Napa Boot Camp’s 9 Tips to Control Holiday Weight Gain

Through the years I have found out the hard way I need to keep my nutrition in check during the holiday season. There are tons of ways to keep the holiday feasting under control try some of these helpful hints to give yourself the blessing to stay social and to be able to indulge in moderation without with busting the zipper on your little black dress before the New Year:

1.) Hydrate
Not only should you drink lots of water to hydrate your body, flush out toxins and look and feel better but water takes up space in your stomach and really does decrease your appetite. Try to drink at least 1-2 glasses of water before you dig in to those holiday meals. You will have a hard time going for that second plate with a belly full of food and water. (Bonus tip, throughout the day, squeeze some lemon in your water, it helps with water retention and makes water just a bit more interesting.)

2.) Watch Out for Empty Liquid Calories
Let’s do the math, if you consume 500 calories per day from liquid calories such as soda, alcohol or fruit juice for 7 days you have racked up 3,500 extra calories or 1 pound of extra fat just from your drinks! Choose food calories that are nutrient rich over empty liquid calories, the food will fill you up and provide some nutrition where as soft drinks and cocktails will not. High sugar or alcoholic beverages are likely to make you crave more sugary, high carb food in particular. Something you may not know is that you can’t begin to burn fat until the alcohol has processed out of your body and alcohol lowers your Leptin levels which increases hunger and decreases your body’s use of fat for fuel. Not to mention to much alcohol can prevent the fat burning process from resuming until several days later and/or even cause unwanted fat gain and thus set you back as little as a few days to as long as a full week! If you are looking for the best holiday beverage to drink lots of, refer to #1.

3.) Don’t Starve Yourself Before Holiday Meals
You may think that refraining from food before your cheat meal is a good idea but actually it will just lead to overeating foods that are very high in sugar, fat or both. Your body has a primal instinct and if it hasn’t had food in several hours it expects starvation or famine so the next time it gets food it stores it as body fat. It is for survival, it may need the energy later because you have led it to believe it may starve. Don’t trick your body into thinking it is going to starve and to save the fat for later and eat every two to four hours as you normally should to prevent yourself from becoming a ravenous, fat-storing beast this holiday season! (Bonus Tip: before you leave for a holiday party, or family dinner, make a protien shake and drink it before you leave, you will be way less likely to over do it when you get there.)

4.) Try Not to Pig Out
Do you find pleasure in that feeling that your stomach is pushing on your heart because you are so full? Don’t put yourself through that pain. You know how much food is appropriate and how much is too much so eat until you are satisfied and be conscious of that point. Just remember that lean people do not binge on food. You need to understand that the holidays are not a free pass to eat as much as you can before they close the buffet down. Enjoy your favorites in moderation and you will feel better about yourself and your eating habits. The pain of discipline is less than the pain of regret….

5.) Put the Healthy Stuff First
There are always healthy choices at holiday meals; there is a protein like turkey, prime rib or seafood, generally fruit and almost always a vegetable. Do what your mother always said and eat the healthy food first and then you can have the treat. You will actually have 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.) Prepare Wisely for Your Holiday Events
You will decrease your cravings at the snack table if you consume a high protein, high fiber meal about an hour before your holiday event. My favorite strategy is to drink a protein shake with added fiber and healthy fats then I am satisfied before the holiday party.

7.) Get Back to Normal as Soon as You CanI know that the holidays roll around once a year and you are going to want to have a piece of your grandma’s pie and eat a few of your favorite holiday candies and partake in one or two egg nogs. So do it. Then get right back on the wagon. Remember weekly caloric intake is far more important than daily caloric intake. So if you are using a 2,100 calorie diet to maintain your current weight and you over do it today, then average out the rest of the week. The worst thing you can do is to have a ‘forget about it’ attitude; you control what the next step is.

8.) Portion ControlTry to eat only half of all the servings of unhealthy food that you choose. Half of the portions equal half the calories!

9.) Claim Your Vigorous Workout Before/After Your Big Meal
I have to recommend some activity. The best options will be 20 minutes of circuit resistance training or cardio interval training. If nothing else, get out and go for a walk after dinner. Or if you can join us on Thanksgiving morning for our Toys for Tots- Boot Camp Class…. :o)

Be sure to enjoy your holidays but do it without taking 2 steps back, be ahead of the game come New Years Day!

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