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How to stay lean during the holidays
The holidays are already upon us. As we move through December, the (virtual) parties and get-togethers begin to consume each and every week following up to New Years. It’s the most challenging time of the year – specifically regarding sticking to our diet and exercise plan we have been working on since the start of the past New Year!
Top reasons why you gain weight over the holidays:
You skip BREAKFAST! Many people think that skipping a meal will help to save up their calories for the night to come.Why you should not skip breakfast – studies have shown that our metabolism are fired up from the time we wake up until around 2pm then slows down. Therefore if you consume the majority of your calories in the evening they will most likely be stored as fat – especially if you have not exercised that day!
You show up to and event or dinner STARVING! Why you should not be extremely hungry before a party – you are very likely to overeat and consume more calorie and energy than your body needs at that time. The extra energy will be stored as fuel for later (fat stores)
You continue to eat even when you are no longer HUNGRY! This is really tricky when many of our favourite foods are in front of us, buffet style, for a long period of time. Why you should not continue to eat when you are hungry – this is a no brainer as when you continue to eat more than your body needs the extra calories are generally stored as fat, again especially if there was little to no exercise during that day.
At the end of the day in order to stay lean you must be considerate of the amount of energy you are in-taking vs putting out. While nutrition is extremely important you must think about your exercise routine or activity level and how to keep it up on a daily basis to leave room for a few extra calories during the next few weeks.
Top Tips to control your Calorie intake this Holiday Season
Have breakfast to start your day and do not ever show up hungry to an event. This will help to fire up your metabolism and control your hunger/cravings preventing the chance of overeating and saving on potentially hundreds of calories.
Focus on nutrient dense first, not calorie dense. When you can, bring your own healthy dish! If you are hosting a party make sure that there are enough dishes that resemble natural foods such as a vegetable dish, whole grains, lean protein or bean salad. When you can focus on your proteins, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds and beans first the processed, high fat, high sugar, high calorie foods will be consumed in lesser amounts.
Careful with the sauces! When you can take control of what goes on your plate. Gravy’s and sauces are a fantastic way to ramp up your calorie intake quickly. A great way to make the turkey, roast beef and mashed potatoes healthier is to forego the sauces or just spoon a little on for flavour.
Be aware of the calories that you drink! This is where a night can get out of hand. Did you know that a bottle of red wine can contain between 600 and 800 calories? Or that 1 shot of vodka is roughly 100 calories? Start the night off with a soda water + lime, making it look like a mix drink. Sip on it for the first hour and then have what you will. This simple act could save you hundreds of calories and you still get to enjoy your glass of wine! Also, it is a good idea in between each alcoholic drink to have a glass of water to rehydrate.
Consume only the most special desserts. A chocolate chip cookie can come and go but your grandmas famous Yule Log cake only comes once a year. It is important to enjoy the sweeter/salty things in life but make well informed choices. If you continuously fuel yourself with “junk” food your body will respond accordingly. Homemade desserts are a healthier choice than anything store bought so stick to what you grew up loving and skip the cheap chocolate reindeer.
Do not welcome an extended stay! It is nice to have a night of indulgence but keep it to one night. One of the biggest mistakes we can create is making a 4 day eating frenzy out of a 1 day holiday. During a long weekend is where this can get dangerous. If you keep the mindset on the one day of celebration and keep a lot of healthy foods in your home for the day after, you can get right back on track to your natural routine. Remember – your weekends are going to start piling up with parties and outings. Stop the weekends from turning into weeks or a month long holiday binge.