Research shows that most of us will put on between 1-6 lbs over the Christmas & New Years holidays, this is mostly down to overeating and lack of exercise. So basically, we need to move more and eat less.. sounds easy enough in theory but it's a whole different ball game when the egg nog is flowing, it's freezing cold outside and going back for seconds.. thirds is looking pretty fun.
So how exactly do we make eating less and moving more easier to achieve??
Fortunately there are damage control actions we can put in place to help limit or prevent holiday weight gain, here are my top tips:
1. Feast day pretox
For the 3-5 days leading up to Christmas Day eat and drink as clean as possible (80% clean minimum), with your diet consisting mainly of lean protein, starchy and non starchy vegetables, 2 servings of fruit per day and 2-3 litres of water. Avoid or limit simple carbs, man made foods, sugar and alcohol. Create a 20% daily calorie deficit or approximately 500 calories so by the time the feast comes along you will have already created a 1500 - 2500 caloric deficit in the lead up.
You can download my grocery list guide to protein, carbs & fats HERE.
2. Don't go hungry
Unless your familiar and comfortable with the protocol of intermittent fasting, I recommend you still eat breakfast.. and lunch if your feast is in the evening, you don't want to enter the feast famished because you will more than likely end up overeating to compensate for the lack of calories and to satisfy your hunger monster. Just eat smaller, nutrient dense, calorie light meals consisting mainly of protein and non starchy vegetables. For example, scrambled egg whites and spinach or canned tuna and salad.
3. Drinks loads of water
From the very moment you wake up, throughout the day, during the feast, up until bedtime.. keep drinking water, this will help to keep you hydrated and full. Have a 1 - 1.5 litre water bottle with you in sight at all times, every time you look at it take a sip
4. Workout before your feast
Fit in a 20-30 minute HIIT session similar to INSANITY Live or a heavy lifting weight workout at some point before your big meal. The main reason being to deplete your bodies glycogen stores so that when you do eat your feast the majority of those calories will be used to fill up your energy stores rather than stored as fat in the body.
Workout example, perform circuit 2 - 4 times with 30 seconds rest between each move:
Burpees x 1 minute
Tricep Dips x 1 minute
Jump Squats x 1 minute
Push ups x 1 minute
Skaters x 1 minute
Floor sprints x 1 minute
5. Portion control your plate
Start of with your veggies, load half your plate with non starchy vegetables and/or salad (this does not include potatoes.. sorry!!), next add a hand size portion (your hand size) or protein (meats/fish) and then 1 - 2 roast potatoes or equivalent in mash. Add small amounts of any extras you like the look of, Christmas is not a time to be restrictive.. but look at that plate, that is A LOT of food.. enjoy!!
6. Take smaller bites and eat super slow
By the time everyone has wolfed down their first plate and finished their second you will be happily finishing off your first plate and will be feeling as satisfyingly full as it had of been your second. Your body needs approximately 20 minutes to signal the brain that it is full and has had enough to eat, give your body the chance to do it's job before stuffing in more unnecessary calories.
7. One sip of water to every sip of alcohol
It's easy to lose track of how much you drink when it seems Santa has given the gift of a bottomless wine glass. Try playing the 'every second sip' game where after every sip of wine you can't touch that glass again until you've had a sip of water. It makes the standard rule of one glass of water per glass of booze a lot easier to stick to.
8. Go for a wander
It might be freezing cold, raining and/or snowing outside if you're in the UK or US but if you can, going for a walk after a big meal can help massively with easing uncomfortable feelings of fullness and may help you get over the looming food coma.
9. Post feast detox
Similar to the pretox, eat light, eat clean and drink loads of water to give your body a break from the food overload it enjoyed yesterday. You will have plenty of energy from the extra calories you consumed so why not put them to good use by planning a killer sweat sesh.
Most of us will probably be having another big party to celebrate coming into the New Year, you can use these damage control tips before any big party or meal and the even better news.. INSANITY & PiYo Live classes start back on January 9th 2016!!
So I will be on hand and ready to help coach you back on track, you can say goodbye to any of those extra pounds gained over the holidays.. come workout with me, follow my nutrition tips and they will melt away.
Book your 2016 workouts by clicking HERE.
Have a very Merry Christmas and an amazing New Years.. see you in 2016!!