Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain This Year

by Steven Carney on November 25, 2015

This is post #124 on the site (how to avoid weight gain for the 2015 holidays and beyond).

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Note: This article is an updated version of previous holiday posts.

As we begin the long 2015 holiday season, I thought I would offer some tips to avoid those annoying holiday pounds that tend to get added during year-end holidays.

Follow the holiday tips below to avoid gaining all those extra pounds (many people gain 5 pounds or more from Thanksgiving to New Years)!

1. Focus on weight-busting appetizers

Whether you are hosting a party or attending one, the key is to focus on whole, slow-digesting foods and appetizers, including:

  • Veggie platters (go for a colorful mix of these veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, asparagus, radishes, mushrooms, etc.,)
  • Use dips or sauces sparingly and look for healthy options like guacamole, humus or Greek yogurt with herbs and spices instead of traditional dips
  • Look for options like olives, pickles, cherry peppers, artichoke hearts, etc.
    Include unflavored nuts and seeds (raw/unsalted are best, but plain-roasted are okay)
  • Seafood and light proteins like shrimp, herring, sardines, salmon, crab and chicken skewers are also good choices
  • A few slices of cheese are okay, especially those with holes like Swiss, higher in vitamin K2
  • A few mini-fruits with skins are also good choices: grapes, berries, figs, dates, etc.

As you focus on the flavorful and healthy choices above, minimize your intake of chips, crackers, breads, pretzels, fried foods with breading/wrappers, etc.

2. Hydrate between drinks

Hydrate with a refreshing glass of water between drinks, or keep a glass of water handy so you can stay hydrated as you go. Also, eat some food before you leave so your stomach isn’t empty when you have your first drink. Having a fuller stomach will help to slow the alcohol absorption and metabolism. You will also feel less hungry so have a light protein snack or pick some foods from the list above. They are all good choices and will prevent cravings and too much alcohol reaching an empty stomach!

If you drink an equal amount of water for each drink you have (experts recommend a maximum of 1 drink per hour or less), you will be more alert and focused, and spare your liver from getting overworked by breaking down excess alcohol. You will also sleep better and feel better the next morning.

Red wine and microbrews can also be good choices as they often include some nutritional value. Mixed drinks are more variable and can be more potent if mixed with too much alcohol. So go easy on mixed drinks, especially because they often include soda or sweetened juices, syrups, or flavors with dyes and artificial ingredients. Drink slowly and aim for 1 or 2 drinks total depending on age, gender, health, etc.

3. Slimming main dishes

Here again, the key is focus on whole, complex, slow-digesting foods, such as:

  • Proteins like turkey, fish, seafood, chicken or uncured ham.
  • Veggies, especially those prepared simply with light sauces like herb-butter or EVOO and seasonings. Sweet potatoes are also healthy, so fill your plate with those colorful veggies
  • Wild rice, quinoa, and amaranth are all healthy side dishes (they are seeds, not grains)
  • Beans, peas and legumes are also good if prepared simply
  • Cranberries, if served in whole berry form are okay but often loaded with sugar so use sparingly for a splash of color and a topping

By focusing on lean proteins, veggies, seeds, and beans (higher in protein), there will be less room for white, starchy foods like potatoes, bread stuffing, rolls and breads because again, all those white/refined carbs will add pounds far faster than the proteins, veggies and seeds!

If you want to participate and share, try a small taste of mashed potatoes or stuffing, again, use like a garnish or topping. You will help yourself greatly by having minimal amounts of those starchy, high-carb foods! Yes, what you eat really matters!

By sticking to more whole, balanced and complete foods, you will feel full but tend to avoid all the weight gain that holiday’s bring. You can still enjoy any party while you avoid that typical food hangover so many experience.

And don’t slather everything in gravy! Again, use sparingly like a topping. It’s often thickened with wheat or other refined starches. A light touch (maybe 1-2 tablespoons max.) should be enough. A little butter or a drizzle of EVOO are better choices to add a little moisture if needed.

4. Sample desserts

As you should be pretty full already, why not take a few small samples for dessert instead of taking full portions? Just explain that you are full but that you’d like to taste a few. You could share or have half-portions of dessert to minimize refined-carb foods made from wheat or refined flours. Those refined carbs ignite cravings, digest faster (which spikes glucose), and will quickly add those extra holiday pounds you have to work off later! Opt for:

  • Fruit and cheese platter
  • A taste of pumpkin pie
  • A small serving of fruit pie/tart
  • Add a small dab of toping if you want

This way, you can participate and sample the deserts while having the equivalent of 1 total serving! And with a small dab of topping, you can minimize the intake of sugar and refined carbs, the real origin of weight gain for many people!

5. Remember your vitamins

Before you go out, take a quality multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement. That will help supply extra vitamins and minerals, in a good balance, to help break down any sweets, carbs or alcohol you have, keeping you out of deficits (you need vitamins and minerals to digest and metabolize any sweets and refined carbs you have).

The overall approach is to focus on whole, balanced foods, quality proteins, veggies, nuts, olives, seeds, and the other foods listed above. Keep the refined carbs and sweets to small, sample sizes and you will avoid gaining most, if not all of those extra holiday pounds. And what you do gain should be gone in a few days as you return to a normal, health eating pattern!

The hydration will also keep you fuller so you’re be less prone to overeat. This eating/drinking style should actually save you several extra pounds of weight compared to your usual eating habits, keeping your stress down and your mood more stable too.

6. Stay active and worry less

Finally, stay active and manage stress during the holidays. Your party or meal will be fine, no need to stress if things don’t seem perfect! Holidays should be about getting together and reconnecting with friends and loved ones, not picture-perfect platters!

And even brisk walking for 15-20 minutes after a night of indulging will help manage stress hormones and help to lower excess glucose you might accumulate!

By following these simple tips for his holiday season, you can enjoy yourself all the more! No need to feel pressured to eat lots of sweets or worry about all your usual weight gain! So have fun with family and friends this year!

Drop me a line at: steve@endsicknessnow.com if you have any questions, and let me know how things worked out!

Were you able to have fun and hold your weight steady this year?

Cheers!

Helpful links:

https://www.ncsf.org/enew/articles/articles-holidayweightgainmultifactoral.aspx

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/amazing-olives

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/what-is-the-mediterranean-diet 

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/power-your-life-with-power-foods-and-drinks

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/toxic-sugar-and-health

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/grains-vs-seeds-whats-the-scoop/

http://www.health-alternatives.com/nut-seed-nutrition-chart.html 

http://www.livestrong.com/article/442191-does-sugar-deplete-the-body-of-b-vitamins/ 

http://www.drjomd.com/highways/nutrition/sugar/sugar-a-naked-nutrient-and-a-robber/

http://www.mcvitamins.com/Health%20Opponents/sugar.htm 

© 2015 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

 

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