Holidays are one of my favorite times of the year and something that I look forward to each year. The same goes for many Metabolic Living clients. However, knowing that you will be around food, treats, drinks and more can make the holiday’s nerve-racking (and especially if you are working on better eating habits, losing fat, and feeling better). There are many ways to enjoy the holidays and not gain weight, so here are 5 strategies on how to not gain weight over the holidays and stay focused on your goals while still having a great time!
1. Prepare “better for you” treats
In my experience, it’s the sweet treats that often get us on the rollercoaster of cravings and wanting more and more. One way to navigate the sweets is to choose options that do not make you crave more. To find the right options for you, ask these questions: What is satisfying to me, and what does not make me want to eat more? For example, my mother-in-law makes these beautiful sugar cookies and I can easily eat ten of them (or more). They are so delicious but do not satisfy me at all. On the other hand, I can make Bella Yon’s Mini Pumpkin Pies that are Low-Carb and Dairy-Free and taste great (recipe here). Those I can have one or two and be totally satisfied and not crave more. This allows me to control both the calories and my hormones while still enjoying a treat.
2. Fill up on protein and vegetables
Opt for all the delicious protein (animal and non-animal sources) and vegetables you can find. Protein and vegetables are difficult to overeat. In combination, protein and vegetables are both filling and satiating, meaning you feel full and that feeling of fullness lasts for longer periods of time. Another benefit of protein is that it can help cut cravings!
3. Use a pre-load
Protein helps us feel fuller longer, so having a pre-snack or pre-load of protein before going to the party can help you make better choices. Try a delicious protein shake or even a couple of hard-boiled eggs to get your hunger under control so you can make better choices while you’re surrounded by temptation.
4. Choose what you like the most
There are always a variety of food options during the holidays – some that you love and then those that are kind of just okay. Enjoy the ones that you really love and skip the ones that are just there (“take it or leave it” kind of food). It is totally okay not to eat everything. For example, I enjoy a glass of wine, but I don’t mind skipping the mashed potatoes. Focus on eating the things you truly love, and you’ll easily keep your meals on point.
5. Create some structure
More often than not, we gain weight because we lack structure and routine around the holidays. Create some structure to your days by making yourself a special routine for the holidays. This will allow you to crush your planned workout or walk, which may have large and beneficial trickle down effects on the rest of your day. Many people feel more in charge of their food choices when they do this.
I hope that these strategies help you during the current holiday times. If your goal is to not gain weight and still enjoy yourself, then you’re not alone. It is not what we eat for one meal or for one day that “makes or breaks” our physique. It’s about making better choices consistently and honoring your unique metabolism. There is no one way to approach holiday eating. One meal or one day of foods that we typically do not eat may show up on the scale as water retention, but it won’t stick around as weight gain as long as you enjoy it and then move on to your healthy eating habits the next meal.