Strategic Holiday Eating – Eat More, Weigh Less

3 Holiday Indulgence Strategies

This is not intended to be your typical “eat this, not that” holiday eating nonsense. That would be a waste of time.

Rather, I’m all about practicality here. You’re probably going to eat too much, and drink too much, and exercise too little (oh don’t worry, I will be too). I mean isn’t that what’s so awesome about the holidays?

So, is there any hope at all?

Here are 3 potentially useful (and unconventional) holiday eating (and drinking) strategies that can minimize fat storage, maximize fun, and provide you with some useful dieting tools throughout the holidays and New Year.

Intermittent Fasting:

It’s Christmas dinner and you’ve been waiting all year for this feast. Stick with salad instead? Nope, ain’t going to happen. Instead, dig in, enjoy, and then implement some strategic fasting.
“Intermittent fasting”, as the name implies, is a structured period of no food or calories from beverages. This can range in duration, from just skipping breakfast a few days per week to going a full 24-40 hrs without eating. While there is some research to suggest that this can help boost immune system function and help improve longevity, the sole purpose in this case would be to effectively manage calorie intake.

An effective strategy for holiday feasting would be to finish dinner and then “fast” until lunch or dinner the following day, usually 16-18hrs is ample. During the holidays, when it’s not uncommon to have multiple “feasts” per month, using this fasting strategy can effectively save you a ton of calories and the excess fat gain that comes from eating like a pig.

Practical tip:

Most health conscious individuals eat really well from Monday to Friday and then fall off the wagon over the weekend. Fasting from Sunday night to Monday night can be an effective way to save calories and still make room for weekend liberties.

Set a Protein Goal:

Want to drink? Sure you do.

Here’s the thing … alcohol absolutely sabotages your body’s ability to burn fat. I know, it’s a cruel, cruel, world. But, we can minimize the damage done by keeping your protein intake high throughout the day and keep your fat and starchy carbohydrate intake as low as possible. This basically helps keep calories low throughout the day and minimize the potential to store excess body fat.

So let’s say it’s New Years Eve, and you know it’s going to be a blowout night. Just stick with very lean sources of protein, like egg whites, chicken breast, ground turkey, and white fish, and compliment that with lots and lots of low starch and high fiber veggies, like asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, peppers, etc. throughout the day until party time. And then? Well, party like it’s 1999, of course!

Practical Tip:

Aim to consume around ¾ to 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight throughout the day (this is a good general rule of thumb for weight loss too). For clarity, 1 oz of animal protein is approximately 6 grams of protein. So a 150 lb individual would need upwards of 150 grams, or roughly 25 oz of protein throughout the day. Of course there are non-animal based sources of protein that can contribute to the daily protein goals.

Plan your “Cheat Meals”:

Let’s assume you eat 5 meals/snacks per day, 7 days per week. That equates to 35 meals in a given week. If you’re goal is fat loss, then you need to be 90% compliant, ensuring that less than 10% (3.5 meals/week) of those meals deviate from your plan.

Go ahead and pull out your calendar and plan out which of these meals will be “cheat meals”. Christmas dinner? Office Party? New Years? Oh, and just because it’s a cheat doesn’t give you the freedom to eat for hours on end. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to count these holiday cheat meals as at least 2 of your weekly cheats.

Practical tip:

Just being aware of how many “cheat meals” you have planned and/or happen to fall into the diet is an important tool for long-term weight loss success and/or weight maintenance.

The holidays are such a great time to spend enjoying the company of loved one’s while sharing good food, love and laughter. Don’t ruin it by painfully “dieting” your way through. Instead, be strategic and plan ahead. Your friends, family and waistline will thank you.

Want to know more about intermittent fasting? Click HERE


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