Holiday Survival Guide

Start-up Saturday!

Here’e your Holiday Survival Guide:  Learn How to Get Through the Holidays With No Regrets.Let’s face it:  it is hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays.  Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites.  When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as our scales are concerned.

The good news is that you really can get through the holidays without gaining weight.  It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around and you have no regrets!


Your Goal:  Maintenance

In order to greet the New Year without tipping the scale, it is wise to try to maintain your weight during the next few weeks instead of trying to lose.   Remember:  you want to enjoy the holidays, not be miserable from deprivation.  This means that you will allow yourself occasional treats and splurges and keep the scale where it is rather than trying to actually decrease your weight.

There are several ways to accomplish this:

  • Don’t skip your workouts.  Even moderate intensity workouts can burn 300-400 calories per hour.  You need this calorie-burn to keep up with the richer food that you will be eating.  You will also be less likely to overeat if you have just sweated through a hard workout!


  • Eat breakfast.  People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.
  • Keep a food diary.  Write down every single thing you eat—even if it is only one bite of shrimp cocktail.  It is a proven fact that keeping a food journal results in better weight control than not keeping one.
  • Monitor your hunger.  Never show up at a party or buffet ravenous—you will most certainly overeat.  Drink water and have a protein-filled snack (such as nuts or cheese) before arriving. This will help you to have more self-control around the temptations.
  • Weigh yourself twice each week. Normally it is not a good idea to step on the scale too often, but during the holidays it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals.  If you see the scale start to creep, you can immediately take steps to correct it, such as backing off your calories for a day or two, drinking more water and adding in a little more exercise.
  • Watch your portion size.  If you have an idea of how much food you are putting on your plate, you will be less likely to overdo it.  Take a look at the chart to familiarize yourself with portion sizes as they compare to your hand.
  • Deal quickly with leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge.  Don’t leave them sitting around.  Freeze them, give them away or toss them.  It’s not worth the temptation!
  • Check in with your future self.  Every day, speak to yourself from the future—say, from January 1.  Thank yourself for doing the tough work of self-discipline during these holiday weeks.  You might say something like this:

“Thank you!  I feel great!  I’m no heavier than
I was in November, I’ve stayed on track with my
exercise, my energy is incredible and I’ve got
the momentum to spend the rest of the winter
getting in even better shape before spring gets here!”

  • Go public.  Sound scary?  It’s supposed to!  Let others know what your current weight is and check in with them each time you weigh yourself.  That kind of intense accountability will give you will power when the cheesecake and fudge starts showing up at the office!

When I sat down to write this letter, it was to be serious with references and info about accountability, the stages of change and some home truths about why you need a kick in the butt.

Whatever you do, don’t hire a Coach.  As part of my BTN course, I have access to a lot of interesting blogs.  This one written by Troy Martin and I thought it only fitting to send the day after Thanksgiving as part of a Holiday Survival Guide.

But, then I thought that stuff has been written about before and the fact is that if you haven’t considered a coach to this point then you probably won’t get one on the back of reading a bunch of technical jargon. So, here’s 5 reasons that you don’t need a coach


What’s the point in getting a coach, they’ll only tell you what you already know, right? You have seen all those documentaries on Netflix and you’ve read a bunch of books including The Primal Blueprint and some really sciencey sounding stuff by Gary Taubes.

Or perhaps you follow Alan Aragon, Lyle Macdonald or that other bloke, I think his first name is Ben? That’s great because it’s not like they have utterly conflicting views on everything and there’s zero chance of you getting confused.

Anyway, you already know so much you could be a nutritionist yourself. A nutritionist who is no closer to reaching their goals now than you were 5 years ago, but that’s not your fault, it’s just that you don’t have time, you can’t afford to bulk buy, you get in from work so tired that you don’t have the energy to hit the gym and you’ve got 3 episodes of the latest TV drama waiting for you to catch up on Sky+. But that’s ok because you know what you’re doing.


Yeah, Dave’s pretty buff he knows his stuff and it worked for him so it will definitely work for you because that’s exactly how nutrition works. The fact that it is really restrictive and confusing and you’re not sure what it means when it says no carbs after 6… 6 what?

