The Survival Guide to avoiding the holiday weight gain without the sacrifice
It’s the silly season! And not only are our social calendars filled to the brim until the new year, there’s also a lot of potential anxiety thanks to disrupted plans, Christmas shopping and preparing for family get-togethers.
There’s no need to go into all the details of how chaotic this time of year is, everyone gets it. So we’ll skip the boring explanations and get straight to the point.
All that amazing work you’ve been doing this year with your health and fitness? Don’t lose focus. You can still enjoy all those family luncheons and dinners, but we’re here to provide you with what we like to call a ‘Survival Guide’ to get you through the holiday season without sacrificing your achievements and your goals.
Don’t Show Up Hungry
We’re hearing a lot of gasps on this one but think about it. Yes, you’ve been invited to a gathering where there’s going to be a lot of food – so much of it too, filled with creams, gravies, refined carbohydrates, processed sugars, and unhealthy oils and fats.
Avoid the trap of reaching for all those ‘delicacies’ over and over again by eating your home-prepped lunch or dinner before you leave. Then consider everything at the party a part of your morning, afternoon or evening tea/snack. This will help you portion control and stick to good options on the table, like salads and vegetables.
Remember – a hungry stomach is a dangerous stomach, and you risk over-indulging.
Protein Works A Treat
One of the things we’ve all learned whilst getting good nutrition is that protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients. Thanks to its ability to give you the amino acids you need for building muscle and supporting organs like your brain and nervous system, it’s the energy source you’ll be wanting to look for on the table.
Once all the food is presented and ready to hone into, take a look at where the protein is and fill your plate with that macronutrient first. Look for lean meats, seafood, legumes, beans, seeds and nuts. You can’t go wrong if you satisfy yourself with high protein foods first, and you won’t want to reach for anything else.
Eat Slowly And Steadily
One of the issues we face at the dinner table when surrounded by our favorite people is that we tend to eat mindlessly. Distracted by conversation and laughter, we can easily lose awareness of what or how much food we’re consuming; you could even find yourself still stuffing your mouth despite already having your fill.
Talking to people is unavoidable, so the best advice is to remind yourself every so often to slow down. It takes up to 20 minutes for your digestive system to send a message to your brain that you’re satisfied, so slowing down your eating habits at the table will stop you from overeating.
Drinks Are On
Holiday drinks can be a real hindrance over the festive season with the average alcoholic drink carrying almost twice as many calories as some proteins and carbs – and they’re empty calories too. Not only does alcohol pack a punch with absolutely no nutrition, but it also decreases fat burn in the belly area, and can increase your appetite…you get the picture.
But you want to have a drink! We hear you loud and clear.
Ensure you drink water between alcoholic beverages to keep you hydrated, practice moderation, savor your drinks by sipping slowly, and use low-calorie mixers like no-calorie tonic water or lemon and lime wedges.
Also, don’t forget to keep the focus on your family and friends, because that’s what getting together is all about.
Time Together Is The Best Time
The last few years have been tragically difficult for lots of people across the globe, with countries imposing restrictions and border controls in a bid to keep COVID locked out. Connecting with our beloved family members and closest friends is what makes our hearts full, but so many of us haven’t been able to see our loved ones in person for a long time.
So embrace the people you do surround yourself with this holiday season, and allow yourself to enjoy the time you spend with them. If you do end up over-indulging more than you would have liked, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Acknowledge it’s party time, don’t lose sleep over it, forgive yourself, and get back on track in time for the next meal.
Simply put, your goals are not going to disappear or end the world if you have a second helping of pavlova.
Walk It Off
The benefits of walking after a big meal are plentiful, including the fact that it quickens the digestion process relieving you of gas and bloating. Heading for a light walk will stimulate your metabolism and help in burning off any extra calories.
It’s also a good opportunity to encourage someone at the event to join you, perhaps to continue a deep and meaningful conversation, or to subtly inspire them to get healthier.
In most places we look at this time of year, we’ll be inundated with endless opportunities to over-indulge. It might be a challenge to keep up with your healthy lifestyle, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture when it comes to your goals. Keep succeeding, keep working hard, and keep your eyes on the prize.
To learn more about your body and for personalized macronutrient and supplement recommendations Download the Evolt Active app and search for your nearest Evolt 360 Body Composition Scan location.
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