How to Not Gain Weight + Eat Your Cake Too
The holidays seem to start earlier and end later every year. It can be increasingly more challenging to keep your waistline in check as the season trails on. The average person gains about two pounds during the holidays. Doesn’t sound like much but research shows that this weight tends to stick and continue to accumulate from year to year. People who are already overweight, add about five pounds throughout the holidays. This doesn’t have to be you! I’m here to tell you that you can still enjoy time with family, friends and food….without packing on any extra weight. Or feeling deprived or the weirdo in the corner avoiding all fun and food.
There’s about a million nutrition tips out there that you can try but I’ve narrowed it down to my top tactics that actually work. Keep in mind, these tips are to be applied while at holiday parties/gatherings. Other than that, your normal healthy eating behaviors should remain the same. Which can be challenging once you open Pandora’s box of holiday foods. If you follow these tips, you should not only prevent yourself from going overboard but also bounce back with little to no food hangover, weight gain or cravings. I know you’ve been there. I have! The mindset of “well I already screwed this day/week up, doesn’t matter now….’’ and continue eating like you’re at a holiday feast.
- Put the DAY back in holiday
Just to emphasize this point a little further, a holiday gathering is just a day or even a few hours. It does not give permission to eat whatever you want for that entire day. On the flip side, once you expose your body and taste buds to the sugar/fat/salt foods traditionally served at parties, your hormones go haywire. It’s natural to continue to crave those foods. First, know that it’s not YOU that wants pie for breakfast the next day its YOUR HORMONES. Know that if you over indulge, you’ll have a harder time bounding back.
- 1 + 3 Rule …how to not over indulge
While at a holiday party – pick your ONE favorite dessert item and have THREE bites. Research has shown that after 3 bites, your brain loses the enjoyment factor. Some people use this rule for their entire meal. If you choose to indulge in some savory food such as mashed potatoes or any dish with the word casserole/glaze/fried/smothered (you get the point), then yes –stick to the three bite rule for every item you put on your dish. As for dessert, again; just stick to one item.
After you enjoyed a holiday gathering just STOP. Meaning, don’t eat a single bite of food or drink another sip of alcohol once you leave the party. And don’t fall into the trap of “let me cram everything in my mouth now because tomorrow I have to be good.” You will pay for it. Try to be mindful and remember the three bite rule.
Try to give your digestive system, liver and hormones a 8-12 hour “fast” to rebalance and recoup. This doesn’t sound as bad as you may be thinking. You’ll be sleeping for most of this. If you stop eating/drinking by 9pm, eat your next balanced meal around 9am.
Dilute the damage and drink lots of water both throughout the party and afterwards. During the 8-12 hour “fast” water is permitted and highly recommended. This will help flush out your system and counter act any hangover (food or alcohol derived). Add in some fresh lemon to your water for extra detoxification or drink some detox tea. My favorite is detox tea by Yogi which you can find at most grocery stores. I still add lemon to the tea for taste.
It’s the day after a holiday party and there’s still a chance you don’t feel 100% despite your best efforts. This is totally normal. Whether it was the heavy food you normally don’t eat or the extra glass of wine you had, you may feel a little sluggish. Make sure you have a workout planned for the next day and follow your normal routine. If you don’t workout in the morning, don’t force yourself to workout in the morning as punishment because you most likely won’t do the workout and you’ll feel even worse about yourself. Go through your normal schedule, get a workout in and make sure to have 3 balanced meals and plenty of water. Lay off sugar all together (even in your coffee or protein bar) because you’re still at risk for going back to the darkside.
Before heading into any holiday event, remind yourself of these tactics and make sure you have a workout scheduled or planned for the following day. If it’s not planned, it won’t happen. Especially considering all the distractions and unplanned chaos that occurs during the holidays. Remember mindfulness by consciously choosing your indulgences and limit yourself to 3 bites (for the unhealthy stuff). Lastly, remind yourself of the stop-fast-move tactic when it comes to recovering healthfully from a fun and festive evening out. And above all else, enjoy the holidays and stop any negative self-talk!