I’s a universal truth that the holidays are a time for cheer, being grateful, spending time with family – and the dreaded holiday weight gain.
It’s such a common problem that I know I have to be ready to handle an increase in the number of personal training clients, nutrition counseling and online consultations this time of year!
With sugar cookies, fruitcakes, and rum-spiked eggnog cocktails available at every holiday get together, it’s far too much temptation for the average person to resist!
All those tasty temptations combined with the stress of holiday shopping, travel and dealing with ornery Uncle Bob is a recipe for disaster for most people.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. I never get fat during the holidays and neither do my clients that follow my recommendations. As I posted on my facebook fan page, the only weight I’m going to be gaining over the holidays is on my deadlifts, squats, and bench presses!
Step 1: Make a plan
A little planning goes a long way! Preparing mentally and knowing what to do before you go to any holiday gathering will help you to stay strong and make the best choices available.
I want you to verbally commit to your goals before going to any holiday gathering. It doesn’t matter if you tell a family member, friend or tell yourself in the mirror, by committing verbally it will make it more likely that you stick with your plan.
If you can, never show up to a holiday party hungry. Eat a meal of protein, veggies and water to avoid putting yourself in a position where your appetite does all your decision making.
Once you arrive, fill up on choices from the meat, cheese and veggie platter. Guacamole is a good choice as well. Just limit the chips or skip them all together. Staying away from sugar, starches and alcohol is the goal here.
Remember, the goal is to be good – not perfect. It you cave in to Aunt Marie’s famous homemade pie or have a cocktail or two, don’t beat yourself up over it. Guilt is useless! Just cut your losses and make better choices for the rest of the evening. It all comes down to the simple math of how many good choices you made versus bad choices
Step 2: Exercise
One of the best ways to avoid turning those holiday calories into a Santa-esque belly is to exercise. The best choices here are to workout with weights before any holiday gathering and to do cardio after.
You may not have a lot of time before a party but even if you have 10 minutes you can get some good work in. Try this:
Push up/Squat Ladder 10-1
Do 10 reps of push ups followed by 10 reps of body weight squats. Then 9 reps of push ups followed by 9 reps of squats. Work your way all the way down to 1 of each as fast as possible – while using good technique of course!
For cardio, I recommend taking a 20-30 minute walk after the festivities. You can simply take a walk outside around the neighborhood if the weather permits. If not, use a cardio machine if you have one or you could even walk in place. Keep it low intensity. Working out hard after indulging is a bad idea!
Step 3: Detox
There are two different strategies I use to detox the next day after a night of holiday binging:
1. Protein shake fast
Instead of eating regular food, only drink water and have 3-4 protein shakes the next day. Here’s a quick recipe:
– 8oz almond milk
– 2 scoops of protein powder
– 3 cups of spinach
– 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
– 1 tablespoon of nutbutter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc)
2. Skip a meal
I personally like skipping breakfast. Instead, I’ll just have a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil blended in (it’s more delicious than it sounds). Then I’ll have a lunch consisting of protein, veggies and water. I’ll also make sure I work out if I wasn’t able to get one in before the holiday party.
Keeping It Simple
There you have it. 3 simple steps to avoiding the dreaded holiday weight gain. Make a plan, commit verbally to it, get your exercise in and detox the next day if you overindulge. Follow these recommendations and you’ll keep a healthy edge during the holiday season!
If you need more help than what I offered here, then sign up for my online personal training and nutrition counseling services.