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With Easter around the corner, many people tend to regard this time of year as a well-deserved break including a myriad of sweets, carb-heavy comfort foods, alcohol and more than a few excuses for skipping the gym. There are plenty of actions you can take to not only prevent holiday weight gain, but even to lose weight during the holidays if you need to.
5 Top Tips for Preventing Holiday Weight Gain
1. Keep a Food Diary to Plan Meals
Most people who keep a food diary note what is eaten after it is eaten. By that time, any poor decisions would already have been made. Instead, try keeping a proactive food diary. That is, start your day by writing down exactly what you plan to eat, and then stick with it. While it’s ok to allow yourself a treat here and there, make sure it’s one you “planned for” in your diary that won’t throw off your entire day’s meals.
Also useful, while jotting down your daily food, make notes about how good you’ll feel while eating these healthy foods, and how they will help you achieve your ultimate goal of losing weight or not gaining weight, etc. The old adage is that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
2. Eat When You’re Hungry
Have you ever tried to “make up” for what you know will be a gorge-worthy holiday meal by eating nothing leading up to the big event? It is likely that when you arrived at the festive occasion, you were so famished that you devoured everything in sight. This is a big mistake that will only make you eat more in the long run.
A far better bet is to eat reasonable meals beforehand so that you feel satiated and are less likely to overindulge on sweets or stuffing. In fact, eating a bowl of broth-based soup before a meal is likely to result in your consuming 20 percent fewer calories total (including the soup!).
3. Eat Your Fat First
Fat will help you to feel full while also stimulating your metabolism. So “snacking” on your portion of these foods first, before helping yourself to all of the starchy sides and desserts, may help you keep your cravings and total food intake in check. Good examples of fat are olives, olive oil, coconut oil, butter and nuts.
4. Go for a Walk
A brisk walk after your meal has several significant benefits. First, it will get you away from the food, making it less likely that you’ll help yourself to seconds or overindulge in dessert upon your return. Second, while supporting your digestion and metabolism, the physical activity will help to lower your blood sugar levels and insulin (i.e. the fat-storing hormone).
5. Boost Your Digestion
There are many herbal formulas and supplements you can take to help aid digestion and minimize that “sluggish” feeling associated with over-indulging. Iberogast is a great product we stock at the clinic to aid digestion and reduce bloating, heart burn, cramping, nausea and abdominal pain. Talk to your Practitioner about other products which help with fat metabolism and digestive health.
Weight Loss Tips That Work Year-Round
Achieving and maintaining your ideal weight isn’t something to think about only during the holidays; it should be more of a year-round lifestyle. If you have ever struggled with losing weight and keeping it off, you already know what a challenge that can be. Dr. Richard Johnson of the University of Colorado has recently written a book called The Fat Switch, which presents a groundbreaking approach to preventing and reversing obesity. According to Dr. Johnson, based on his decades of research:
“Those of us who are obese eat more because of a faulty ‘switch’ and exercise less because of a low energy state. If you can learn how to control the specific ‘switch’ located in the powerhouse of each of your cells – the mitochondria – you hold the key to fighting obesity.”
There are five basic truths that Dr. Johnson explains in detail in this new book:
- Large portions of food and too little exercise are the result of your fat switch being turned on
- Metabolic Syndrome is the normal condition that animals undertake to store fat
- Uric acid is increased by specific foods and causes obesity and insulin resistance
- Fructose-containing sugars cause obesity not by calories but by turning on the fat switch
- Effective treatment of obesity requires turning off your fat switch and improving the function of your cells’ mitochondria
Of course, exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight. Several studies have confirmed that exercising in high-intensity, short-burst-type exercise shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising continuously for an entire hour. All you need is 20 minutes, so there’s no excuse not to do it, even during the holiday season.
If you feel you need greater direction and assistance in losing weight and keeping it off, we run successful weight management programs tailored specifically to you. You can start by reading this article: Fat Loss – Why It Might Not Be Happening or check out our weight management program here.