Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

27 11 2019

Updated, 27 November 2019, by Marc Woodard

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time. Especially if you’ve had a hard time losing weight. For those of you who have had a tough time staying on weight loss course – I have an 8-Tip Holiday food strategy plan that may help you avoid weight gain, yet allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

The 8-Tip No Weight Gain Holiday Strategy has helped past clients stay on weight loss target not only through the festive season but throughout the year. Admittedly – most of my clients didn’t lose weight during this time of year, but most didn’t gain weight either while applying this strategy.

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MirrorAthlete 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy

I was asked during a client consult if I could create a work around food strategy during the Holidays. One that allowed someone to eat favorite Holiday foods without derailing a weight loss goal.

I explained to the client there’s always a risk of falling off the wagon when overeating hyper-palatable [fatty, salty, sugary] foods – especially during the Holiday season. But for those looking to spend quality time with family, or attend a special event where food is the hero… If weight gain risk can be minimized through applying a food habit change plan… infrequent food indulgences can be enjoyed without gaining weight or feeling the guilt. With a properly programmed food plan, I find most people will stay on weight loss target. Admittedly, most clients I programmed didn’t gain weight during this time of year, but they didn’t lose weight either. Its basically a plan that puts weight loss on hold… then can be resumed thereafter.

Some have asked, “Can this 8-Tip No Weight Gain Holiday Food Strategy work long term?” Yes. “I believe certain habits and behavioral changes with an intermittent break in dietary routines will not be a weight loss goal deal breaker.”

Follow the tips below and you can have your cake and eat it to.

Tip#1Never!  Go to your mother, or mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves prior to the Holiday meal seems to be ingrained within the American culture. I know my family like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual. It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves from overeating. So, it stands to reason, you must eat something not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food the stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours depending on metabolism. This digestive function varies within each one of us.

Serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate. The point is… when you get to the table you won’t be as hungry or want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never, I repeat Never! Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

You don’t drink and drive do you? What makes you think you could drink without impact on will power to moderate calorie consumption? Especially while sitting in front of all those incredible dishes? Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point. Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor all wrapped into one. This concept is easy to understand: eat and drink like Vikings… equates to calorie gain and falling of the wagon!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice). Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day prior, during and after Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining to assist the body’s digestive system and process food intake more efficiently while storing fewer calories as body fat. Plus, water will make you feel full faster and has no calories.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences. It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break! I’m dying here. I think I just made myself hungry.

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice. Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy. More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan strategy that moves one away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving. After you consume it wait 20 minutes before you think about a second serving.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal. Second servings is not recommended. This will be the hardest part of the plan. It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.

Focus on satiety – not a feeling of fullness. But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/2 the plate diameter. And no piling food on the plate.  Focus on 50% less than what you’d normally put on the plate for 1st’s and 2nd’s.

Tip#6Never eat dessert after you’ve eaten the main meal.

This will only add insult to injury. For many overweight people, the body simply can’t handle an additional blood sugar spike without storing more calories as body fat weight. Decadent foods are a villain to weight watchers and reason many fall off the wagon. Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of what you already consumed. If you experience a feeling of satiety and not overfull after a period of time then do enjoy some a little dessert. But if you experience the feeling of near full anytime – back off and leave the remaining portion of dessert.

Tip#7 Never, I repeat never!  Take home left overs.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year. By continuing to eat these foods in succession leads to similar eating patterns days and months after the event. In this case total body weight can easily increase 8-10lbs within a 30 day period. Especially when one does not aerobically exercise daily.

Tip#8 – Perform Aerobic Exercise daily during the Holidays.

Low-impact aerobic exercise is very important to perform . Especially throughout the Holidays. When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to mobilize the body to remove the unspent fat fuel. I highly recommend at a minimum… a daily walking program, or other low-impact aerobic activity, working up to at least 30 – 45 minutes daily. It is low impact aerobic exercise that stimulates the fat burning body furnace. Whereas body fat fuel is preferred by the body’s metabolism when performing low-impact aerobic exercise.

You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday and annual event foods that don’t add weight watcher pounds or guilt. And best of all, when applied correctly you won’t gain any weight. You may even surprise yourself and lose a little during those festive occasions.

Have a wonderful Holiday season and New Year with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss program prevent a great social and meal experience with loved ones.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2017-19 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





After Holiday Weight Gain Blues

22 01 2019

Travel and Food Go Together – Pacing oneself is the challenge.

Last updated 22 Jan 19, by Marc Woodard

Another year has gone by with all the Holiday decor and cheer with it. I understand some of you had a tough time with the food choices and amount that you consumed; and last year’s weight loss resolution didn’t work out so well.

With that being said, should I dare say some of you are not only bummed out after you stepped on the scale, you have the weight gain blues.

