The holidays are closely upon us. The time of the year we spend with our loved ones, be merry and, or course, engage in holiday festivities that will involve an increase in calories coming from simple carbohydrates, saturated fats, and lots and LOTS of alcohol. The hardest part is this: we as a society have accepted that we'll be "letting it go" the last quarter of the year because of these activities, which will hurt you in more ways than one in the long haul. I like to call this time of the year "The Complete Let Go".
Here are several ways to not lose all of that hard work you've done all year, and not end up back at square one:
1. Start each day with a hearty breakfast
I've always preached about having a complete breakfast each day to start your day right. During this time of the year should be NO EXCEPTION. Starting the day "strong" will ensure your body is receiving the proper macro-nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) from the get go. Well Balanced meals such as: egg whites and oatmeal, an all bran cereal, wheat or multi-grain pancakes, breakfast shake or sandwich are ideal food items to jump start your day.
2. Be conscious of additional sugars you're intaking
The "complete let go" is mainly contributed by an excessive consumption of high sugared foods (cookies, candy, pies, sweet teas, etc). The best approach is to eat clean in the hours before or after the period of in-taking these calories. An example would be eating a proper breakfast and lunch before heading to the Christmas party later that evening. DO NOT have "cheat days"! An excessive amount of calorie consumption throughout the day will contribute to an excessive amount of weight gain. You might as well kiss all of your hard work the last few months goodbye.
3. STAY ACTIVE the majority of the season
Like countless others who embrace the feel of the holidays, working out is the LAST thing on their minds. With all the studies pointing out to a higher chance of diabetes, high blood pressure and other illness associated with diet, it's important to be aware. Maintaining a consistent exercise regimen throughout the holiday season is highly recommended so one doesn't come across this setback and lowers the chance of gaining the unwanted weight.
4. Don't go to festivities hungry or thirsty
The likelihood to "overdo it" is likely when you show up to the Christmas gathering starving or thirsty. As stated previously, make sure you're eating earlier on into the day to prevent complete starvation heading into the evening. A suggestion would be to snack on some almonds, piece of fruit, or a protein shake a few hours prior to an event.
5. Enjoy it!
The purpose of this is piece is to not necessarily keep it "strict". My aim is to educate you on keeping your nutrition balanced throughout the holidays. I've had clients gain in access of 20 lbs in a holiday season! This was due to several factors: refraining from exercising COMPLETELY, refraining from eating nutrient-dense meals as a result from eating higher amounts of simple carbohydrates and fats, and of course the dreaded "holiday stress". All of these factors are a recipe for high weight gain, elevated blood pressure, and additional problems that come with an increase in calories. As long as your mindful you can have a great time and stay healthy!
Don't be the person back at "square one" when you return to your normal routine come January (LOL).