The holidays are around the corner, and for many of us, this is a sacred moment between friends and family to enjoy yet another year together bounded by the love for Christmas and New years. However, for those of us who have made a promise to ourselves to eat and train well for 2017, the holidays seem to provoke more horror than jolly. Why is that? Because the holidays are a time where your mom's favourite turkey dish, your grandma's famous fruit cake and your sister's to-die-for fettuccine Alfredo all seem to make guest appearances on the most holy of nights. For this reason, I'll give you guys my top 5 strategies to not overindulge and keep weight from snow balling during the holidays.
1) Eat Breakfast
Right now in the fitness industry, there is this craze called "intermediate fasting". In short, the goal here is not to eat for long periods of time, so that when you do, you have a better chance of not surpassing the needed calories for an effective weight loss. While it seems to work in everyday life, the fact of the matter is that your natural hunger instinct will kick in and will give you reason to overeat when it comes time for Christmas dinner. Eating breakfast will help you break that fast while satisfying your hunger, so when dinner comes around you won't want to eat 5 slices of your granny's favourite chocolate cake.
*Tip: Try to eat a healthy breakfast that contains protein and fibre such as healthy omelette or overnight oats with some greek yogurt. The fibre will slow down digestion while the protein will keep you feeling fuller, longer.
2)Try to eat a salad before your main dish
Salad is an excellent tool to prevent overeating. Why? Because it contains almost no calories, so eating a lot will not effect your weight loss goals. Plus, it contains important nutrients such as fibre which will slow down digestion while important minerals and vitamins are essential to your health, and also, it vegetables are made from mostly water, which helps your brain differentiate thirst from actual hunger.
Tip*: Watch out for high-calories, creamy dressings such as Cesar, Italian or Cucumber. These induced sauces contain a lot of calories, fats and can make a healthy option turn really bad.
3) Slow down
Let's face it, we all love food, and when we're excited about our favourite dish, we tend to jump on it like a lion on an injured zebra. This excitement makes us eat the food we love in a heartbeat without really enjoying and appreciating what we have in our mouths. For this reason, it is important to take our time and enjoy our food, so we can listen to our brain signals telling us that we're satisfied.
Tip*: Try to spend 10 seconds, chewing every bite
4) Eat your protein
Protein is very important and is considered the building block of muscles. But did you know that increasing your protein intake boosts your metabolic rate by 10-15 % in the day? The reason for this is because your body needs to break down the protein to absorb the macronutrient. This "breaking down" process sparks your metabolism and increases energy expenditure by 10-15 %. Not only that, eating more protein keeps you fuller, longer and because of this same process it will help you with your cravings and overindulging.
Tip*: Try to have a quarter of your plate filled up with protein so you can make sure you're having enough.
5) Portion eating
Portion eating is one of the most effective strategies one can use so he or she does not overeat during the holidays. You can have whatever dish you like, as long as you make it into a small portion. Eating your favourite foods in small quantities will alleviate the pressure of dieting while making sure that you do not overeat.
Tip*: Try not to eat more than one palm size worth of your favourite dish.
ENJOY your holidays. Life is too short, and eating bad one or two nights out of the year will not push back your weight loss goals as long as it's not exaggerated. Holidays are about LOVE, and spending precious time with family and friends is what's most important. SO enjoy yourselves, eat well and please don't drink and drive.
On this, have yourselves a merry Christmas filled with gains and chizzled abs. Until next year!
"oh, oh, ohhhh"