It has arrived. The time of year that I like to refer to as the “Danger Zone“. Sure, we’ve attended a handful of pre-holiday parties and most of us have done a great job in pacing ourselves when it comes to our food and cocktail intake. Until now. The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years is when most people are likely to succumb to their weaknesses and over indulge. And how can we not…? If you’re lucky, during the holidays you are spending more time at home if you have taken a few days off, however that can mean unlimited access to the kitchen. Family and friends you go all year without seeing, invite you over and how could this not be a cause for celebration, right? Pair that with the temperature dropping far below zero, hectic holiday schedules, cocktail parties, dinner parties and missed workouts – it’s virtually impossible to escape the dreaded Festive 15. Ok, so calling it the “Festive 15” may be slightly dramatic because who really gains 15 lbs in the span of two weeks BUT by the time the New Year rolls around, it can sure feel like you have.
After feeling like complete and utter crap come January 2nd due to self induced food comas, a couple years ago I vowed to never start off the New Year feeling like I have to put in work to get back to my pre holiday weight. So, consider this my prezzie to you all, here’s 7 full proof ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays:
START YOUR DAY WITH PROTEIN
The way you start your day, is the way you live your life. Eating a protein-rich brekkie combined with some complex carbs, is like a match made in heaven. Not like you need another reason to devour some Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs, otherwise known as the most popular meal posted on Instagram! This approach will help you feel full longer, prevent you from unhealthy snacking and give you the energy to tackle the day. You’ll also have enough energy to exercise and have the confidence to say “No” to unnecessary sweets.
A SHORT WORKOUT IS BETTER THAN NO WORKOUT!
Let’s not fool ourselves, most find fitting in daily workouts a challenge, so when the holiday season rolls around it seems virtually impossible to get to the gym. The only way to avoid skipping workouts when your schedule is tight is to make them both convenient and accessible. For those days you can’t make it to the gym or your favourite class, make sure to have a backup plan to workout at home using your own body weight and minimal equipment. Exercise videos and apps, like my faves on AppleTV, are amazing options too. Invest in a medicine ball, resistance bands, skipping rope and/or a kettle bell that can you give you an effective total body workout right in the comfort of your living room.
AVOID BANKING CALORIES
I remember my younger days when I somehow convinced myself that if I cut back on my calories throughout the day, I could indulge at an event later that night. DUMBEST IDEA EVER! This theory, fuelled only by ignorance, just leads to pigging out. Why? You’re effing starving! It’s easy to get out of control when you’re faced with so many delicious options at a party. Always, and I mean always, eat a little something prior to leaving the house. First and foremost, if you’re a picky eater or have food restrictions, you won’t die of starvation for example if the hostess forgets that you’re a vegan or gluten intolerant. More importantly, it will take some of the hunger edge off but still leave you with some room to eat only what you need and nothing more once you arrive.
A mini plate of protein and veggies are my go-to; a salad with chicken or a piece of salmon with veggies. In my personal opinion, this is single-handedly the most underrated tip to avoid a weight gain, bloating, indigestion and binge eating during the holiday season.
CUT BACK ON BUBBLY BEVERAGES – OF ALL KINDS
Yep, I bet you never believed me – the lover of all champagnes and Prosecco, would be saying this however sadly it’s true. Bubbles are not our friends and is the biggest culprit of belly bloat. Even soda and sparkling mineral water like my current obsession Bottle Green, can be an issue. The carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles of fizzy drinks causes a build up of air, which can often lead to gas.
AVOID MORNING-AFTER FOOD
Are you hosting family and friends at your place this year? Allow yourself to enjoy the meal you prepared or the items your visitors brings as part of a potluck but be sure to send your guests home with food filled tupperware. You may feel as though the tasty leftovers should be your compensation for being such a gracious host, but believe me, it’s the leftovers that will do you in!
BREW SOME HERBAL TEAS
Photo by Jess Baumung
This one should come as absolutely no surprise but research shows that herbal teas like peppermint and ginger, in addition to chamomile, can help calm stomach muscles and reduce gas. No teabags in sight in your pantry? Boiling a knob of raw ginger in a pot of water or a cup of hot water with lemon can also do the trick.
DON’T SWEAR OFF DESSERTS
Remember that time when Mariah Carey was doing the “morsel diet” a decade ago where she would literally eat only three bites of any food she wanted, before discarding it to limit her intake of calories? Definitely not a healthy or recommended approach for weight management, but this method is quite effective and the perfect plan of attack for the dessert table during the holidays for people like me, who have a wicked sweet tooth. You’ll get that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle one and then the lingering third bite – that should have you satisfied.