Holiday weight gain happens to everyone, right?
Not this year.
Let’s make this year different. Instead of spending the whole month of January trying to lose the weight that you put on between Thanksgiving and New Years, why don’t you spend that time losing the weight that you have been carrying around for the past 5 years. In order to do this you are going to need to put a stop to holiday weight gain.
Research has shown that on average Americans are gaining weight each year – most of this weight gain occurs between October and February. Have you been gaining weight slowly over the past several years? Do you always gain a little weight during the holidays, promise yourself you’ll lose it after the first of the year but never really get around to it??
It’s okay, be honest.
The best plan is a proactive one. Let’s not put the weight on in the first place. Below I have outline 5 extremely simple steps that will help you prevent holiday weight gain.
1) Pre-Eat – The worst thing you can do is go to a holiday party on an empty stomach. This is setting yourself up for complete and utter disaster. Pre-eat before you go with a small amount of food that will increase your feeling of fullness, prevent cravings, and slow the digestion of any foods that you do eat when you go out. My top pre-eating foods are:
- Small Salad – This has been consistently shown in scientific studies to reduce the amount of food you eat in the subsequent meal.
- Small bowl of Vegetable Based Soup – This has also been shown in scientific studies to reduce the amount of food you eat in the subsequent meal (Note: Not cream based soups).
- Apple & String Cheese – This is my personal favorite (probably because I love string cheese). The apple provides fiber and volume while the string cheese provides fat and protein. These components will signal your body that you are full and they will also slow down digestion (making you feel full longer).
2) Skip The Crackers – Most holiday parties are LOADED with breads, fried and breaded ball of cheese, meat, or vegetables, and crackers. Just say no. Loading up on these starching carbohydrates will send your blood sugar levels for a ride. This, along with the lack of fiber in these foods, will make you eat tons of them….honestly when was the last time you ate just one cracker? Exactly. Skip the crackers.
3) Shrimp, Cheese, and Veggies Please – Okay so since you aren’t allowed to eat the crackers what can you eat? Shrimp, cheese, and vegetables (no not the fried ones). Just about all holiday parties have these items. Broccoli, carrots, and whatever other vegetables that are sitting near the ranch dressing are fair game. Don’t stray away from the shrimp or cheese. These foods will provide fat and protein (remember they help with fullness). Once when I was about 10 years old, I went to my mother’s work Christmas party. I promptly sat down next to the shrimp platter and ate just about whole thing. Let’s put it this way…I ate so much shrimp that children were never invited to the Christmas party ever again (but I digress).
4) Watch Where You Stand – Whatever you do don’t be like me when I was 10 and sit next to the food. If there is food in infront of you then you are going to eat it even if you are not hungry. Take a small plate pile on some broccoli, carrots, cheese, and shrimp (notice no scallops wrapped in bacon) and go start a conversation on the other side of the room. This tip can cut down your food consumption by at least 50%.
5) Its NOT All or Nothing – So let’s say you don’t listen to the above four tips. You go to a party on an empty stomach, you eat a whole sleeve of ritz crackers, you sit at the hors d’oeuvres table, and eat more than you know you should. This is not the end of the world. As I mentioned before – I’ve done it. The important thing is what you do the next day. Don’t say “Ugh, I ate so much last night. I’ve ruined my diet. I might as well not worry about my nutrition until after the New Year.”
Don’t do that.
Instead say “Hmmm…so I ate a bunch last night. I should have listened to Mike’s tips. That’s okay. Mistakes happen. I’m going to eat what I planned to eat today and not miss any training sessions for the rest of the year.” That is how you need to talk to yourself. It happened. Vow to do better. Get back on track and move on.
There you go. My 5 simple steps to prevent holiday weight gain. Now go out and put them into action.