  I’ve increased my protein and dark-colored carb intake. I also supplement with a tablespoon of highly-distilled fish oil daily. I’m only drinking water or tea, nothing else. My diet isn’t perfect; it never will be. I simply make a conscious effort to eat healthy at each meal.

So if you’ve had a similar dieting experience this holiday season (or any other time for that matter), just put it behind you, get back on track and remember when it comes to your health and wellness there is no finish line.  In the meantime, I have some chocolate chip cookies I need to burn off.