By: Amber Tebeau NASM CPT, Manager and Trainer CoachMeFit West Bloomfield
During the holiday season, CoachMeFit in West Bloomfield likes to have a weightloss contest. The goal of the contest is for our clients to maintain or lose weight during the holidays. Last year we only had one client that did not lost weight; our clients were really excited about their success. The following is a copy of some tips that we give our clients to help them get through the holidays without weight gain.
Here’s some scary food for thought: to gain five pounds from now to the end of January, all you have to do is eat an average of 200 calories per day more than you need — an ounce of fudge here, an ounce of gravy there, some pecan pie. If you need to ‘get a grip’ on eating splurges, the winter holiday months are key to your long range planning. The holidays typically encourage people to indulge in high-fat, high-calorie foods that are low in nutrients, and this is also the time we’re most likely to make excuses for skipping exercise.
One of the most significant diet dangers revolves around sugar consumption. Problems arise from riding on a sugar roller coaster. When you binge on sugar, you crave more and more and your body slows down. Along with sunlight deprivation, sugar binges cause a drop in serotonin, a chemical in the brain that regulates sleep and appetite. A lack of serotonin is often associated with depression. When you’re deprived of serotonin, you won’t feel calm and in control.
To help boost your serotonin level naturally, eat small but frequent meals that include complex, starchy veggies. You can also help control blood sugar levels by eating small quantities of protein three times a day. For example, eat two egg whites in the morning, some turkey at lunch and a small portion of grilled fish at night.
You should keep up your regular exercise during the holidays and accept no excuses. When endorphins are high, you’ll cope better with stress, and regular exercise boosts endorphins.
Here are some other holiday survival tips:
· Exercise 30 min to 60 min a day during the holidays. Exercise to burn calories, relieve stress, and elevate your endorphins and mood such as a brisk walk, run, or bike-ride.
· Avoid eating no fat. Eating moderate amounts of fat during the holidays will satiate the appetite and prevent overeating of carbs (about 35-65 grams per day will be sufficient for most people.)
· Don’t skip meals. Hunger and low blood sugar lead to overeating.
· Don’t pass up favorite foods or deprive yourself completely. Moderate consumption is the key.
· Don’t tempt yourself by keeping trigger foods or comfort foods around the house. If you have them, it certainly increases the likelihood that you will overeat.
· Plan meals by keeping in mind the demands you’ll have on your schedule that day.
· Don’t go to a party starving. Before you leave home, eat something light or drink a protein shake. Also drink a great deal of water the day of the party.
· When you attend holiday festivities, don’t station yourself near the buffet table. Make a clear-cut decision to distance yourself from all goodies.
· If you do find yourself feeling depressed, soothe your spirit with a massage, manicure, pedicure, or facial. Men can enjoy this too!
· When you shop, eat before you leave home so you won’t resort to cookie breaks.
· To satisfy your sweet tooth, set limits. For example, you might allow yourself two desserts per week at 250 calories each.
· Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean you should give yourself the license to eat everything that passes by. Factor in the little extras into your daily intake.
· Help out by saving fat and calories when it’s feasting time. Make or buy wild-rice stuffing, baked sweet potatoes and whole-grain rolls.
· If you are staying with family or friends ask them if you can have a space in the refrigerator and keep foods on hand to snack on like lean deli meats, cottage cheese, nonfat cheese sticks, etc.
· If you are at the mercy of the dinner host, eat modest amounts of the foods offered and fill up on foods with more fiber and fewer calories. Make a small plate and skip the seconds.