The holiday season can stir up all kinds of crazy when i t comes to keeping on track with healthy eating habits. Yo-yo dieting, weight gain and binging are the first few concerns and thoughts that come to mind when I talk to my clients in preparation for the fast approaching holidays.
The worst thing you can do is to diet or starve yourself leading up to the big day. Yet this is exactly what I see so many people doing to “save” the extra calories for turkey, pie and a few extra holiday cocktails.
But here’s the thing when we diet- we actually end up re-gaining the original weight we lost and then some in the long run. Your body is super smart and when you start following a low-calorie diet, it becomes paranoid that you might be going into famine (much like what our ancestors might have experienced back in the day). And so the moment you start to bump up your caloric intake, your body quickly begins to pack it all on and store fat like crazy in fear that you might not get to eat again for some time.
So trust me on this one, don’t waste precious time and energy on dieting and starving your body or your super sexy hormones before the holidays. Both will thank-you later. I promise. Instead, enjoy your favourite foods in moderation without guilt and forget going diet-binge bananas.
So here it is- my 9 best pieces of advice to you to maintain a healthy eating routine without completely depriving yourself of your holiday favourites.
1. SAY YES TO BREAKFAST: What you eat at breakfast will set the stage for your metabolism and blood sugar for the rest of the day. Eating a quality breakfast with protein will help minimize sugar cravings and over eating later on in the day and evening.
2. EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL: Protein will help keep you full and satisfied each meal, leaving no little room for binging. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism, damages blood sugar and creates for poor digestion. Balance and moderation are essential. Eat protein with each meal about the size of your palm or iPhone.
3. TAKE A PROBIOTIC: Probiotics are critical to feed your gut with healthy bacteria. This will decrease digest upset including gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Probiotics will also help to boost your immune system (which can be inhibited by all those sugary sweets!), digest your food better, enhance healthy bowel movements and balance your hormones.
4. DRINK WATER + LEMON: Starting your day with a big glass of lemon water is an excellent way to begin flushing out toxins and prepare your body for digestion. Drink at least 8-10 cups of water throughout the day to help you feel full and prevent over eating. Lemon will also help to stimulate and cleanse the liver, aiding in proper elimination.
5. ENSURE ADEQUATE FIBRE: We should ideally be aiming for a minimum of 25-30 mg of fibre every day. Fibre helps keep us full, balance blood sugar & manage our weight. Most importantly, sufficient fibre intake will aid in healthy elimination of toxins through healthy regular bowel movements.
6. EAT YOUR VEGGIES: Vegetables are loaded with fibre to help keep you full, aid in elimination and feed good bacteria in your gut. Veggies are also full of antioxidants and essential vitamins & minerals which can help to boost your immune system and provide you with energy. Be sure to load up on cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale & cabbage which can help specifically with removing excess toxins & harmful estrogens accumulated in the liver.
7. CHEW YOUR FOOD: Enjoy your food- s-l-o-w-l-y! Chewing your food puts less strain and energy on your digestive system and can help prevent digestive upset such as gas and bloating, which can make us feel uncomfortable. Take the time to relax, breathe and taste your food when you eat.
8. EAT BEFORE THE PARTY: It’s easy to “forget” to eat lunch and dinner on the day of a big holiday party to save on calories, but this won’t do you any favour in preventing weight gain. In fact skipping meals before the party can lead to weight gain by over indulgence & overeating. This will only leave you feeling bloated, tired and quickly pack on extra pounds.
9. WATCH YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE: Consuming alcoholic beverages is an easy and fast way to gain extra holiday weight. The excess sugar not only turns to fat but also depletes your immune system function. If you are going to drink opt for light beer and wine spritzers emphasizing sugar-free fizzy water. Choose club soda over Coke or Sprite for cocktail mix. Add lemon, lime or fresh grapefruit for natural flavor without the calories.