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The holidays are here… and so is holiday weight gain
So the holidays are here… and you know what that means. Holiday weight gain from parties, extravagant desserts, travel, and family gatherings full of food and festivities.
You have a couple options.
- Gain weight and fall off the wagon during the holidays
- Diet your ass off and be miserable
- Use moderation and clean eating (80% of the time) and allow yourself to pig out every now and then
I’ll pick option 3 every time. It’s sustainable and attainable, and most of all, it’s pretty reasonable.
No one expects you to be perfect. I sure as heck am NOT. I know I’m going to be indulging (that sweet tooth again), so I am mentally (and physically) preparing for high calorie & sugar temptation. For starters, eating clean and skipping processed sugars and empty carbs during the week and saving your calorie splurges for 1-2 meals a week.
Here are 7 tips to keep you on track to hit your goals. These tricks are used by yours truly and are compiled from years worth of research, consulting with other fitness professionals, and personal experimentation.
1. Aim to “maintain don’t gain”
Be realistic in your expectations. Starting a new meal plan, this or that diet, or a six-pack-in-X-number-of-weeks challenge is NOT realistic when you are traveling, and attending holiday meals and parties. Set your goal to maintain your current weight and physique instead of radical body changes during this busy time of year.
2. Make high sugar and high fat recipes CLEANER
I love using (plant based) sugar substitutes like Stevia in the Raw when baking holiday desserts and using applesauce instead of oil. Small changes like these barely affect the taste but make a big difference in calorie and sugar intake! Check out these quick & clean holiday cookies and my recipe section of this website for some clean eating and healthy (or healthier) recipes.
3. Abide by the 80/20 rule
We don’t have guilt about food here. Everything in moderation, right? So just aim to eat clean 80% of the time and splurge 20%.
4. Find a few minutes to move
Catching up with relatives? Suggest an afternoon walk instead of couch time. While your coffee is brewing try some short 5 minute stretches to get the blood flowing. Check out Joy Scola’s “Yoga for Easy Digestion” to help settle the stomach after a big holiday meal.
5. Drink water first thing in the morning and before holiday parties
Your body doesn’t feel thirst until it’s already dehydrated and cold weather usually means less chugging ice water. Try an ayurvedic remedy and drink warm water with lemon first thing in the morning and flush out those toxins.
6. Fill your plate with greens
Always eat your veggies first. Carbs, bread, chips, dips, and the usual suspects MAY taste delish but will fill you up on empty calories that will leave you hungry. Try to aim for a cup of greens at each meal or at least 3 times a day.
7. Plan ahead
Don’t get stuck at Nana’s in front of a plate of hors d’oeuvres on an empty stomach. Eat every 3-4 hours, snack on healthy stuff (protein, carbs, and fat in every meal), and you won’t binge on crap. Excuse my French.
Holiday weight gain is avoidable. But remember that what’s really important is not how you eat between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. What’s important is how you eat between New Year’s and Thanksgiving.
Did you hear that?
I’ll say it again.
What’s important is NOT how you eat Thanksgiving to New Years, but the rest of the year. Eating a couple high fat and high calorie meals won’t break you. Believe in yourself, stick to your guns, and remember you are f**king beautiful.
Want to learn the basics of healthy cooking? Check out my list of 15 essential spices for healthy cooking here.