13 Diet Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain!
There are a bunch of handy damage control diet strategies that you should employ to best prevent yourself from overdoing it at the dinner table this holiday season. Use the tips below to allow yourself to stay social and to be able to indulge in moderation without splitting your pants before the New Year:
1.) Perform High-Intensity Activity Before and/or After a Big Meal or Holiday Feast
I know, I know. I promised diet strategies, but I simply cannot go without recommending some activity. Your body is most receptive to higher calorie and/or carbohydrate meals within 30 minutes before and within three hours following high-intensity activity. Ideally you would want to workout out before AND after a big meal, but if you can only do one, that will suffice. It is less important when you do it and more important that you do it. Your best options will be 20 minutes of circuit resistance training or cardio interval training. Even a 20-30 plus minute walk a few hours afterwards can serve as a bit of damage control.
2.) Do NOT Fast in Preparation for a a Big Meal or Holiday Feast
Fasting in preparation for a free meal will not only lead to overeating, but worse: overeating foods that are extremely high in sugar, fat, or both! Your body is a survival mechanism. If it hasn’t had food in a while it anticipates a famine state. This means that the next time that you eat your body will use as much of the incoming food as possible to store as body fat (survival energy) in anticipation that it won’t see food again for another long period of time. Do yourself and your body a favor by eating every two to four hours as you normally should to prevent yourself from becoming a ravenous, fat-storing beast this holiday season!
3.) Do NOT Gorge Yourself
Eat until the point of satisfaction, not discomfort. Remember this: binge eating is not the habit of lean individuals. It is imperative to understand that that holiday meals are not a ticket to eat as much as you can in as little time as possible. However, listen to your body and make sure to enjoy the foods you are craving in moderation and only eat when you are hungry.
4.) Eat a High-Fiber, Protein-Rich Meal An Hour Before a Holiday Event
A meal high in fiber and protein before a big holiday meal will help prevent overeating by making you feel more full which in turn means less calories consumed during the ensuing feast. My favorite strategy is to drink a protein shake with a added fiber and healthy fats (e.g. 2-4 Tbsp. flax meal) and 1 liter of water before such a meal to help keep me nice and full upon arrival. This way you won’t lose any friends by eating their entire dinner platter and you’ll save your midsection from a fluffier existence!
5.) Eat Leans Proteins and Fruits and Vegetables FIRST
Just because it’s a holiday meal doesn’t mean you can’t eat any nutritious food. Make sure to load up on healthier food choices first and try to eat as much lean meat, fish, and fruits and veggies as possible at the start of each holiday event. This will leave less room for the unhealthier, higher calorie treats. At least this way you know your body is getting in some good nutrition and you are not putting yourself at excessive risk for sickness and/or other health concerns.
6.) Drink, Drink, Drink Water!
Water competes for space in your stomach and truly helps decrease appetite. For every plate you eat, try to drink at least 1-2 glasses of water. After that second plate, when you have 1 full liter of water in your stomach, I bet you might just throw in the towel!
7.) Do NOT Eat Again Until Hungry Following a Large Meal
Now I know I already told you to eat every 2-4 hours, but there is one exception to this. If you eat a huge meal, it is important not to eat again until you are hungry and/or no longer full. If your body is not used to eating such a big meal, then it will take a much longer time to digest all that food and the worst thing you can do is put more food into an already full stomach, unless you goal is to do the stop, drop, and roll drill. Only when you are hungry again should you resume your normal eating plan following a big holiday meal.
P.S. Check back later this week for 6 More Weight-Preventing Tips to help with the Holiday season!