How to avoid excessive weight gain during the holidays:
1) Think Protein & Fibre!
Eating protein will fill you up therefore leaving you less likely to crave carbs or fatty foods. Some good options are turkey, ham, quinoa, lentils or beans. Snacking on high fibre foods like veggies and legumes will keep you fuller longer and keep you from reaching for snack foods that lack nutrients.
2) Plan your meal for your personal satisfaction.
Option 1: If you choose main course without dessert, then eat all your proteins first, then fats and then lots of veggies and save carbs for last.
Option 2: If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to eat a lot of protein and veggies, but avoid fats and carbs at dinner. Carbs lead to fat gain because they suppress your fat metabolism. Carbs directly turn to fat if your glycogen stores are over saturated which likely won’t happen unless you are continually over consuming carbs.
Option 3: If you want to have a few social drinks, eat more protein! When you drink alcohol it does not get converted into fat inside your body, however it can disrupt your body’s ability to burn fat and it will also inhibit protein synthesis.
3) Go slow and wait it out!
What we mean by this is eat slowly and really chew your food. This will also give your body more time to register fullness and stop you from overeating. It actually takes the brain 20 minutes to get the message that you have eaten. So especially before going for that 2nd plate, just wait it out and see if you want it in another 10 minutes. If you do, cool. If not, you won't overstuff yourself.
4) Drink lots of water
Have a glass of water before each meal. This will take up room in your stomach making you feel like eating less. It will also help keep you hydrated if you're drinking coffee or alcohol, but also help with proper digestion of all that yummy turkey.
5) Proper Portions
During the holidays our eyes tend to get bigger than our stomachs and so it is very easy to overeat beyond the point at which you are full. By properly choosing correct portion sizes you will get to enjoy all of your favourite foods and ensure that you are not over eating. Choosing a smaller plate will also limit the amount of food you can eat in a serving.
6) Proper arrival and departure etiquette
What we mean by that is don't arrive hungry - have a nutritious meal before going to any holiday dinners to keep you satisfied and not reaching for any finger foods. And/or, allow your guests to take home leftovers - this will limit the amount you keep at home and minimizing your ability to overeat on holiday meals. Otherwise, meal prep with your leftovers but putting them into proper proportions and with the right macros for the rest of the week.
7) Train hard
Use some of your anabolic power to gain some muscle in the process of eating lots! Go for an intense weight training session of a big muscle group such as legs before your big meal. This will increase your metabolic rate by around for around 24 hours after! And if you're like me, guilt of eating a celebratory meal is inversely related to how hard you train.
If you can't make it to the gym, don't throw out your workouts altogether. There are plenty of quick and efficient home workouts that can be done in minimal time that will both help you stay on track with your training as well as utilize those holiday calories. Try this at-home no-equipment required circuit:
- 12 Push ups
- 12 Squats
- 10 Walking Lunges (each leg)
- 10 Pullups
- 30 Second Plank
- 10 Burpees
- 10 Hip Bridge
- 12 Tricep Dips
- 12 Step Ups
- 30 Second Bear Crawl
And lastly 8), enjoy the holidays!
Just remember this time only comes every so often! Do not let fears of over eating stop you from having fun with your friends and family. Follow the tips provided and eat smart, you are allowed to enjoy yourself!