5 Top Diet Tactics to Prevent Dreaded Holiday Weight Gain
No other season like the holiday season will Americans pack on ugly body fat, gaining the most weight than any other time. Employ these 13 tactics to save your waistline and fight the war on weight gain this holiday season.
Dinners, desserts, parties, meetings, errands…the season is full of hustle and bustle. Staying true to a healthy eating plan will be a huge challenge for most, so here are some tried and true methods to keep the holiday weight gain at bay.
1.) Do NOT Fast in Preparation for a Big Meal or Holiday Feast
Fasting in preparation for a free meal will not only lead to overeating, but worse: overeating foods that are extremely high in sugar, fat, or both! Your body is a survival mechanism. If it hasn’t had food in a while, it anticipates a food shortage and your metabolism will start to slow down. This means that the next time that you eat your body will use as much of the incoming food as possible to store as body fat (survival energy) in anticipation that it won’t see food again for another long period of time. (Little does your body know you plan on attending another holiday dinner feast the following night too). So do yourself and your body a favor by eating every two to four hours as you normally should to prevent yourself from becoming a ravenous, fat-storing machine this holiday season!
2.) Do NOT Stuff Yourself Into A Food Coma
Eat until the point of satisfaction, not discomfort. Remember this: binge eating is not the habit of lean individuals. It is imperative to understand that that holiday meals are not a ticket to eat as much as you can in as little time as possible. However, listen to your body and make sure to enjoy the foods you are craving in moderation and only eat when you are hungry.
3.) Eat a High-Fiber, Protein-Rich Meal (with Water) An Hour Before a Holiday Event
A meal high in fiber and protein before feasting at the family dinner table will help prevent overeating by making you feel more full, which in turn will mean less empty calories you take in during the ensuing feast. My favorite strategy is to drink a protein shake with an added fiber and healthy fats (e.g. 2-4 Tbsp. flax meal) and 1 liter of water before such a meal. This will do wonders to keep me feeling comfortable (not starving) upon arriving to the party. Think of this as preventing a “midsection disaster”.
4.) Never Eat Junk Food for Breakfast or Before Bed
Eating a highly refined carbohydrate meal first thing in the morning will make your blood sugar levels go crazy for the rest of the day resulting in greater junk food cravings and uncontrollable hunger. On the other hand, eating a big meal before bed will result in a bunch of unused energy that will be stored as body fat and you very well may have trouble sleeping with all of that extra food volume in your stomach! Guess where all those empty calories will be stored? You guessed…you’ll have to loosen the belt a bit if you keep up that nasty habit.
5.) Avoid Eating Meals that are High in Both Fat and Carbohydrates
The absolute worst thing that you can do is to eat a meal that is high in both fat and carbs. The high amount of carbs will lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and thus large increases in the potent fat-storing hormone insulin. The dramatic amount of fat grams will lead to a large increase in free fatty acids in your bloodstream. Since insulin is already present in large amounts (in the average person), in addition to there being a large amount of free fatty acids now available in your blood, the stage is set for all those free fatty acids to be gobbled up and stored by your fat cells. This is the equivalent of becoming the next Goodyear blimp, so it is imperative to use caution at your holiday meals when it comes to combining fat (particularly saturated and trans fats) and carbs (particularly starches and refined sugars). In general, it is best to choose one over the other. But since most people crave carbs during meal like this, it is essential to keep the fat low at this meal. Want pasta? Instead of alfredo sauce, opt for marinara sauce with whole grain pasta. Want pizza? Order thin crust whole grain crust and fat-free cheese. You could even make your own to ensure nutritional value. Want mashed potatoes? Pass on the gravy and go easy on the butter. These small changes can literally save you hundreds, even thousands of calories, and more importantly will prevent your holiday feasts from creating the optimal fat-storing environment that will set you back from achieving your health and fitness goals in the coming year.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Curtis Hoekstra, CFT is the founder of the wildly popular Arizona Fitness Boot Camp. The program provides rapid fat loss and strength gain in less time for a third of the cost of one-on-one personal training. For a NO RISK TRIAL to the Phoenix or Scottsdale boot camp locations, please visit http://www.ArizonaFitnessBootCamp.com