Scoops of ice cream? Ah, that’s alright you only had 5 scoops so that means you can have that bag of chocolate buttons while watching those three episodes of your Favorite show.

Dave’s plan calls for 6 meals a-day because it keeps your metabolism high and burns more fat and you can’t have fat and carbs in the same meal which means that you can’t eat ice cream. Oh wait…

You have to have 30g of protein at each meal but that’s OK, there’s protein in oats, right?

Yeah, Dave’s the man he does, like 100 bicep curls a-day!


Yeah, that bloke on the telly said sugar is bad and there was an article about it in that trusted nutrition journal, it was on the same day as that article about the celebrity with no knickers and the fake story about immigrants lacing tins of tuna with mind control drugs.

Anyway, sugar is bad, all the important people say so and Gwyneth Paltrow sweetens her ayervedic tea with the urine of South American squirrel monkeys and she’s way slim.

Yeah, so all you need to do is cut out all the sugar. So no sweets, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals, fizzy drinks, fruit juice, baked beans (because they have loads of added sugar an’ all) oh and fruit, no fruit because, you know… Sugar!

That’s OK, I’ll just put loads of honey on everything instead, honey comes from bees so that’s natural, Gwyneth Paltrow said so.


Fat makes you fat obvs! It’s called FAT, what more do you need to know?

Fat also makes your heart really unhealthy which is why you don’t eat bacon, beef, lamb, shellfish, full fat dairy, more than 2 eggs and only have ice cream with fruit flavors because that’s one of your 5-a-day.

You use vegetable oil for cooking, spread margarine on your granary toast, have light crisps instead of pringles, drink vodka because those calories don’t count and you have fruit ‘n’ fibre for breakfast because your doctor said your cholesterol is high.

Thank godness for avocados, eh?

Of course, you have all the low fat options when you eat and the family sized bar of chocolate, the take away pizza and the Friday night curry don’t count because you’ve been really low fat all week.

Yeah, this definitely works for you.

“A good coach is more than someone who tells you what to eat”  (Tweet)


Why pay for a coach to help you define and understand your goals, to create a method of control that suits those goals and your lifestyle, that doesn’t feel overly restrictive and actually gets results when you use that money to pay for a big night out each Saturday?

You get to eat what you want, when you want, you don’t go to the gym regularly so you have extra time to waste by scrolling through your social media feed looking for more distractions and you get to passive aggressively judge anyone who is actually doing everything you’re not and getting the results you’re not.

Yeah, you’re definitely much better off keeping that money and saving the energy you would waste on investing your time, energy and emotion into improving your health by doing it your way.

IS IT TIME TO REASSESS . . . and change your perspective?

The fact of the matter is that you absolutely DON’T have to have a coach to maintain results but if you aren’t getting results or your results are inconsistent then clearly something needs to change. A good coach is a bonus and can educate and empower you with the knowledge to be the best version of you that you can possibly be.

A good coach won’t just give you a meal plan and a shopping list and off you go because there’s no behavior change involved in that, no education and no accountability. The coach can’t do it for you.

But, the coach will be there with you every step along the way, to congratulate you when you forget to congratulate yourself, to pick you up when you have a wobble. A good coach is more than someone who tells you what to eat or how to train they are a teacher, a friend, a confidant and motivator.

All of my colleagues have had their own journey, their own ups and downs and have the evidence based education needed to not only give what you need but to relate to your problems. We may be coaches, but we’re also human beings on the same health & fitness journey.

Now, if only you knew where to find said coach. I’ll leave this here…  until next time… questions email here.

So, you think you’ve fallen off the wagon again but that’s alright there was a reason for that.  Let’s explore it together.

You can’t be bothered.  Maybe you’ll start again soon, Ooh look someone just posted a picture of their cat hanging from the curtain or of me hanging from the TRX.  🙂


You can survive the holidays with no added weight gain.  Remember these tips and keep a vision of what you want to feel like on January 1st in mind.

Enjoy!  It’s going to be a great holiday season!

Your Friend & Coach Jessica
Personal Trainer & Fitness Coach
FIt50andFab, LLC