I can't count how many times I have written an article about eating over the holidays. However, I write it again every year because it needs to be said.
Most of use live with some form of dieting or structured eating plan for the entire year. We thrive on the structure. Familiarity makes us comfortable whether that be continuing to eat whatever we want or, in the case of a bodybuilder, sticking to our normal meal plan. However, the holidays should be different.
It isn't that I am recommending that everyone eat like a slob. What I do recommend is enjoying the holidays the way you want to enjoy them. Most of us are making memories with family and friends, and the celebration around the holidays usually involves food. We could argue whether we should celebrate with food or drinks, but that isn't my focus. The reality is that this is how most families have celebrated for decades. The last thing I would want to do is take Tupperware to my grandmother's house and offend her by not eating the food that she spent so much time making. If it wasn't my grandmother, it could be my mother, one of my kids, or even a friend. I have the rest of the year to be obsessive with my diet. However, I am speaking only about me.
How you celebrate the holidays is your business. If you want to eat your meals on schedule like it's just another day, I won't lose sleep over it. In fact, I don't think I really care one way or the other because it impacts me none. I don't bother with offending anyone because I feel that giving up a meal or two on a holiday is not going to set my progress back (or my clients) when I consider the bigger picture.
If you are getting ready for a show and you are in prep mode, that's a completely different story. If you have health issues that put strict parameters around your nutritional intake, that is a different story, as well. If you don't have any of these issues but are going to walk away from the table after a holiday meal feeling guilty or fat, you should probably take a closer look at how you process your thoughts about eating. One meal--especially when you exercise portion control and eat only until you are satiated--is not going to harm your condition or cause any visual increase in body-fat levels. And please don't think you are better than any of your friends or family because you're a bodybuilder. You chose to be a bodybuilder, and that doesn't make everyone else less than you for not having your passion or for them not making being "ripped" a priority. It could be argued that regular people are the normal ones, and we are the ones who need counseling or therapy.
You aren't any less focussed or hardcore if you enjoy a holiday meal with your family or friends. If one or two meals makes you feel fat or out of shape, you were already fat or out of shape before you ate those meals. What it does show is that you can put your self-obsessed focus on the back burner for one day to celebrate with family and friends. Most of us have taken a day and gone off of our diets just because we felt like it. To do that on any other random day during the year and not do it with family and friends at the holidays seems a bit odd to me. But that's just me.
In the end, it is your decision. Whether I think you are selfish, or you think I'm not hardcore enough, doesn't really matter. You likely aren't a part of my family or friends' group because I wouldn't have a friend who judged me for what I eat and vice versa. At the end of the day, you have do what you are comfortable with and do what is important to you. I am just here to remind you not to feel guilty for enjoying yourself and making memories. If you can make memories by eating your chicken and rice, go for it. Just make sure you are comfortable with making someone who cooked the holiday meal feel unappreciated. Remember, your passion is yours and no one else's. The truth is that no one really cares about your obsessive nature outside of you. I know this comes as a shock to some people because they swear everyone cares but they don't. Accept for one day that you aren't special, and then you can go back to the other 364 days of feeling like you are. Now, pass the green-bean casserole. Just sayin'.
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