This happens to the best of us.
I’m talking about … the dreaded holiday weight gain.
When you’re traveling and dining with your friends and family, do you have to deal with crappy airplane food, as well as crazy people who shove plates and plates of processed junk on your plate?
The answer seems to be “probably.”
And if your family and friends loves to feast, the answer seems to be “always.”
If so, your six-pack will probably be taking a hit over the holidays 🙁
A part of you is relieved that you can use “the holidays” as an excuse to indulge, while the other part of you feels guilty, and promises yourself that you’ll hit the gym in the New Year (whether you can actually sustain this is questionable though)
But what if you can be good 95% of the time, and be bad 5% of the time (Naughty, naughty …)? Maybe more like 80/20 😉
Here are 8 simple, actionable strategies for you to have fun and “minimise the damage”, so to speak, when you have little incentive to go to the gym and are bombarded with alcohol, processed cookies (Got Oreos?), and all sorts of junk food.
#1: Start your day with a nutrient-dense super smoothie to keep you going
Making your own smoothies first thing in the morning can flood your system with maximum nutrition, fill you up and give you lots of fibre.
Since you may not be eating enough fresh, raw greens and fruit throughout the day, you can get your fibre early in the morning to start your day right and incorporate 2-3 cups of dark leafy greens and fruit in your diet, which maybe more than what a lot of people get in a week!
Blending makes the greens and fruit easier to digest, especially since a lot of us don’t chew enough. And you can guzzle the smoothie on the run in the morning.
Yes, if you need something quick to fill you up before you go to that party full of donuts, hamburgers and French fries, a superfood smoothie is the way to go. Remember to add your favourite superfoods to supercharge your smoothie!
You may want to check out our smoothie recipes here:
- The Ultimate Sports Drink: Kale and Strawberry Energy Boosting Smoothie
- Muscle-Building Power Smoothie
#2: Start with vegetables first in meals
Start with vegetables first, ideally steamed vegetables or a salad with minimal oil and dressing, perhaps with lemon juice, grape must, and a dash of olive oil.
You’re already getting a lot of salt and oil in the main course, so if you choose the steamed vegetables or salad with minimal dressing earlier in the meal you maybe able to 1) “minimise the damage” from the salt and oil 2) be satiated sooner than otherwise.
It really makes a difference if you can choose the low calorie vegetable dish first, ideally over the high calorie meat and dairy products. But since most of you maybe tempted to reach for that mince pie (yes you!) then best to eat your greens first.
Given the cold weather in winter, vegetable soup can be really hearty and satiating; great to have at the start of your meal.
#3: Make sure your hotel room has a fridge
Oh yes. You maybe taking your fridge for granted.
If you’re traveling, or visiting family and friends, a fridge can help you store fresh fruit at the very least so you can snack on them when you’re hungry, rather than depending on nearby restaurants, unless of course, you’ve got a Gracias Madre nearby.
And if you know your friend and friends will be stuffing your face with fatty Christmas food, you can buy your own fruit and produces and snack on them first before you dine with them.
#4: Carry Snacks With You
When you carry snacks with you while traveling you are less likely to be hungry and eat any unhealthy foods that come your way, especially on flights.
A few nutrient-dense and easy-to-carry snacks you can carry with you, even if you aren’t traveling:
Bananas: Seriously, all you need to do is to peel and eat it. You don’t even need to cut the fruit with a knife. Bananas are full of fibre and potassium, and are very filling. They are so easy to carry with (you just take one and go).
Bananas are everywhere so if you forget to bring your own banana you can easily pick one up at a nearby grocery store. I like the short and stout bananas (no pun intended 😉 ) as they are chewier and is infused with more banana flavour.
Avocado: Again, you just need to peel the avocado. Having a knife is handy. Avocado is full of antioxidants and healthy omega-3 fats.
Sprouted Nuts: Hands down one of the best foods to enhance digestion and give you energy. Need I say more?
