Kristi Castlin is a very good hurdler. How good? The 26-year-old Atlanta native beat American record-holder Brianna Rollins in the 100-meter hurdlers in the spring, breaking Rollins' two-year winning streak. It came down to the thousandth of a second—Castlin's 12.571 seconds to Rollins' 12.576—and when the margin for winning and losing is so slight, every ounce counts.
To give herself the edge in the late winter and early spring, Castlin chooses to not get fat over the holidays. "I don't like to work my way out of holes," she says. "What percentage of people do you know that actually stick to their New Year's resolutions?"
There's that stat that floats around this time of year that says the average American gains between seven to 10 pounds over the holidays. Well, that's a load of crap. Still, holiday weight gain is a real thing, with the actual figure between one or two pounds. But that doesn't mean it has to happen.
The challenges Castlin faces during the holidays are the same than any other American deals with, she says: holiday parties awash with booze and junk food. Here are three of her holiday party strategies to not end up tubby in 2015.
Before the party, Castlin eats something healthy
Maybe it's digesting-to-most-people coconut water or juice. Maybe it's a small meal not involving cocktail weenies. Whatever it is, it takes the edge off, and reduces the possibility of overindulging. And you know what? You're friends aren't going to give you that much shit if you just say up front why you don't have a full plate.
"Once I put it out there, they can support me a little better," she says.
At the party, Castlin heads straight for the bar . . .
. . . And looks to the mixers. She'll ask for water with a splash of juice. Parties can be stressful, and having something in your hand can help, even if it's not getting you shit-faced.
True, Castlin is a world-class athlete, and her solution of "I'll tell them what they should have if they want me to attend"—this is a real quote—may not work for you. But there's always tonic water or cranberry juice around.
Or here's an idea: instead of three drinks, how about calling it at two?
Toward the end of the party, Castlin ducks out before last call
Do you really want to be the one that closes down the party? You're not in college anymore.
"My 20s and 30s, those are years for me to really work hard," she says. "I'm willing to sacrifice now."
Unlike Castlin, your dream to become an Olympian is probably past its shelf life. But that doesn't mean you need to pack on the holiday pounds only to face the glare of the bathroom scale on January 1. By taking a few steps this holiday party season, you may just save yourself a few extra months with a personal trainer.
"I want to be healthy. I want to look good," Castlin says. "When you try to jump in that Speedo in June or July, you'll wish you didn't celebrate as hard during the holiday season."