10 Strategies to Beat the Holiday Bulge

10 Strategies to Beat the Holiday Bulge: published in Scottsdale Health Magazine (November 2013)

Check out the magazine ——-> HERE <---------

Let’s face it; the holidays are usually a fat-induced free-for-all. From Thanksgiving through New Years, a plethora of stuffing, pie, chocolate, caramel corn, alcohol, rinse and repeat.

Don’t let this be you…again.

It’s time to remove your hand from the Hershey’s bowl and lay the ground work for the most nutritionally productive and physique enhancing holiday season you’ve ever had.

Set yourself up for nutritional success this holiday season by subscribing to this seemingly simple list of holiday eating tips:

1. Set a Goal

Be it big or small, write it down and get started. Maybe your goal is to “not gain weight” or even lose a few pounds, either way, awesome. Now attach some behavioral goals to that, like:

- Setting up a weekly meal plan
- Hiring a personal trainer or nutritionist
- Limit alcohol intake to just 1 glass of wine at night instead of the whole bottle.

Waiting for January 1st to get started is a mistake. Get started today.

2. Make Better Decisions

A better decision means re-gifting that ginormous tin of kettle corn. After all, no one ever ate anything by accident. You always have a choice. Minimize the choices you have to make by bringing your lunch and snacks to work to avoid picking at the inevitable stash of sugary junk lying around the office.

3. Eat Breakfast

Eating a protein rich breakfast will help fuel feel good hormones like dopamine to ensure you have good focus and emotional wellbeing. This translates to better food decisions and better insulin control, which directly influences how and where your body store body fat.

4. Plan Your Meals

Structure and planning is the key to success. Simply having your meals planned out can keep you from snacking throughout the day as well as on track with your portion sizes. Setting up a meal delivery service or prepping out your meals on the weekend can be the step needed to minimize your deviation from the plan.

5. Make Your Goals Known

I’ll let you in on a sad little secret. Your friends and family members are in cahoots to nutritionally sabotage your fat loss goals. They may not realize it, but it’s a fact that people like to rationalize their terrible eating habits by getting others to do the same. “Oh, you’re not going to have any of my homemade pie [insert sad puppy dog eyes face]?”

Now is your chance to lay down the law and stand up for yourself. Share with your friends, family and Facebook following that your fat-loss reckoning has begun.

6. Eat lower carb

It’s not realistic to completely avoid the delicious treats, and who the heck would want to? So, choosing lower carbohydrate foods the rest of the time, like ample amounts of green vegetables, fiber rich oatmeal, and wild rice with lean meats can go a long way to counteract the negative affects of the more processed, sugar-laden foods.

7. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is crucial to maximizing fat burning hormones and minimizing stress hormones. Even short-term sleep deprivation can lead to poor insulin control, more food cravings, and lower daily caloric expenditure. All of these are instrumental in optimizing body composition.

Practice good sleep habits like going to bed and waking up at the same times, sleeping in a blacked out room, and minimizing light exposure from electronics 1-2 hours before bed.

8. Take your vitamins

Excess sugar can wreak havoc on your intestinal and immune system health. Stick with basic vitamins, like vitamin D3, a multivitamin, fish oil and a probiotic to help minimize the affects of sugar and alcohol and promote a healthy gut lining.

9. Choose whole, quality foods

Our body will burn more calories digesting and metabolizing whole foods (thermic effect of food) than processed foods. Choosing quality lean meats, vegetables and some whole grains and legumes will provide far more fat burning and muscle building than processed sandwich bread, stuffing, chips, pastas and sweets.

10. Do some strength training

If you’re serious about building an awesome physique, then strength training should already be engrained in your daily schedule. Don’t let your training fall by the wayside because of travel, family and other holiday obligations. In fact, training twice a day can be a great way to counter balance less than optimal nutritional choices, like a brisk walk or more intense track workout in the morning followed by weights in the afternoon.

The post exercise window is the best time for your cells to absorb sugars and proteins for growth and repair, so plan you training sessions around your biggest meals to optimize your success.

It is more than possible to enjoy your holiday season without completely sabotaging your nutrition related goals. But don’t wait to make your health a reality, have your goals in mind while enjoying your food, friends and family this holiday season.