5 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
While it is definitely possible to successfully lose weight over Christmas and New Years by staying disciplined, it’s essential to manage our own expectations and rethink our goals when it comes to this festive period. If experience tells you that you’re prone to putting on more than a few pounds every Christmas, a successful holiday may simply mean maintaining your body weight. Below are five ways to enjoy the festivities while keeping the weight gain at a minimum!
1) Eat light foods during the day
If most of your celebrations are scheduled for the evenings, during the day is when you'll have the best chance at controlling your calorie intake. Keep your calories lower at breakfast and lunch by skipping the carbs and opting for naturally-filling high protein, high fiber meals. When you arrive at your party that night, you’ll be able to feast with your friends without the guilt!
Why does this work? Simply put, avoiding starchy and sugary carbohydrates keeps your insulin levels low, allowing you to stay in ‘fat-burning mode’ for the majority of the day. The combination of fibre and protein from foods such as chicken breast and spinach will balance your blood sugar levels, keeping hunger at bay and calories low until your evening debauchery begins!
2) Eat your protein first
When you arrive at your party, be it a buffet dinner at a restaurant or a family gathering at home, fill your plate up with protein first! Opting for lean meats such as turkey and chicken before moving on to the bread and potatoes will reduce their rates of digestion, blunting the aforementioned insulin spike. You’ll also be less likely to overeat as protein tends to have a strong satiating effect!
3) Use intermittent fasting strategically
There are costs and benefits to intermittent fasting that go beyond the scope of this article. However, one of the best applications of intermittent fasting, when done sparingly, is the day after an enormous meal such as Christmas dinner. A short fast the following day allows you to burn off the calories from the previous evening, especially if you can get out for a light cardio session.
How long should you fast for? A good start would be an 18-hour window from the moment you took your last bite!
4) Stay active
When you wake up the next morning, force yourself to get moving. While you don’t have to hit the weight room with your usual intensity, getting outside for a brief hike will do wonders at off-setting the weight gain. It’s a great way to spend time with your loved ones and provide a brief respite to the endless partying that often happens during this time of year. The combination of fasting and light exercise is a powerful way to put the brakes on weight gain.
5) Enjoy yourself
Make the most of this beautiful time of year and allow yourself to enjoy good food and company. The stress reduction aspect is not to be understated. Lowered cortisol levels - one of your primary stress hormones - can do wonders when it comes to weight loss.
More importantly, you won’t gain any weight from one or two big meals providing the rest of the meals are within your diet guidelines. By adding all the above steps together - who knows - you may even lose a few pounds!
Do you want more help from ATP's coaches? The easiest way to get started is to get in touch with us using the form below. We can discuss what it will take to help you improve your lifestyle starting with simple habit forming changes, an improved diet and a regular exercise plan.