Prevent Holiday Weight Gain This Season
And just like that, we’re full gear into the holiday season! A time where friends and family gather to enjoy each other’s presence over a wealth of food and drinks. Unfortunately, it often becomes difficult to control yourself from overindulging and adding on some holiday weight.
We want to provide today’s man with a quick guide to help you stay on track this holiday season and limit the dreaded “holiday weight”. Look, we’re not saying you should turn down some home cooked meals since, “you’re watching your macros.” But it’s a matter of balance, and making sure you’re able to enjoy the moment, while not regretting it all the next day. Check out some of our top tips below!
One of the easiest (and not to mention completely controllable) ways to limit overindulgence is through “preventative care”. What this means is, plan around your holiday festivities (i.e., dinners, parties, etc.) ahead of time. If you know there’s going to be a few events coming up, stick to a stricter diet and workout regime leading up to the event(s). This way there’s less guilt and restriction heading in. If you’ve been relatively good and adhering to your plan, enjoying yourself for one night won’t derail you from your goals.
Holidays are about spending time with loved ones, which can often take a number of twists and turns. One minute you’re helping with Thanksgiving dinner and the next, you’re scrambling to the market for some last minute ingredients. Or maybe a friend or family member suggests an activity that’s physical. The point is, things are unpredictable, so come prepared. Keep a workout outfit with you so you’re ready for any situation. You may even find yourself with a moment of downtime before the festivities begin, where you’re able to sneak in a quick jog, gym, or yoga session. Seize these opportunities and burn off some extra calories before you indulge! Starting in the hole will help prevent excess calories stored as fat, leading to holiday weight.
Remember Your Guidelines
It’s easy to lose track of what you’re eating, especially when the hours of “dinner” can range from a few hours to an all day marathon. Try to stick to your “general” macro guidelines, even if you have to broaden them for the night. Hey, having loose guidelines is better than no guidelines. If you haven’t figured out your macro guidelines by now, check out our beginner’s guide to macros (click here). I recommend starting with a 40/40/20 macro diet to start and adjust as needed. This means, stack your plate with 40% protein, 40% carbs (which includes vegetables), and 20% fat. Keep in mind, a portion of your fat allocation may already be found in your protein (higher fat content found in red meat as opposed to chicken or fish) Strive for a similar plate structure when going back for seconds (or thirds, fourths, and fifths, we’re kidding here).
Don’t be that guy who’s too busy stuffing his face to carry a decent conversation. Take advantage of the fact your loved ones were able to congregate under the same roof, and conversate. Share your stories, experiences, and what you’ve been up to during this time, including all the positive change in your life in hopes some of it will diffuse over to theirs! Don’t be afraid to open up, even if you haven’t seen them in years! You’ll be surprised how intrigued they may be. Engaging in active conversation allows you to foster relationships AND places you in a position to slow your eating pace and eat less (two birds with one stone!). Pro tip: Limit cell phone use during this time, by placing it in silent and tucked away in a drawer or corner, in order to be fully present in the moment with people you cherish but may not see often!
Consider the Repercussions
A possible theory why we overindulge and gain “holiday weight” is our desire to prolong the feeling of joy for as long as possible. We know certain types of food, such as sugar and carbs, can cause significant spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to an increase in endorphins and temporarily boosting moods. But as we know, too much sugar can result in a stomach ache and irritable crash. Consider the repercussions with overindulging before you get to a point of no return! In case you forgot, here are some of the other things that can happen to your body when you overeat:
- Swelling of the stomach, which causes outward pressure against your other organs
- Potential heartburn due to the stomach producing more hydrochloric acid in order to break down the additional food
- Feeling of nausea or tiredness caused by additional hormones released by the body
- Release of gas by the body in order to make room in the stomach
- Extra calories stored, which will result in more fat!
Bring a Dish
It’s easy to point fingers and put the blame on someone or something else once you’ve overindulged. “None of the dishes fit my macros”. “Nothing was healthy”. Take this uncertainty (and your excuses) out of the equation by bringing your own “macro-friendly” dish to the party! This also helps alleviate strain from the host.
Running it Back
With the event now over, it’s important to hop back on your existing nutrition and workout program the next day, or as soon as possible! One of the biggest culprits for holiday weight gain is staying in this “holiday” mentality by continuing to eat leftovers and not bouncing back to your regular fitness program.
This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive by any means, but we hope it takes you closer to your goals without having to sacrifice what makes the holidays special.