Sprouted Granola: I love making a batch of sprouted buckwheat granola for the week to snack on. Unlike most commercial versions, the granola you make at home can be completely made with whole food ingredients.
Below is the recipe I use:
- 2 cups of sprouted buckwheat
- 1 cup of homemade apple sauce
- 6 bananas
- ½ cup of maple syrup
- 4 tablespoon of cacao powder
- ½ cup of soaked raisins
- 2 tablespoon of soaked pecan nuts
Just mix the ingredients together, spread them thinly on a dehydrating sheet and dehydrate at c. 145F (yes, higher than 115F) .
If you don’t have a dehydrator, then turn your oven on the lowest heat, leave the door slightly open and “bake” your granola there.
If you don’t have the time, GoRaw, Living Intentions, and Stephen James have some great pre-sprouted snacks. And remember to check out the 4 surprising ingredients to look out for when purchasing snack bars! Yes… raw foods can keep you lean and trim.
#5: If you’re going for alcohol, opt for the least damaging one and pace your drinking
Right. You know my stance on alcohol. Yes I’ve had readers tell me I’m too boring and restrictive. 🙁 (You haven’t seen my wild side 😉 )
However, rather than drinking shots and shots of hard alcohol which contains lots of added sugar, red wine may have beneficial effects on your body which may counteract the aging process.
With the above being said, I still think its best to abstain from alcohol. But if you must drink this season, I’d go for red wine and perhaps vodka, which may be the “cleanest” alcohol.
And yes, pace your drinking! Drink 2-3 glasses of water or juice for every 1 glass of wine, ideally no more than 1 glass of alcoholic beverage in 2 hours. By spacing your alcoholic intake, you can be mindful of your alcohol consumption and slow down your drinking pace.
#6: If you eat meat, choose grass-fed meat and sustainable seafood
I know a lot of us find it hard to give up meat.
When you eat the flesh of the animal, you’re also ingesting such toxins. Even foods labeled “organic” or “natural” may also be laden with these toxins.
I’m not going to get into the environmental ramifications of eating meat here, but if you’re interested, the movie “Cowspiracy” is a great one to watch.
If you do eat meat, choose a trusted source so you know where your meat is from, and ideally, choose sustainable seafood over red meat since seafood has higher amounts of “good fats.” Yes, even during the holidays when you’re eating out!
#7: Take a high quality probiotic and plant-based digestive enzyme supplement
Poooooop talk time.
Many of us maybe constipated given stress, environmental factors, foods we eat, etc.
Top that with the stress of the holidays (yes some of you have events planned from morning to night!) as well as the unhealthy foods you maybe eating during this time, your digestive system maybe a bit sluggish.
If your digestive system is sluggish, chances are you’re probably lacking energy, feeling bloated, and looking a bit dull (perhaps with a bit of acne).
While you maybe thinking “I’ll get on a juice cleanse in the New Year,” well I’m not sure if your family and partner would appreciate you farting all over the place over the holidays (seriously!)
And when your digestive system functions properly, you’re likely to experience clearer skin, increased energy levels (which means more energy to exercise and burn calories!), and can maximise absorption of nutrients from your food.
So other than eating more vegetables (which is very boring, but solid advice), I’d suggest taking the right probiotic and digestive enzymes, especially if you’re going to be eating dense foods during this time.
#8: Have Sex and Connect
Ok, many of you are so stressed out over the year. Take the time over the holiday, relax, and have some fun 😉
Bond with your partner, and try synchrony sex to boost your health 😉
Hey, getting some maybe a great way to burn calories.
Bonus Tip: Exercise and Move Your Body
Need I say more? If you really can’t bear the gym, go out and have some fun in the snow, or the ocean if you’re somewhere tropical.
P.S. Yes 8 tips – lucky number 8. It is the Chinese in me.
P.P.S. If you can take 10 minutes in the morning to calm your mind (meditate) you may find that you can eat more mindfully, choose more thoroughly, and be able to better control your eating habits during the holidays.
Getting a bit naughty this holiday? 😉 Leave a comment!