10 Tips to Navigate Your Holiday Nutrition - Coach Mark Carroll

10 Tips to Navigate Your Holiday Nutrition

Dec 23, 2021
Sheridan Skye

The silly season is upon us which probably means your social calendar is bursting at the seams. Even if you’re a little bit of a hermit (like myself), you will likely have Christmas plans that revolve entirely around a lot of calorie-dense foods. 

So, I’m dropping in to give you a few tips and tricks that will help you navigate your nutrition this silly season. 

Tip #1: Make sure your nutrition strategy is intentional!

Whatever you choose, be intentional about your goals. Do you want to ‘YOLO’ it and put yourself in a food coma? Do you want to maintain? Or do you want to stay in a deficit?

Whatever goal you choose, own your choice and accept the sacrifices that come with it:

  • If you are the type of person who likes to ‘YOLO’ it on Christmas Day, that’s cool, just accept that you may gain a little fat and weight in the process. 
  • If you’re more inclined to aim to maintain, accept that you will lose less fat that week. 
  • If you’re more inclined to stay in a deficit, accept that you may not be able to fully immerse yourself in your overflowing social calendar and you will need to apply a lot more restraint. 

Just choose a goal that is realistic and execute it!

Don’t intend to be in a deficit and then find yourself being the person who YOLO’s it. When you CHOOSE something out of AUTONOMY you are more willing to accept what comes afterwards. If you make decisions out of emotion and eat the whole pudding when you intend to be in a deficit, you’ll feel shit about yourself. 

Tip #2: What you do between January-November matters more than what you do in December-January

Everyone seems to lose their minds in December. People worry if they overeat a day here and there and then the whole ‘New Year, new me’ promises begin (this is really just an exaggerated version of ‘I’ll start on Monday’). Remember – consistent actions create consistent results. You won’t undo 11 months of hard work in a few days. Refer back to tip one and own your strategy. 

Tip #3: You can have your pudding and eat it too!

Whether you’re the ‘YOLO’ it kind of person or the type who wants to maintain or stay in a deficit, consider calorie cycling. Similar to how your week-to-week average weight is more important than your day-to-day weight, your average weekly calorie intake is far more relevant than how many calories you’re eating on a specific day. This is where calorie cycling can be useful.


If you are recommended 1800 calories a day, your weekly net calories would equate to: 12,600 (1800 x 7 = 12,600) 

There are several ways you can use calorie cycling:

Now there’s nothing magical about calorie cycling and your rate of fat loss (or gain) will be determined by your overall energy balance – but it can enable you to have your pudding and eat it too (aka stick with your goals while enjoying a higher calorie day). 

Tip #4 Consider fasting 

Decreasing your eating window from 12-8pm can help decrease the overall energy you consume throughout the day. Just like calorie cycling, fasting isn’t magic. It is a tool you can utilise to decrease the amount of food you eat. 

Tip #5 Prioritise protein and vegetables before fun foods 

Christmas is all about the fun foods. If you turn down your Gran’s signature Christmas pudding, you probably won’t be doing yourself any favours, and let’s be real – Gran’s Christmas pudding is the sh*t. Try having a serving of protein and vegetables with each meal to increase satiety. Maybe you won’t need the whole pudding if you’re feeling full from loading up on protein and fibre. 

Tip #6 Stay hydrated

Fun fact, we often confuse thirst for hunger. Need I say more? 

Tip #7 Enjoy a few glasses of wine (or drink of choice) but maybe don’t get plastered

Alcohol is great at one thing – altering our ability to make rational choices. You might have the best of intentions to do X, Y and Z but your  perception gets a little distorted when you are looking down the barrel of a few empty wine bottles. Also remember that alcohol contains calories (yes, even your vodka lime soda). 

Tip #8 Eat mindfully

It takes a little while for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’re full. Take some time to chew your food and be present with it.  Your eyes are often hungrier than your stomach! If after a little while you find yourself still hungry, go back for seconds.

Tip #9 Stay active

Get yourself out for a walk with the family in the morning. This will help you to feel less sluggish after a big day of eating and drinking. 

Tip #10 Remember that all-or-nothing gets you all-or nothing 

If you find yourself overeating or having one too many drinks for a few days in a row, that’s cool. Just make good choices the next day and the day after that until you feel more like yourself. Don’t let a few days turn into a few weeks or a few months. Consistency is key!

Bonus Tip – Enjoy yourself!

No seriously, we rarely get a moment to be present with our loved ones. We often put SO much focus on food during the holidays and forget that this season is about coming together with the ones you love most to connect and celebrate the year that was, and the year that is to come.

Finally, we just want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for being part of the Coach Mark Carroll family.

Here’s to an epic 2022!

Yours in cheer,

Sheridan Skye

Head of Nutrition


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