In this article, I am going to answer this week's most frequently asked question:
"Jill, how am I supposed to avoid gaining a ton of weight during this Holiday Season with all these holiday parties and temptations everywhere!?"
However, there are some simple tricks that will help make it much easier for you to stay in shape this Christmas, despite its many temptations to fall off the healthy bandwagon until New Years...
- First of all, make sure you are following a good nutrition plan. I have created this 2-week nutrition plan for you that works extremely well for women(or get my Complete program to get the 14-week plan)! Without a plan, it becomes all too easy to just eat whatever is available, whenever it’s available… and as I mentioned above, the world around us usually doesn’t make healthy options readily available, especially this time of year! Plan ahead by bringing healthy snacks with you to class/work/shopping, etc… and you’ll be much less tempted when your co-worker drops by with donuts for the whole office, or you walk past that tasty Holiday chocolate display at the mall.
- Make sure you are eating enough healthy food on a regular basis. The plan I have provided is a perfect example -- 5 - 6 small meals per day, complete with fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. If you are eating a lot of healthy food, you will be much less tempted to binge on junk food when it’s available.
- Beware of "social stuffing". What often happens at family gatherings is that we feel obligated to eat simply because there is a lot of food available. Everyone stands and munches, and it feels almost socially awkward to NOT join in on the munching --in other words, eating becomes a social event. Unfortunately, this ‘social’ eating usually costs hundreds of calories if you nibble on the wrong foods. So, for family functions and holiday get-togethers, offer to bring a healthy appetizer such as fresh chopped fruit cup, or a veggie tray. This way, even if everyone else brings French-fried-this and extra-cheesy-that, you’re still guaranteed to have something healthy to munch on!
- Don't show up starving! There is also a tendency to “save up” for these family functions, to save room in our stomachs for the endless buffet of great free food. However, I suggest never going to one of these events starving! Try eating something healthy and fiber-full (like an apple) before you go. This will prevent you from wanting to eat everything in sight when you get to the party.
- Let yourself indulge! Just because you should not "stuff yourself", does not mean you are not allowed to indulge a little at these family gatherings! For, every good “plan” also allows for some flexibility. Personally, I advocate the 90-10 principle: eat healthy 90 percent of the time, and eat whatever you want for the other 10 percent of the time! If you are eating 5 meals a day, this 10 percent “wiggle room” comes out to about 3 meals per week, and will not hinder your progress as long as you follow your healthy plan the rest of the time. I call these “cheat meals” (notice I did not call them cheat FEASTS or cheat all-you-can-eat buffets). You should plan on “cheating” on your healthy diet 3 meals per week. Then, any time you have a family gathering coming up, just make sure you save one of your “cheat meals” for the event! This way, you can enjoy your ONE plate (of whatever you want) guilt-free, without sabotaging your weight loss. Just remember: a cheat meal does not include “second helpings”, or multiple plates :)
- And finally, remember that you do NOT no need to weigh yourself too often (once per week in the morning is perfect!) For, your weight will fluctuate from day-to-day and hour-to-hour depending on how much you eat and drink, how much salt you eat, how much you sweat, what ‘time of the month’ it is, etc. It’s pretty impossible to consume enough calories at one family function to gain REAL body mass (an excess 3500 calories per pound), so only weigh yourself once per week to avoid getting frustrated at this type of “fake” weight gain .
To summarize: Follow a solid nutrition plan, stick to it 90 percent of the time, cheat guilt-free for the other 10 percent (3 meals per week), bring healthy foods to munch on at family gatherings, and I think you will find that it’s a lot easier to stay in shape than you once thought during the Holidays!
To see how to incorporate these guidelines into a daily toning routine that you can start following TODAY, check out my complete women's workout and nutrition program! You'll get everything you need to start seeing results in the New Year! :)