Here are three strategies to help you manage holiday weekends from a nutrition and recovery standpoint!
1: The bookend strategy
This is what I would recommend for most people. This strategy says that you’ll have events where nutrition and recovery are going to get a little off track–and that’s ok! Instead of trying to mitigate or doing anything different during those events, it’s about having a great plan for the days/hours immediately before and after the event. 1 day of having fun with our friends and loved ones is often just what the doctor ordered–however the 24 hours before and after are often just as bad if not worse. Come up with a plan for what you’re going to eat, how much water you’re going to drink, and how you’re going to optimize sleep the day before and after–and often times you’ll cut out a lot of lingering bad feelings (and hangovers!).
2: The timing strategy. This is more applicable for when you have one big meal or party to go to, and want to maximize the rest of the day. It boils down to three points:
- In the hours leading up to the event, eat and drink only lean protein, plants, and water. This will help you be hydrated and healthy headed into the event.
- Since a lot of holiday events are during the day, stop drinking 2 hours before you go to bed. This will help with your recovery, as most of the sleep impacts of alcohol are mitigated by having it out of your system by the time you hit deep sleep.
- Have your last meal right before heading out the door–so you’re less hungry once you see the giant table of chips and dip.
The “some good with the bad” strategy: This is for those of you who don’t like the way you feel when you over indulge, and want to try and resist some of those temptations while having a good time. This comes down to 2 main points:
- Have a drink near the beginning when almost everyone else has a drink/toasts are going on/etc. Then switch to water for 2-3 cups before drinking again.
- Choose 1-2 delicious treats that you really want–but otherwise prioritize healthy proteins, veggies, fruit, and real food.
Above all–remember that one day does not a diet or workout routine break. It’s the weeks of remaining off the wagon that will really impact your nutrition and recovery.