Find out how to enjoy the New Year hol­i­days with­out harm­ing your fig­ure.

There’s noth­ing bet­ter than that time of year when the win­ter is snowy, the food is deli­cious, and the desserts are light yet fes­tive. In a month, the whole world, includ­ing fit­ness, will ful­ly enjoy the fes­tive feast. How can you spend win­ter lunch­es and din­ners with­out hin­der­ing your fit­ness progress?

Lifehack: Protein is Key

Almost every­one knows about the effect of pro­tein on mus­cle growth. With­out ade­quate intake of high pro­tein foods, your body won’t have the resources it needs to turn all your hard work in the gym into lean mus­cle mass and def­i­n­i­tion.

How­ev­er, a less­er-known func­tion of pro­tein is how it inter­acts with appetite. Pro­teins are much hard­er to digest and absorb than car­bo­hy­drates, mak­ing them a great way to stay full longer. Start your meal by fill­ing your plate with turkey, ham, or any oth­er source of pro­tein you desire. Your mus­cles and taste buds will thank you lat­er.

The Trap: Liquid Calories

And while pro­tein sources add calo­ries but sat­is­fy hunger, liq­uid calo­ries don’t have the same ben­e­fit. You won’t even notice how a liter of juice will add an extra five hun­dred calo­ries to your dai­ly diet. And this doesn’t even include sug­ary sodas and alco­hol. Instead of this:

  • Drink a glass of water before meals and each sub­se­quent meal.
  • Pace your­self as you eat.
  • And/or replace every oth­er drink with a glass of water.

Trap: tricky sauces for dishes

So you’ve stuffed your­self with turkey, cut back on your alco­hol intake, and maybe even added a few serv­ings of veg­gies for good mea­sure and some fiber-friend­li­ness. What could go wrong at this point? The answer lies deep inside the dec­o­ra­tive gravy boat. May­on­naise mixed with var­i­ous ingre­di­ents cre­ates a tasty but greasy sauce that can add hun­dreds of extra calo­ries to your meal. The best thing you can do to avoid falling for its charm is to ignore it alto­geth­er, or to gen­tly dip the meat or fish with­out get­ting too car­ried away.

Life hack: one day won’t ruin your work in the gym or diet

In fact, one day of feast­ing will not stop you from pro­gress­ing. Just as one day at the gym won’t sud­den­ly make you lose weight, a day of overindulging won’t sud­den­ly reverse all your weight loss.

The only real threat to your waist­line is insid­i­ous­ly hid­den dur­ing the hol­i­days. Or rather, their quan­ti­ty. Once the hol­i­day feast turns from a one-day event into a week-long binge, its con­se­quences will become obvi­ous. Skip a few days of binge eat­ing, or at least be mind­ful of how they can impact your fit­ness goals.