There are many reasons weight gain occurs. I would never tell you I know exactly what you are going through. However I do know, out-of-control weight gain is often attached to an emotional lifestyle change. And those changes often trigger over consumption of food and drink – especially during and after the Holiday season, or vacations. And this can lead to acute-to-chronic depression for many.

There is also an illness-disease relationship associated with unhealthy body weight – especially once we become obese. At this point the mind-body becomes susceptible to greater health risk. For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), congenital heart disease, fibromyalgia-phantom pain, etc. A daily habit of over eating may also increase other bad habits, i.e., smoking, drinking, illicit drug or unnecessary pharmaceutical use.

In general, stressful life events cannot be avoided. But can be stress-minimized through understanding the environmental triggers causing them. Regardless of season, or any day for that matter… you must learn how to target and identify the physical, mental and/or social triggers causing the emotional stress keeping you overweight and unfit and do something about it.

Unfortunately for some – the over weight condition may be the result of a genetic or metabolic factor, Which may have less to do with lifestyle habits and behavior – but more to do with an inefficient calorie burning furnace. Any long-term weight gain that threatens health should seek medical attention immediately from a physician.

Recreational Activity Does a Body Good.

Below I’ve listed a few behavioral habit forming relationships that can be changed before and after any holiday season or vacation to help reduce body fat weight gain and achieve the weight loss goal.

8 Lifestyle Changes You can Make to Achieve Your New Years Resolution Weight Loss Goal.

  1. Holiday Cheer Weight Gain – What can I say about Holiday Cheer that I haven’t mentioned in my previous writings.  Have a Holiday battle meal plan before you set down at the table.  Read the following article, “10 Step Basic Weight Loss Tips.”
  2.  Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed – You know why you failed your weight loss program from previous years. You did not resolve, or change your eating, drinking, or exercise habits. To do so is still too painful for whatever the reason. Until you resolve and/or get serious about your weight loss goal, or seek professional help, regardless of who provides you weight loss tips, services or program… you’ll likely continue to struggle with body weight.
  3.  Pain factor – All pain is directly related to illness, disease and/or injury. And with pain comes more sedentary habits. It is for this reason, it is more important than ever you work with your primary physician and pain management specialists to find treatment and activity that’s right for you. If you have mental and physical pain that’s not been diagnosed – seek advisement and referrals from your primary care physician.
  4.  Stressful life events cause excess calorie consumption– For many the habit of eating more calories than needed may come from everyday stresses caused by work or home environment, or bad relationship with spouse, friend or family member. Or the stress could be caused by some other non-diagnosed physical and mental pain from childhood. Stress events can culminate and increase a depression mood that causes one to eat more in an attempt to feel better. Once you target the cause of your stress induced bad habit and/or behavior and remove it… it’s more likely you’ll succeed in a safe weight program over a set period of time.
  5.  Carry the party into New Year – Some carry the end of year festivities into the new year. This behavior can last for months, or the entire year. This continued habit will not help you lose weight or remove the depression umbrella. “First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and must break this unhealthy habit.” As one ages and the habit continues – health risk increases.
  6.  Fast foods after the Holiday’s. Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holidays. Here lies a crux for much of the American obesity problem. During this time of year there is a huge spike in fast foods and alcohol sales. Yes, business booms almost in every sector of the economy. Fast foods are convenient, chemically addictive and bad for health in the long run. I know you’re thinking, what if I just give up the fast food places and eat out at restaurants? While this is a better concept, you don’t know how much of those meals are processed with unhealthy garbage causing your weight gain. Also when you eat out – most tend to eat more. Instead develop a healthy whole foods shopping habit and limit yourself to 1 fast food meal a week. I highly recommend you read, “Restaurant and Grocery Foods Healthy?
  7.  Love of Baking – I know, some of you carry your new found baking habits into the new year. Although there is nothing wrong with cooking your own food, the pitfall is when you love everything you bake just a little too much. I know the kids love your home made cookies, cakes and pies. Remember moderation with deserts. Too much sugar, fat and salt is not good for anyone, even children with fast metabolisms. If you’re having a tough time changing up your baking habit – try becoming a little more creative by offering different types of deserts… fresh fruits, jello, pudding, etc. Mix it up and break away from the continuous high fat baking habit.
  8.  Empty Nester’s Bake for an Army – Regardless of season, there are many who continue to cook for an entire family after the children have left home. There are many things tied into this habit. This is a tough habit to change – especially if the spouse demands traditional family recipes. If you continue to cook this way, you’ll not reduce food portions – it will be more challenging to meet your weight loss goal.

Once you target the cause of your weight gain nemesis and make healthier lifestyle choices that include daily exercise activities – your fitness levels and health will improve dramatically, while achieving your weight loss resolution once and for all.

Good health to you and your family!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET2019 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.