Thanksgiving in October – and again in November for all our snow birds – followed by Christmas in December, interrupted briefly in January when the world once again resolves to lose weight and get healthy. Ironically the two largest chocolate/candy days ever, Valentine's Day in February and Easter in April follow directly after to test our resolve. Every year, a massive chunk of our calendar is devoted to one indulgent celebration after the other. And those same dinners, sweet treats, and occasions to indulge that are anticipated and longed for by some, are actually a source of dread and stress for many.
Those already struggling to achieve or maintain weight loss and health goals often see food holidays as a fight they've not been able to win. And without a plan to navigate these many feast-ive occasions, the very meals that should bring joy and happy memories made 'round the table, bring stress instead. Working hard, being 'good' all year only to lose the food fight yet again and have to start all over again in the spring, is unfortunately a reality many deal with each year.
Good news. I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way. With a little planning, a little balancing of food, and these six strategies, you'll be able to keep off those extra pounds, enjoy your holidays meals, and finally win the food fight.
Never arrive hungry. Skipping lunch, or worse, not eating all day in an effort to “save room” is not doing your body any favours. Starving yourself all day causes blood sugar to drop and the body to burn muscle. You'll also be more likely to reach for the chips or the bowl of Lindors, spiking blood sugar, burning muscle and slowing metabolism.
Pair alcohol with food. Having that glass of wine with dinner will go a long way to keeping blood sugar balanced and avoid the fat storage. TIP; alcohol is a carbohydrate so pass on the breads, rice, potato, etc., when adding alcohol. For those gatherings that are not a full-on meal and you still want to have an alcoholic bevvy, look for the snack table and choose a few slices of meat or cheese, or grab a handful of nuts to munch on while sipping. The protein and fat work to balance the carbohydrates in the alcohol, helping to minimize the carnage.
Water is a must. Hydrate well before dinner, throughout the evening and following any alcohol. Water will help flush out bloat from excess salt and sugar in the food, as well as any alcohol in your system.
Be choosy. If you decide to take the off-plan route and indulge in dessert, choose one that really and truly appeals to you. Something you've always wanted to try, or is your favourite. In doing this, studies show that you'll be satisfied with a smaller portion and less likely to have seconds.
PFC your plate. The better we are at keeping our bodies in balance and our blood sugar stable, the more successful we will be at keeping the weight off. For those new to PFC, it stands for Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates. Yes, we do need carbohydrates, the fruit and veggie kind. And yes, fruits and veggies are carbohydrates.
Having Seconds May Actually Help You Lose Weight! And no, this is not a misprint. Unfortunately, many people are still under the impression they need fewer meals in order to lose or maintain their weight when really it's all about the balance. It's far better to have the correct portion PFC meal and then the same meal again three hours later than to have one large meal. Bodies can only metabolize a certain amount at a time and when we give it too much it gets stored as fat.
So, whether you're at a restaurant, staff lunch or family dinner, being mindful to ensure all three PFCs make in onto your plate and replacing the potatoes and rice with extra steamed veg or salad if need be, keeps your metabolism turned on and burning fat. Taking it a step further and eating PFC every three to four hours throughout the day, will keep your body in balance and allow it to burn fat all day long. After all, wouldn't you rather emerge in the spring looking lean and feeling energized, not like you're storing up for hibernation?
If you're ready to start now and not just survive the holidays, but thrive through the holidays and beyond, join our 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook and book in for your complimentary health assessment with Tania today. Why weight?
Kelowna Nutritionist STOP dieting, start living! Lose the Bloat, Melt your Belly, Love Your Life!! Last thing, last time, believe it! Sign up to receive my bi-weekly FIT Nutrition blog, and get started today.