Give Yourself the Gift of Health This Holiday Season

Ah, The Holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 

It’s also when nutrition tends to become an afterthought for most folks for a few reasons: 

  1. The Holidays are used as an excuse to eat whatever you want without limitations, because you’ll “get back to it” come January. But then January rolls around, and suddenly you’re up 10lbs from where you were in September...and the cycle of yo-yo dieting continues into the new year.

  2. People spend money around the holidays on trips and gifts – but for some reason, they’re unwilling to invest in their own health and well-being.

  3. A lot of folks seek help from nutrition coaches when they only want to lose weight – i.e., go into a caloric deficit. And a lot of people don’t like to do that with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Which is totally fine! I wouldn’t want to cut weight around The Holidays either. But, you don’t just need help when you’re in a caloric deficit – nutrition coaches offer SO much more than telling people how much or how little to eat. 

Healthy eating doesn’t have seasons like the weather does – it happens year round. There’s no “time out” from working on your eating habits.

Here’s why:

People need to be in MAINTENANCE CALORIES for most of the year. Maintenance is how much you can eat without experiencing major weight gain or major weight loss. Weight cuts should only happen 1-2 times a year, and folks should spend about 4-12 weeks in a caloric deficit before coming out of their cut and heading back into maintenance.

Why is maintenance so important? First, it gives your body, metabolism, and hormones time to stabilize and feel “safe”. You adapt to higher calories, thereby staying sensitive to calorie cutting when it IS the right time to cut. 

What’s unfortunate to see is that most people these days are chronically under-eating throughout the year, and their metabolisms adapt to an extremely low caloric intake. So, when they try and cut weight again, they have to keep slashing their calories down again and again. Why make yourself hungry and miserable when it’s absolutely NOT necessary? 

Additionally, staying in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time increases cortisol levels, inflammation, and causes sex hormones and thyroid function to plummet – aka you end up feeling like a burning pile of trash in a few months or a few years. Everything works until one day it doesn't. 

A good coach will help you reach your goals while prioritizing your health year round and setting you up for LONG TERM success.

Beyond the health reasons, maintenance should be used to hone in on the skills that will set you up for success not only for you next cut, but for eating for the rest of your LIFE! These skills include, but aren’t limited to: 

  1. Learning how to cook for yourself and discovering new foods and recipes.

  2. How to plan and look ahead and prepare food when life gets busy.

  3. How to eat MINDFULLY, how to make informed decisions while eating out at a restaurant or while at a party.

  4. Learning what true balance and moderation is by figuring out which foods you should eat more of, sometimes, and rarely.

  5. How to love your body fully and completely, and how to untie your self worth from a number on the scale.

  6. How to improve your energy levels, your sleep quality, your sex life, and your workouts with food.

  7. How to manage your emotions like anxiety, stress, anger, and depression without turning to food.

And so much more. 

A coach helps you build and develop those skills.

Maintenance sets us up for success for our next cut, and puts us back on the path towards living our healthiest life and prioritizing our emotional and physical well-being. If we’re supposed to spend most of our time at maintenance calories throughout the year – it actually is one of the MOST crucial times to invest in a coach.  

So give yourself the gift of health this holiday season, and reach out to coach and ask for help. 

Author: Megan Markoff, Black Iron Nutrition Coach, @megmarkoffcoaching