The holidays are amongst us, and that usually means lots and lots of good food. This also usually means a lot of guilt for those of us trying to watch what we eat. If you are trying to lose weight, or maintain weight, enjoying a holiday treat doesn’t usually support this. Instead of dealing with guilt, people will usually abandon any efforts to eat healthy, and decide to deal with the damage once the New Year comes. If this is you, I have good news-there is a way to have your cake and eat it too! You don’t have to choose between holiday fun and keeping fat off your middle. With a little planning and self-control, you can enjoy the holidays and still fit in your jeans come January 1st.
Plan It Out
Holiday parties are usually scheduled in advance, so you have an idea of what you have coming up throughout the month. Let’s be real. not all holiday parties are created equal. There will be those that are known to just be obligations (like the dreaded work events), those that are known to be a really good time (usually these are the ones where alcohol is a flowin’), and then there are those that are known to have the best food (you wait all year to stuff your face at these). Instead of going to all of them and winging it, figure out which ones are the ones you want to drink at, and then the ones you want to eat at. Try not to make them be the same party. Alcohol doesn’t allow you to burn anything off until it is burned off in your body, so those holiday cookies are more likely to be stored if eaten with alcohol. So, if you can stick to either drinking or eating, the damage can be minimized. The rest of the parties that are more obligations, plan on skipping the food and drinks and just go there to socialize. You usually don’t stick around too long at these anyway. Skipping the food and drinks at just one or two parties can save you a lot of extra holiday calories.
Eat Right Before
Way too many people think the best strategy is to not eat during the day of a party, “saving” their calories for the party later on. This is not a great idea. Have you ever gone grocery shopping on an empty stomach, and come home with way more food than normal (with some bad items that you wouldn’t normally buy)? The same thing happens when you go into a party hungry. Foods you would have normally passed up, look good to you because you need to eat. This will cause you to overeat on foods that are usually filled with fat and sugar. Also, your blood sugar is more than likely low, so eating a ton of sugary treats will make it spike, then it will crash while you are at the party, making you want to eat more treats around an hour later. The best thing to do is eat multiple meals leading up to the party filled with protein and veggies. I would avoid carbs, just because you will be indulging in them later on. This will allow your blood sugar to be stable, along with your mind, allowing you to make choices based on what you really want to eat, not eating things just because you are starving. You will eat a lot less this way.
Plan Workouts Around The Parties
Workouts can make a huge difference if and how holiday treats are stored. For those parties where you want to eat a lot of goodies, lifting weights is your friend. You want to try and do a lifting workout before the party, as well as the day after. This will cause you to go into the party with depleted muscles (they get depleted when you lift), allowing a certain amount of carbs from the holiday treats to be stored in your muscles instead of risking them being stored as fat. A good workout out the next day will help burn off any excess calories that you ate, minimizing the overall damage of the party. If you are headed to a party where you are going to drink a lot, I would focus more on just moving around at the party. The goal is to burn off the alcohol before the end of the night, because like I mentioned above, your body can’t burn anything else off until that is completely burned off in your system. I would avoid sitting down at the party, and instead walk around, or better yet get your dancing shoes on and dance (you are drunk, so why not?!). Whatever you chose, just try and burn the alcohol off before the next day. Then you can do a good workout the next day to help attack any alcohol you didn’t burn off or any calories you might have ate while at the party. Hopefully you are sticking to non-sugary drink choices (See good alcohol choices HERE), but if you aren’t, I would get a workout in before the party, because the same concept applies from above regarding depleting your muscle’s carb stores. If your muscles are depleted, carbs that you eat/drink from the party go there and not your waistline. I don’t want to call them “free carbs”, but in a way they kind of are.
Supplement Your Body
During the holidays, you usually eat things that you don’t normally eat. If your body isn’t used to digesting certain foods, it can slow everything down, causing you to be bloated and retain a lot of water-not good for those cute holiday dresses. A way you can combat this is to take a digestive enzyme. One of my favorites are BEVERLY INT’L DIGESTIVE ENZYMES, because it has enzymes for all macros (proteins, fats, carbs). I would take 3-5 tablets with any holiday meal. This should help keep your system running efficiently. If you have issues with gluten, there are also gluten specific digestive enzymes that help breakdown gluten that you can take along with other digestive enzymes. I would also make sure you drink a lot of water, especially if drinking alcohol. People tend to be very dehydrated during this time, and you want one less thing for your body to have to stress about (it will have enough with all the travel, present buying, and dealing with relatives!). Lastly, I would recommend a Glucose Disposal Agent (I recommend MD’s Ultimate Glucose Disposal Agent, discount code LIH5OFF). A glucose disposal agent will help drive more carbs into your muscles, instead of being stored as fat. Remember, the more carbs that get stored in your muscles, the less that will end up around your middle. You want to take two capsules with your high carb meals of the day. You can take these outside of the holidays as well.
There you have it, my secrets for surviving the holidays without gaining the extra weight. The holidays are times to have fun with friends and family, and indulge in good foods. If you do it smart, you won’t end up having to make the New Year’s resolution of “losing weight”. An early cheers to a fun, safe and guilt-less holiday season 🙂