The holiday diet tips that work best are the ones that work for YOU.
That’s really not a different philosophy from choosing the best diet plans for weight loss for our bodies.
I’ve worked really hard here in the Weight Loss Laboratory to compile a complete and thorough list of holiday diet tips you can use to keep holiday weight gain to a minimum during any holiday season.
I’ve researched and tested them all out myself so I know that they are safe and effective tools for losing weight or maintaining your weight during the holiday season.
Holiday Diet Tips…
The following holiday diet hacks are listed in no particular order, but I saved my personal favorite (and the one I use and enjoy the most) for last.
1. Clean house
While you are cleaning the house for the holidays be sure to vacuum under your couch AND clean out your pantry at the same time. If you remove all temptations from the place you spend most of your time you will less likely fall prey to the lure of whatever treat is laying around.
Using this holiday diet tip, if you were to actually get your hands on something naughty you would have to make a pretty significant effort to get it.
Keep it out of the house and enjoy it more at parties and on the actual holiday guilt free.
2. Weight yourself every day
Everyone has their own thoughts on wether you should do this on a regular basis or not. And if you happen to be one of those people who don’t weight yourself everyday during most of the year you might consider changing your ways for the holidays.
Knowing that you will see the effects of your actions every morning first thing may be enough to keep your eating reeled in on most days. Our holiday weight creeps up on us very quickly and we don’t seem to really wrap our heads around it until our pants are too tight.
By keeping a closer watch on the scale you may just keep your pants feeling comfortable this holiday season.
3. If you know you have a holiday party or event to attend that day, eat only protein and vegetables the rest of the day
If you have an evening holiday party then have 1-2 small meals that consists of protein and vegetables. This will keep you satiated, keep your blood glucose levels balanced (so you aren’t having cravings walking into the party), and you will not have done too much damage prior.
You are essentially preparing and setting the stage to splurge a little at your party and still having it be ok.
4. If you do go overboard and eat everything but the kitchen sink, stop – wipe the slate clean, and start over in that very moment
Do NOT throw your hands up and say, “well, the damage is done so I am just going to keep eating and start again fresh in the morning”.
The awesome thing about a clean slate is that you can initiate one at any time you want to, even in that moment. You do not need to wait until the morning to reel yourself back. There is a whole lot of diet damage that can be done between those times.
5. No snacking- allow 5-6 hours between meals
Now I am not suggesting you be hungry, so if you think you are really starving at any point in those 5-6 hours then by all means – I wouldn’t want you to whither away or anything.
But the chances of you actually experiencing true hunger in that time is so slim. And you shouldn’t be worrying about being lightheaded or having low blood sugar either.
The truth is, you need to keep your insulin and leptin levels in check and within an appropriate zone for optimal fat burning – not just during the holidays but all year round.
Insulin and leptin are two extremely important hormones our bodies use to regulate energy expenditure. In other words, they directly control if we burn or store food as fat.
The more sugar or carby foods you eat and/or the higher the volume of total food you consume the more you raise this levels of these hormones.
It takes about 3 hours for your body to digest a meal. During this time your insulin levels will raise with your food intake and fall as the food is digested and put it in its place.
During this time, YOU CANNOT BURN FAT. When there is any significant amount of insulin in your bloodstream you simply can’t mobilize and burn fat.
But once inslin has done its job and is back to fasting levels, then the fat burning can begin!
If you eat every 3 hours, either in full meals or by snacking, you really never allow your body to get into the fat burning zone.
Therefore, if you give your body a few hours to burn fat each day that will go a long way in keeping off the holiday pounds.
6. Workout every day
I don’t mean run a marathon everyday. I just mean do something, anything that has you up and moving around.
At least 3 days each week you should be doing some sort of significant workout routine. But the other days you still need to find a way to get some walking in, or some other activity that you enjoy.
7. Only eat carbohydrates AFTER an appropriate workout routine
So you know that when you eat food, it is broken down into glucose molecules to be used as energy for your body or is stored as fat.
One of the best places for this glucose to go is to the muscle. And the best way to get glucose in the muscle is to exercise.
First, to do the activity your muscles will need energy and use all the glucose (stored as glycogen) that it already has stored within it. Once that is gone and your activity is over you will need to replace that energy store.
To do this your muscle cells will send glucose transporters to shuttle in the glucose from the bloodstream. If it has someplace to go it won’t be stored as fat.
This is one of the biggest reasons why exercise is great for controlling weight.
8. Don’t eat the wrong foods together
Going back to your insulin lesson in holiday diet tip #5, the foods that cause the biggest spike in blood glucose, and therefore insulin, is carbohydrates (mostly the simple form such as sugar and grains).
So if you were to have some bread and eat it as a major part of your meal (as in pizza) there is an excellent chance that you will be sending your insulin levels through the roof.
You can bet no fat burning will be going on then!
Add to your pizza crust cheese and sausage and pepperoni (fat, fat, and more fat).
Now because your insulin levels are so high because of the crust your body is in prime fat storing mode. Therefore, you can bet that any fat you consume at the same meal will go straight to your ass.
That cheese, pepperoni, and sausage would do a hell of a lot less damage to your waistline if you skipped the carbohydrate crust.
Bottom line: if you are going to eat fat, skip the simple carbs.
9. Go easy on the nog (and other alcoholic beverages)
This is a no-brainer. These fun holiday drinks are full of extra calories and sugar, both of which will expand your waistline in no time.
10. Be a food snob
You have to be selective about what you eat during the holidays. You can’t just eat everything and anything all willy nilly!
But if you make food choices based on quality of food you will be doing yourself a huge favor.
For example, if you go to a party and have the choice between a spinach artichoke dip from a jar and another appetizer someone made from scratch you should definitely choose that latter.
Same goes with desserts. If you have the choice between slice and baked cookies and your Aunt Tessy’s famous homemade cookies you should skip the slice and bake crap and savor the good stuff – the food made from love.
11. Cheat on your diet
might just be is one of the most important holiday diet tips on this list.*
It’s the holidays and it has to be done. I would never tell you to not eat any of the numerous treats available to us during this time.
But the fact is, if you plan your meals the right way you can have your cake and eat it too – literally, without gaining weight in the process.
Imagine: eating all the holiday treats you desire and maybe even making a pig out of yourself in the process.
But still waking up the next morning unaffected by it. Your pants still fit!
This can actually happen and it is a technique that I have been using for a few years now to maintain my current weight, especially during the holidays.
You can literally cheat your way thin – and this is done by manipulating one of the most important hormones in our body called leptin.
Have enough of it and you will burn fat all day long.
But let your leptin levels fall too low and your body will fight you tooth and nail to hold on to your fat stores.
So how do we increase leptin levels? We eat the right foods (i.e. ice cream, cookies, pizza) at the right time.
I’ve talked about controlling leptin by cheating on your diet in a previous post.
Use at least a few of these holiday diet tips (especially #11) this holiday season and I promise you will maintain (or even lose) your weight.
Your Weight Loss Coach,
Susan Campbell, MS