Eight Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

The holiday season consists of nearly two months of celebrating and that’s a long time for temptation to rear it's ugly head! By Christmas, most of the plans to eat less and exercise more have dwindled, and it’s easy to gain a significant amount of weight. Kick off the holidays this Thanksgiving by making a healthier dinner and by following my  simple tips below to avoid extra weight gain.

Whether you are preparing an entire meal or just sides for the holiday - here are some delicious, low calorie, raw and paleo recipes to add to your dessert or side table. They will be a hit with your waistline and with your guests and family that groan when they hear the words “paleo, gluten-free or healthier.” 

Tips to Avoid Extra Weight Gain During The Holidays

Set Achievable Goals

The idea that you have to stick to a rigid diet to lose weight will only add to your stress during this tempting time of the year. Aim to maintain your weight and be realistic but remind yourself how much you’ve already committed to your health and achieved in your fitness goals. 

Stay Active

You may need to modify your exercise program for the busy holidays but do what you can. Exercise will keep your stress level down, your mood and energy up and help deal with those extra holiday calories. Take a yoga class, head to the gym, gather a few friends for a long walk or run in the park- anything that keeps you moving but make it a priority. 

Don’t Skip Breakfast

A good breakfast can help curb appetite later in the day. People who aren’t too hungry are less likely to overeat at mealtime. This also goes for not showing up starving to a party, plan ahead and prepare yourself a light healthy snack before you go.Many people go wrong by eating a breakfast made up mostly of refined carbohydrates with very little fiber and protein. Rethink the most important meal of the day and nix the wheat, gluten, sugary carbs and cow’s milk and start with a nutritionally-dense meal every morning with these three macronutrients:

  • Protein - Provides sustainable energy!

  • Fats - Stick to good fats like mono- and polyunsaturated fats; shun saturated or, worse, trans fats. Eat fats to lose Fat- eating fat will satisfy you, keeping your appetite in check so you don’t eat too many calories. Eating more fat will likely come at the expense of carbohydrates and when you eat fewer carbohydrates, you store less fat in your body. Finally, eating fat is essential for good health and as the building blocks of hormones that help you control your weight.

  • Complex carbohydrates - Provides glucose, our body’s main source of energy.

People also underestimate the importance of breakfast because they don’t understand how their brain and central nervous system are fueled. Glucose is the fuel you need to think, walk, talk, and do just about anything. Eating a healthy, satisfying breakfast can help aid in weight and blood sugar control, keep you energized all day long and help you to achieve your fitness and healthy lifestyle goals. 

Portion Control

Be wise and choose a small plate this will limit the portion size. Also when choosing appetizers – small portions of some may help you from overeating at dinner. Avoid going back for seconds and choose wisely. You may want to save some room for side dishes and desserts. The last thing you want to do is feel deprived during this time. 

Eat Slowly

What’s the rush? Chew your food thoroughly because healthy digestion starts in your mouth. If you enjoy your food this will help you realize you are full. The simple fact is that slowing down helps you digest better because to digest well, your body needs to be in parasympathetic (also called “rest and digest”) nervous system mode. This means you have to feel rested and calm. Unfortunately, if you rush your body tends to stay in sympathetic (also called “fight or flight”) nervous system mode. This means that your ability to digest shuts down.If you eat on the run or when you are stressed, your body is simply unable to digest. Do this too often and you begin to damage your digestive health and overall well-being.  

Better Food Combining

Follow the principle of food combining. Food combining creates less stress on your digestive tract, giving you more energy for other things. Another benefit of food combining is that it helps your body fully digest and assimilate. Different foods use different enzymes for digestion, so when you combine your foods properly, these enzymes are more effective.For example eat fruit on its own, and avoid protein with starch. Acid present in protein, which is made up of amino acids, blocks the action of an important salivary enzyme necessary for proper starch digestion and can result in gas and bloating. Because vegetables contain water and fiber (important for optimal digestion), combining either animal protein or grains with vegetables is best.  

Limit Alcohol

Calories from alcohol add up quickly. Alcohol also triggers cravings for high-calorie comfort foods. It’s also a good idea to drink some water between alcoholic drinks. 

Rest Up

Sleep is a crucial factor in losing weight. Sleep suppresses your appetite and raises your metabolism, while allowing your body to rest and recover. Getting plenty of rest is another way to help your body and muscles recover. When we exercise we tire the body and actually inflict small injuries to the muscles. To improve performance you have to allow the body to heal. During sleep, your body recuperates the quickest. When you don’t sleep enough, you will stay fatigued and your performance level will drop.Sleep affects the levels of several hormones in your body. Two hormones that play an important role in stimulating and suppressing your appetite are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells and is responsible for suppressing hunger. Ghrelin is released by your stomach, and stimulates your appetite. Lack of sleep lowers the levels of leptin in your blood and heightens the levels of ghrelin, which results in an increase of appetite. A refreshing sleep helps your body heal and energize for the next day’s activities and meals. I hope this tips help you to stay on track during the  busy and tempting holidays! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!