Holidays, at last! Big family gatherings with rich dinners, spending some time with friends, who doesn’t like that? I know that I always loved those feasts, but over the past couple of years, I was struggling with them because I was trying to lose weight.
I mean, how could ANYONE resist Christmas cookies, left for Santa but eaten in secret when everyone goes to sleep? So If you are like me, you probably know that it can be very hard to keep the weight off during the holidays.
Last year I made a great plan that worked flawlessly, and since I’m now working on helping other people lose weight I decided to share with you my little secrets and hacks that gave me the freedom to relax and not worry about gaining weight.
Don’t lie to yourself.
If you set a goal “I will keep losing weight, no “bad foods” over the holidays“, we both know that’s not going to happen.
Holidays are the time you spend with your family and friends, with your loved ones, and you should really enjoy them. People these days forget to be thankful for having someone who loves them in their life, and those moments – holidays in this case – are precious, and you should enjoy them fully. Even if that means eating “bad food”.
If you, however, try to stay on the track and you fail, you will get nothing but that sad and dark feeling of disappointment like you failed yourself and everyone around you. You don’t need that on Christmas!
There’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself a little bit over the holidays so, be realistic. “I will only eat greens and veggies even though I love that cake my momma made” is not realistic, and will bring you nothing. However, setting the goal “I will exit holidays not feeling sick due to binge eating” sounds more like a realistic plan.
If you are working out then you will even more easily keep the weight off. If not, then consider breaking some sweat over this period because burning a few hundred calories on the day of the feast can help your body process everything better.
Remember, you cannot out-train the bad diet, and you shouldn’t even try. Modest workout like 30 minutes of exercises and 15 minutes of cardio will do just fine. You will burn more calories with 3 hours of weight lifting and 5 hours of cardio, but that’s not the point.
The point is to wake up your body and boost metabolism.
If you know you will have dinner with your family at 6 pm then go to the gym that morning. Shake up your body, let the blood circulate through the muscles.
Many people don’t know that they burn calories hours after the workout, not just during one.
So when you know there is a must-cheat-day coming, make sure not to skip the workout that day!
Practice intermittent fasting
As we already discussed this many times and suggested the same thing in our post How To Stay Fit On Vacation, we are saying it again.
Intermittent fasting is a very powerful tool that keeps the weight off even when you have multiple cheat days.
By practicing 16 hours fast, and 8 hours eating window he was able to consume all those calories others consumed, and still not gain fat.
That’s because your insulin level drops very low after 12 hours of the fast. When insulin is that low, your body starts burning stored fat for energy, which means you have 4 full hours of losing weight!
Supplements can help you
When I say supplements I don’t say fat burners. I do not recommend anyone to take fat burners, because they are nothing but a waste of money and don’t do anything actually.
Since you probably won’t have fish on your cheat days like holidays, I would suggest taking omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are known to burn visceral fats – fats around your liver, heart, and other organs, and keep you healthy.
Of course, taking them only for a day or two won’t bring any results, but if you start now and take them throughout the whole holiday season, they can prevent your body to store fat.
Omega 3s come in various sizes, colors, and shapes, but the best ones are definitely Nature’s Bounty’s Fish Oil.
These are the best because
- They don’t have a disgusting fishy aftertaste
- 3 softgels daily are more than enough for daily requirements
- They have an enteric coating which means absorption of essential fatty acids is far better
- You get 200 softgels, which means you are good to go for the next 2 months
- They are non-GMO and do not contain artificial colors nor sweeteners,
- They are truly inexpensive
Make sure to check them out!
Other supplements may come in handy like protein and organic green tea and you can check them out on our resources page.
Plan your days
A good plan is 90% of the work done.
See which days you know you will overeat and where your insulin will go off the chart. Then make a plan:
If you, for example, know you will overeat on Christmas or New Year’s Eve, then make sure to balance that with the days you will stick to your weight loss routine.
That basically goes for a few days of weight gain, few days of weight loss, and you will exit the holidays with the same weight you entered.
Those don’t have to nessecerly be only one day of eating and day of losing weight. Plan the periods up to 3 or 4 days and after those, have the same long periods of doing the opposite. You will be just fine.
You can’t make that big damage in 3 days. You may stress about numbers on the scale, but they mean nothing. The body doesn’t just store fat like that. Your body will first retain water for a couple of days, and if you keep overeating more than 7 days in a row, your body will slowly but surely start to flush out the water from those cells and store fat in them.
So for a period of 3 or 4 days, you should be absolutely fine.
Don’t stress about it! Forget it! Enjoy it!
Increase protein foods
If you are cheating that doesn’t mean you should only eat carbs.
Having protein in your meals will keep you full longer so that can be seen as prevention to eat later.
If you are at lunch or dinner where there are plenty of other foods, make sure to pick more meat. Meat is full of protein and fats and will definitely keep you full longer.
If you don’t eat meat usually, then make sure to have some eggs or beans with your meal, they are packed with protein and it will keep you full longer.
A good option is also to have a protein shake with or after dinner. Basically, you can have it like dessert.
Gold Standard by Optimum Nutrition with double rich chocolate is my favorite solution for any type of dessert. You can make awesome protein shakes with bananas and that protein, pudding, pancakes, even a cake, and serve the whole family!
On the other hand, if you are vegan, Organic Plant Based Protein by Orgain is definitely the best choice. Make sure to check them out!
As you probably can tell I’m not one of those people who would advise you to watch your portions, be active with friends and family, be smart with your food…
I think that’s all bullshit because it’s the holidays!
Yes, watching portions and eating a shit load of veggies will definitely keep the weight off, but that’s not the point. Point is to enjoy the time you spend with your family and friends the best way you can.
You don’t want to feel sorry for missing those moments when you grow old. Life is very fast today, and no one knows what tomorrow brings, so forget about everything, and relax. Don’t stress about it! You won’t gain everything back!
You should have slight corrections like having omega 3s and protein foods, but ONLY if that doesn’t affect your enjoyment for that day.
I hate those things like “I ate today like a pig, I will punish myself tomorrow in the gym / by starving“. I hate the idea that we need to earn food.
Just relax and stick to your REALISTIC plan.
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Founder at Extreme Loser