Starting with Halloween, the holiday season is upon us. The glorious food avalanche is about to begin. All our favorites are about to fill our cupboards, pantries and secret hiding stashes and grace our tables.
Granted, we’re facing another Covid 19 holiday season, but even still, that probably won’t make much of a dent in the flow of goodies.
Although Covid 19 continues to wreak havoc with our dreams of family togetherness, with vaccines in place and boosters available, we’re better prepared to make the best of these still challenging times.
Whether we’re keeping this year’s holiday celebrations small and “intimate,” hanging out at home or in some way enlarging our celebrations to include extended family and friends, one thing we know for sure: food will play a starring role.
More than ever, delicious, familiar comfort foods are one of the few remaining joys that Covid hasn’t diminished. That is unless you’re in the Covid camp currently dealing with loss of smell and taste. In that case, I’m so sorry if this is you or someone you love.
Get ready for an onslaught of holiday food temptations and cravings.
And, for so many of us, those temptations and cravings don’t let up until January of 2022.
That’s a long 10 weeks to manage urges, cravings and desires for the sweet treats. All the candy, cookies, pies, cakes, and desserts, shimmering, shining and sparkling, enticing us to try them all.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the savory holiday comfort foods that entice us. The stuffing, rolls, breads, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, latkes and other assorted simple carbs bedecked in all their finery.
But, you don’t have to be one of those women who gains weight during the holidays.
Choose now to be the woman who maintains or even losses weight during the holiday season. It’s possible. I promise.
The average American gains between 1 – 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, depending on which study you want to believe.
That doesn’t sound like such a big a deal, right?
Well, actually, it is.
Consider that 38 percent of people in the United States are obese and 33 percent are overweight. And that we gain and keep an average of between one and two pounds every year.
Even one additional pound spells trouble in the long run.
Here’s how holiday over eating and over indulging effect your body.
Big meals slow your digestion and food spends more time being processed. That can cause the gassy, bloated feeling you often experience after a big meal.
As your body calls “all hands on deck!” to digest the food you’ve just consumed, it pumps more blood to your gastrointestinal tract.
That means less blood is available to transport oxygen and nutrients to other parts of your body. You know how sluggish and tired you feel after a large meal.
One of your stomach’s big jobs is to secrete hydrochloric acid to begin the digestive process and kill bacteria as food moves through your digestive system.
The more you eat, the more acid you produce. Some of it can make its way up the esophagus. That’ll get you reaching for the Tums to quell the heartburn that wakes you up at night.
Over indulging causes blood sugar spikes, especially if you’re eating a lot of carbohydrates or sugar.
When blood sugar rises above normal levels, you release excess amounts of insulin. Yes, you will get an energy spike.
But, it’s usually followed by a crash.
Add alcohol to this caloric overindulgence and you’ll probably toss and turn throughout the night.
You might also have a headache, difficulty concentrating, brain fog, or fatigue the next day.
So even if you only gain a pound or two from holiday indulging — who needs that extra pound, or a food and drink hangover?
Avoid the food madness and create your Holiday Food & Lifestyle Plan in advance.
Plan ahead to enjoy the holiday season with confidence and peace of mind around all the goodies.
You’ve probably heard this old bromide 100 times: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
So, let’s talk strategy.
- Eat before you attend celebrations and parties. Arriving hungry is a sure plan for over eating
- Scan the whole buffet table before beginning to load your plate. Helps to know what’s available so you can load your plate with an emphasis on protein, veggies and fruit before you run out of room.
- Watch your portion size. Start small, you can always come back for seconds or even thirds. Take a few bites worth at a time. This will give your brain the requisite 20 minutes to register fullness. Delaying helps you judge your satiety level.
- Fill the quadrants of your plate in these proportions: 1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs.
- Use a dessert or salad plate instead of a dinner sized plate for your main course.
- Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation, which is all too common during the holidays, may cause weight gain. It causes your hunger hormone levels to increase, increasing hunger.
- Keep meals balanced with protein. Holiday meals tend to be rich in carbs but low in protein. Include protein with every meal. Eating protein with meals may automatically reduce calorie intake by reducing hunger and appetite. Protein is also beneficial for weight control because it increases your metabolism and levels of appetite-reducing hormones..
- Focus on fiber. Fiber is another important nutrient that induces fullness. Some studies show that increased dietary fiber can reduce total calorie intake. Since many common holiday foods lack adequate amounts of fiber, do your best to eat a variety of fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Cut back on taste-testing. If you’re someone who does a lot of cooking and baking during the holiday season, all those bites, nibbles, and licks add up. Be mindful of licking the spoon and those tasty electric beaters. You know who you are!
- Weigh yourself regularly. I know, the dreaded scale anxiety is more acute during the holiday season. But here’s a tip to manage your mind and just do it: Imagine yourself as a curious scientist. Pull on your imaginary white lab coat and grab your clipboard to record data. No judgement necessary. Just curiosity. Record the data point and move on.
- Prepare a healthy dish that you like to eat to share. Protein or fiber rich, you know you’ll have a go-to dish that’s compatible with your food plan.
- Monitor liquid calories. During the holidays, alcohol, soda, eggnog and other calorie-rich beverages abound. They can fill you with loads of added sugar and empty calories. Alcohol consumption is often linked to increased appetite, a fast track to weight gain.
- Avoid processed food. Processed holiday foods — such as boxed mashed potatoes and stuffing, Pillsbury rolls, tubes of cookie dough — are more available than ever. While quick and easy, these foods often contain excess sugar and unhealthy fats that skimp on nourishment.
- Opt for whole foods and cook meals from scratch. Upgrade your traditional holiday recipes. Search online for alternatives to traditional recipes that rely on processed foods. Yep! I’m looking at you Campbell’s Mushroom Soup!
- Ditch the “I’ll start tomorrow” mentality. Make your plan now so you’re ready for whatever may come.
- Offer yourself grace and compassion. Of course you might go off plan every now and then, by accident or intentionally. But that’s no reason to abandon your weight loss goak. Simply move on and make a healthier choice the next time you eat. You’ll probably have plenty of opportunities to practice!
The secret sauce to make your Holiday Food Plan a slam dunk: THOUGHT WORK.
In my It’s Never Too Late Weight Loss Coaching program, we tackle holiday advanced planning like whirling dervishes.
At this vulnerable time of year, awareness and intention are your best friends.
Make a commitment to eat on your Holiday Season Food Plan today. You’ll do better if you do advanced planning.
I want to help you figure out your plan and insure its success with a strong foundation of believable thoughts to buttress your commitment.
Take me up on my offer for a FREE Strategy Call.
If you’re serious about controlling your weight, draw the line now. Set your parameters realistically so you can stick to your plan.
It’s okay to say no to certain foods and habits that don’t align with your goals. It’s not restriction, my friend, it’s self care.
You deserve to enjoy peace and freedom in your relationship with food, your body and your weight.
Your FREE Strategy Call awaits you, right here.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. A year from now, you will thank yourself you started today.
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