The holidays are a time to appreciate the things we have, spend time with the family, and take a break from our everyday stresses. For most it is also a time of multiple holiday dinners, eating out, and weight gain. Here are some tips that help me survive the holidays without gaining any weight.
- Change your mindset. The first thing I did was change my mindset. Being healthy and staying in shape is a lifestyle and not a diet. As soon as you change your mindset it will make everything much easier for you. Once Thanksgiving hits most individuals change from the mindset of “dieting” to “I’ll start dieting again when the holidays are over”. All because the holidays are here doesn’t mean it’s a free for all to eat anything you choose to everyday. That’s the equivalent of getting a flat tire and instead of getting the tire repaired you decide to slash the other 3.
- Make a plan. Ok, now that you have changed that mindset it’s time to make a plan. You know that eating anything and everything during the holidays will add on average 7 lbs. So our first plan is to not do that. To keep things simple we know if you eat more than the body needs it will be stored as fat. So either we need to add activity to counter the extra food or we need to eat less most of the week to average out what the body needs. So first thing you need to do is figure out when you will be splurging and calculating it into your plan for the week.
- Implement plan. A plan is worthless if you do nothing with it. So how do we implement our plan of keeping our calories in check so that we do not gain weight?
- First thing I would do is to add extra activity to your routine to help counter the extra food. You can do this in a few different ways. First would be to add activity the day of in the form of weight training or HIIT. If you are limiting yourself to 1 or two meals this might be enough. If you are allowing yourself more than just one or two meals than adding in extra activity daily might be necessary. The key is to add weight training or HIIT to maximize the benefits. Stay away from low intensity steady state cardio as much as possible.
- The second option is to reduce calories throughout the week to equal the extra calories you are adding in. So for example if you know you’ll be adding an additional 1500 calorie holiday dinner than it would be smart to reduce your daily calories by 250.
- The third option is to enjoy the holiday meals without going overboard and combining the first 2 options. So how do you prevent yourself from going overboard. With the combination of these 3 things it is actually possible to lose body fat and build muscle while enjoying the holidays. Here are some great easy things to help.
- Eat a high protein meal with veggies before going to dinner. The protein and the fiber from the veggies will help you go into dinner without being hungry.
- Drink plenty of water the day of and keep a glass of water with you at all times. This will prevent you from grabbing other beverages and will help you stay full.
- As you load your plate with food at dinner start with the veggies, then lean protein, then add in the other food. This way by the time you get to the unhealthy food you will not have as much room and will eat less.
- As you are loading your plate up use portion control. There is no need to stuff your face full of as much food as you can humanly fit. Have a little bit of the things you like. You’ll be more satisfied when done then if you ate so much you can’t move.
- Eat slowly. The faster you eat the more you will eat. It takes time for the food to reach your stomach and tell the brain you’re full. Eat slower and you’ll eat less.
- Don’t eat things you don’t like. it sounds like a no brainer, but I’m amazed how many people I run into that their family somehow forces them to finish their plate even if they are full or don’t enjoy what is on their plate.
- Don’t take leftovers home. Leave the junk with the family. Any leftovers taken home will be eaten.
Those are the tricks I use to keep from gaining any negative weight during the holidays. My mindset is already set to a lifestyle . I live everyday with my main objective to be my health, not as a diet. If your main objective is health and you focus on reaching your goals you will not only attain them, but you will maintain them. Have a great holiday and enjoy the little things with your family