6 Tips for Getting Through the Holidays without Gaining Weight
Forget about resolving to skip the parties, to stay away from the buffet table or to throw away any food gifts you might receive. Don’t set rules for yourself that are almost guaranteed to be broken. We’ve seen too many of our in-home personal training clients ruin their holidays this way. All it does is leave you frustrated, unmotivated and unhappy about the holiday season. Getting through the holidays without gaining weight isn’t about deprivation, it’s about moderation.
You’re supposed to enjoy the season. You’re supposed to enjoy some of those treats you only have once a year. But you don’t have to gain ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to do it. Just keep these tips in mind, and try to keep the weight loss stress to a minimum.
> Don’t toss your whole diet because you tossed one day. The truth is, it’s not about how many calories you eat in a day. Your metabolism doesn’t work that quickly. It’s more accurately about how many calories you take in (and burn) over several days. If you know you’re going to a New Year’s party or a Christmas dinner, just behave yourself for a couple of days before and after.
This doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself sick, because you do still need to work to balance your intake out over the week. But you should have a little bit of everything you enjoy.
> You don’t need to stick to green olives at a cocktail party. Just pick the one thing you’d REALLY like to have and leave the rest of the high-calorie, high-sugar foods alone. That way, you get to enjoy yourself without hating yourself later or feeling like you got cheated.
> 30 minutes to an hour before a food-related event, have a snack that is high in fiber, healthy fats and protein. Try apple slices spread with almond butter and a boiled egg, or a smoothie with Greek yogurt, berries and flax seed.
> Cocktail parties are tough, but there a few things you can do to make them more diet-friendly. If you can’t stick to water, at least skip the hard liquor (pure sugar) and drink wine or beer. Have some fat with it and the sugar won’t slam your bloodstream all at once, raising insulin (fat storage) levels at the same time.
> If it’s too hard to get to the gym during the rush of the season, give yourself the gift of a few in-home personal training sessions. Most trainers (us included) offer specials during the holiday season and this can help you stay on track when making time for the gym is tough to do. In-home personal training can also jumpstart your motivation, help you focus on moving forward and help you come up with new goals and new workout strategies for reaching them.
> Get plenty of regular sleep during the holiday season. Irregular sleep or not enough of it (less than seven hours) raises cortisol levels, interferes with muscle recovery and protein synthesis and can completely stall fat loss.
Whatever you do, remember that moderation is the key. Four parties instead of seven. One plate instead of three. Sugar balanced with fat and protein. Fun followed by rest.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the holiday season happens once a year and it’s about family, friends, love and joy. Hopefully, you won’t completely blow your eating plan or your workout program, but if you have to put your weight loss goals on hold until January, do it. The holidays won’t wait for you, but your new body will.