Next week begins the Great American Holiday Extravaganza, the time of year where most Americans travel to see family, pack on extra pounds, and generally have a good time. But in the midst of all this revelry, what’s a cyclist to do? All that travel makes it tough to ride, and all that food can make hard-won weight loss gains evaporate in an instant.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here (at least none that won’t end with a high probability of being served divorce papers), but there are a few tricks and tips we can use to stay fit, keep the pounds off, and enjoy the holidays.
1. Try To Ride Early
Even if you have your bike, getting away from family during the holidays can be a pretty tall order. Try riding early, before you’ll be missed. Plus, your in-laws might be impressed when you show up for breakfast, having already gotten a workout in…or not—but you’ll definitely feel better.
That ride not going to happen? Try going for a run or doing some core work instead. Running and core work usually takes less time than a run, and all you need to pack is a pair of shoes and some shorts or sweats. Plus, since you won’t be going as far, you don’t have to worry about getting lost on unfamiliar roads. Running will also give you plenty of time to think about how much you miss being back on the bike.
3. Watch Where You Sit
The Thanksgiving and Holiday feasts are unavoidable, but studies show you can help avoid those extra holiday pounds by trying to sit as far from the snacks as possible to prevent mindless eating. Although if your house is anything like ours, that could be easier said than done.
4. Pick Your Favorites
Instead of going all in at dessert time, try setting yourself the goal of only eating what you’ll truly enjoy. Not that we have anything against pecan pie, but we’d rather enjoy an extra slice of pumpkin instead.
If you’re trying to lose weight this coming year, or have vain hopes of staying at race weight all year long, then watch what you drink. Whenever possible, choose something no- or low-calorie like water or a sugarless electrolyte drink. Instead of beer, try drinking wine or spirits (just not in the same quantities) for that holiday cheer without the pounds. Avoid eggnog like the plague, and lay off the soda.
6. Go Easy On Yourself
Even if you bring your bike with you, don’t worry about it if you don’t make it out for a ride or fail utterly in your attempts to curb your appetite. There are more important things in life than riding bikes, and worse sins than forgoing the diet for a few days. Think of this as a time to reconnect with loved ones, especially family you might not get to see very often, and enjoy yourself. There will be plenty of time for dieting and riding in the coming year.