We all know what times like Easter revolve around- FOOD. We also know that unfortunately, these yummies are usually very high in calories. If you have been working hard on achieve your desired body composition or doing great in maintaining it, holidays like this can cause accidental weight gain and undo your hard work before you know it.
If you gain weight over the holiday periods every year, then it’s time to change up a few things, set intentions and act consciously around food so you can consume the food, not the other way around. Over time I have tested and tried some methods around holidays in maintaining my physique and my clients. These methods will ensure you can eat and enjoy the food you desire all while sticking to your health goals. These are easy to implement and greatly effective.
Keep a food journal
If you have worked with me, you will know I am a big fan of journaling. It is amazing how much we reveal about ourselves to ourselves while doing it.
It truly deserves to be on the top of the list.
I encourage you to keep journal. It can be of anything. Emotions, food, exercise, anything else you can think of.
So how is journaling going to help you keep on tract?
Once you write something down, it becomes so much more real it’s scary! If you have ever tried it, you will know this feeling.
Food journal will help you grasp just how much food you are eating, especially when holidays are full of finger foods and chocolates we graze on all day. The visual representation will enable you to control how much you are eating by providing you with a visual reminder and will save you from consuming thousands of extra calories that you could have consumed without realizing.
No I don’t mean all those alcoholic beverages! (Sorry not sorry).
Making sure you are well hydrated will make sure you are not drinking the tempting alcoholic beverages out of thirst.
Water is also a brilliant tool in weight loss and maintenance researches have shown. Water does it by decreasing the rate at which protein is broken down and increasing the metabolism of fat (1).
Hydration is also key to maintaining good energy levels which can really help you enjoy the holidays with friends and family.
Eat a high protein breakfast and never skip it
One of the simplest ways to stick to your weight loss goals on the holidays. Just because its holidays don’t mean you completely let go of all the hard work you have been putting in and lose what you have achieved in just a few days.
Even though breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day by many health gurus, this is simply not true. It’s the content of the breakfast that’s important researches say, just like any other meal of the day. Always remember that weight loss comes from expending more calories than you consume. So if you are eating breakfast, it adds calories. That means it can still make you gain weight. At the end of the day it comes down to calorie intake and expenditure.
Having said that there are researches that actually say that if your breakfast is high in protein, it can help you manage your food intake throughout the day, which may encourage weight loss (2, 3, 4).
High protein meal also have higher satiety effect on us, more so than other macro nutrients carbohydrates and fats.
Eat healthier foods first
So let’s be honest here. Most of the foods during holidays are very high in calories specially from carbs and fats (Easter eggs yum!!!).
In this situation, it is easy to fall into the high calorie trap and ruin your lean physique. This doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the foods, just means that you have to be more strategic.
By applying this method, you first fill up your plate with the beneficial nutrients like protein and fiber. This will not only make sure you are getting enough protein but will also fill you up and decrease your appetite. Then you can go ahead and enjoy the highly desirable but less beneficial foods in moderation.
Don’t stop exercising
While holidays are for time off work and for relaxing, it should not extend to completely avoiding working out. Relaxation is just as important as working out. They really complement each other really well when done in right amounts.
Exercise is important especially around the holidays to make holiday meals less impactful on your body and health. Because exercise burns calorie, it is a great tool to not let the holiday indulgences turn into fats in your body.
Exercising especially resistance training makes your muscles more receptive to carbohydrates consumed, which means the sugar you eat will be put into good use as they get shuttled into the muscles to replenish and building them.
It is all too easy to think that if you have slipped off on your dieting you will just stop exercising because what’s the point right? I will just start later on you say. But there could not be a better time to exercise.
I recommend using high intensity compound movements for burning maximum calories in short period of time.
Even though holidays known to be complete disaster for your health and fitness goals, this doesn’t mean it’s true. What it does to your health and body is entirely up to you and how you choose to celebrate. You don’t have to miss out on the foods you desire to eat and you don’t have to completely ruin your body composition.
1. Keller, U., Szinnai, G., Bilz, S., & Berneis, K. (2003). Effects of changes in hydration on protein, glucose and lipid metabolism in man: impact on health. European journal of clinical nutrition, 57, S69-S74.
2. Blom, W. A., Lluch, A., Stafleu, A., Vinoy, S., Holst, J. J., Schaafsma, G., & Hendriks, H. F. (2006). Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 83(2), 211-220.
3. Leidy, H. J., Lepping, R. J., Savage, C. R., & Harris, C. T. (2011). Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast‐skipping teens: a pilot fMRI study. Obesity, 19(10), 2019-2025.
4. Veldhorst, M., Smeets, A. J. P. G., Soenen, S., Hochstenbach-Waelen, A., Hursel, R., Diepvens, K., … & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein-induced satiety: effects and mechanisms of different proteins. Physiology & behavior, 94(2), 300-307.