4 Tricks to Maintaining Your Weight During the Holidays

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:48:06 AM America/Los_Angeles

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Posted By Tammy LeBoss

Are you ready for the holiday season? Are you prepared for the healthy eating challenges it brings with it? While some of us may seek out the fun and festivities, others will likely be attending parties, over-eating and consequently, dealing with the dreaded holiday weight gain. Studies show that on average, most people will gain 5-10 unwanted pounds during this time of year. And of those who are dieting, 95 percent of these individuals will gain their weight back. Why is weight gain so prevalent this time of year, and how can we stay on our healthy course when so many unhealthy variables entice us, and the pressure to overeat threatens to throw us off our healthy course? Whether you’re on a fit body plan of maintenance or about to embark on a new plan for a new body, here are 4 effective tricks that will prevent you from gaining weight, while also allowing you to enjoy the foods you love:

1. Ditch deprivation

One of the most common mistakes people make during the holidays is that they deprive themselves. They will starve themselves and skip meals so they may eat a big holiday feast later. This is the typical unhealthy dieter’s mindset that will cause anyone to fail, and moreover missing out on eating delicious food. Many people will skip breakfast or not eat all day in an attempt to save their caloric points for later. This logic is backwards. The all or nothing mindset will backfire for two main reasons: It promotes undesirable unstable blood sugars, and it encourages a slowed metabolism due to under-eating. Our advice is: Do not deprive yourself during the holidays; psychologically, we all need to treat or reward ourselves on occasion, to encourage the willpower to stay on a healthy course.

2. Add variety

Most people don’t realize that they can enjoy most of the foods they love if they didn’t limit themselves to certain finicky food preferences. Did you know that eating the same types of foods continuously could actually in a sense, cause a bored metabolism? Adding variety allows us to break free from the prison of a slowed metabolism; and variety also increases optimization of our nutrient uptake, which fuels our body with energy. Furthermore, guess what happens when the body is getting all the nutrients it needs? It’s less likely to undergo cravings. Regardless of what your fitness goals are or what your body type is, you’d be wise to expand your food preferences. The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to try new foods, perhaps food that you didn’t think you’d like before. Tip: Try a new veggie dish or protein source or offer to bring a colorful, festive organic salad or a healthy gluten-free berry dessert. On your plate, create for yourself a ‘sampler platter’ consisting of a variety of real food options. Limit the processed stuff as much as you’re able. Remember this: The psychology of deprivation will only lead to binging and cravings later. You can avoid this pitfall by simply allowing yourself occasional treats—whether this is in the form of a cheat meal, a holiday feast or a type of reward for your hard work in the gym.

3. Meal frequency is a must

One major key strategy in keeping weight off is applying meal frequency. The key to staying on a successful course is to keep meal intervals consistent. Maintaining a meal consistency rate of eating every 3-4 hours will not only help to keep the metabolic engine burning at a healthy rate; it also promotes a better mood, more stable insulin levels, and a reduced likelihood of body fat storage. Skipping meals will not only bring blood sugar levels down to a dangerous levels; it can actually slow down the metabolism. This will be especially true for the mesomorph body type. This is the body type that has the slowest metabolism, in comparison to its ectomorph and endomorph counterparts. So for this body type, maintaining meal frequency is especially important! The take away is: Avoid eating so much in one meal that you cannot eat again in another 3 hours. Eating smaller meals has been proven to help increase the metabolic rate, while also encouraging stable blood sugars. In fact, if you take a sedentary person who is overweight, who typically eats 2 meals a day or less, and you add this one change to their routine, it may help them to lose weight. This will depend on the rate of their current metabolism. Add exercise to this programming and you can ignite their metabolic fire, increasing their chances of losing body fat.

4. Portion Control

When it comes to eating ‘off plan’ during the holidays, use portion control to enjoy guilt-free eating. When it comes to desserts, are you the type of person who is satisfied with a small pie, a scoop of ice cream or a few pieces of chocolates? Or, are you like the majority who prefers to enjoy in an all-out celebratory effort, and make the experience last? If you want to enjoy the main course, a salad and a couple of small desserts, we say, go for it! The only caveat is: If you want to keep weight off, you must implement portion control. It’s proven science; physiologically, the body is only capable of absorbing so much food in one sitting. Simply put, what the body is unable to metabolize and use for energy will either get stored as body fat, or is excreted as waste. Tip: Put all the food that you want to eat on a single plate. You may even include a couple of small desserts you enjoy. But hold on, there’s one other condition: No sneaky stacking is allowed!

What about emotional eating?

Emotional eating is a learned habit that is so prevalent in today’s high stress, fast-paced world. Many of us, whether we are willing to admit it or not, experience this to varying degrees. Food should be comforting, soothing and healing; it should fuel and nourish our bodies. When we embrace the dieter’s mindset, we make food the enemy, and we make ourselves prisoners of food. It’s acceptable to feel when we eat! For example, the mere thought or suggestion of delicious foods can produce saliva in our mouths tricking the body to feel hunger. Rather than reach for the easiest processed carbohydrate-rich fake food, consider a protein shake or bar. This is much better than skipping a meal.

A slave to the crave

Do you ever wonder why we experience cravings? Do you feel a slave to your craves? Don’t fret. You’re not alone. Nutrition experts such as Vince Andrich and Dr. Bach McCloud will agree that cravings are not only common, but they are also there for a reason. Usually, cravings are there to tell us that physiologically, something is out of balance. So what should we do when we get these signals? Of course, we need to pay attention. If you’re in a time crunch, reach for the power of protein. Be sure to take the time to watch for patterns of thought, feelings and sensations that might arise from eating certain types of foods such as sugary or fatty food choices. If it’s something you must have or cannot live without, then that is probably not a good food item to keep in your house. Pay attention to cravings as they suggest a possible hormonal imbalance. Also beware: Cravings are oftentimes an indication that a physiological or emotional void needs to be satisfied. How can we satisfy these urges? Tip: Always have ready protein powder such as Supplement RX Building Blocks or Raw SuperFoods Mix as healthy, great-tasting examples. Pack Perfect Food bars, Kind, Lara and/or Think bars as gluten-free options.

Practice mindful eating

In closing, how can we practice mindful eating habits? Did you know that anything we do with focused awareness and attention, combined with breathing is a form of meditation? Here are a few more tips for the season to help you eat more consciously. Apply these easily accessible tips and reduce the likelihood of digestive issues and body fat storage:

  • Chew slowly. Remember digestion starts in the mouth.
  • Place your fork down in between bites. You’re less likely to eat too fast.
  • Notice the texture of the food in your mouth.
  • Notice the consistency and the temperature of the food. Savor the variety of flavors.
  • Observe the motion in your jaw muscles. Are they tight or relaxed?
  • As you swallow, notice how the food makes you feel.

Free yourself! As you savor each bite, take in these smart eating strategies. As you practice chewing mindfully, breathe in healthy change. As you become increasingly aware in how you eat, look for patterns. Open your eyes as well as your taste buds and continue living your life with curiosity and renewed interest. Focus on being the best YOU, rather than an unrealistic you. Free yourself and drop your focus from weight and you’ll gain a healthier focus of YOU!

Post republished with permission from Sports Nutrition Supplement Guide