On average, people gain anywhere from 2-5 pounds during the holidays.  With a plethora of cookies, cakes, brownies, and family style dinners, we all can see how this weight gain is possible.  Holiday weight gain may seem inevitable to most individuals, but that does not have to be the case.  The holidays are a time for rest, relaxation, and of course spending time with family and friends.  Along with those, some extra desserts seem to find a way to creep on to our plates and ultimately result is excess calorie consumption.  Being that most of us tend to spend our holiday season like this, here are a select few tips to help prevent that holiday season weight gain. Use these tips to limit your holiday mayhem whether you plan on staying keto or venturing back into the carbohydrate (hopefully still low carbohydrate) world.

1. Get a Christmas workout in!

Of course the holidays are a great time to sit back, relax, and enjoy good food and good company.  However, this does not mean you still can’t get a good workout in!  Usually gyms are closed but if you have access to one that isn’t, GREAT.  If not, you can get a quick and effective whole body workout in at home.  In fact, research has demonstrated that exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, which whether consuming carbohydrates or not, can be very beneficial![1]  Take note that in order for a training session to be insulin sensitizing it needs to me tailored more towards being metabolic rather than muscle damaging.  So put down those heavy weights and get that heart rate up!

2. Supplement with insulin-sensitizing agents

While the first technique may be more common amongst those trying to limit their holiday dietary havoc, this one may not be.  There are several ingredients out now that are showing promise in improving insulin sensitivity.  Ingredients like berberine or cinnamon bark extract, for instance,  can be consumed prior to your holiday feast and may be able to prevent some of the damage those carbs could cause!

3. Pass on the bread

Keto or not I understand there are certain foods you will not want to miss this holiday season.  For most, it’s grandma’s famous spaghetti or Mom’s sugar cookies!  To make up for having a bite, you can cut carbohydrates out elsewhere, for instance, bread.  Cutting a “carby” food option like this out of the mix can help you prevent yourself from going into a complete carb coma this holiday season.

4. Drink plenty of water

How many of you have played that holiday dinner game with your cousin where you compete to see who can eat the most plates of food?  If you have than you know the key is to eat quick and forget the liquids.  Don’t let your body realize how full it is!  This may win you the holiday eating contest award but it won’t help you with any of your health related goals.  You may find it a more effective strategy to enjoy yourself and simply eat until you are full.  Drinking a big glass of water prior to and with your meal can improve your feelings of satiety and thus lead to a lower caloric intake!

5. Plan out a low-carb dessert

The food temptations that come along with the holidays can be harder to deal with than that family member who constantly brings up politics at the dinner table.  While staying keto or low carb during this season is possible, we know that not all of you will want to choose this route.  However, there are certain measures that can be taken to minimize the damage.  Like planning out a low carb dessert for instance.  There is no shortage of keto/low carb dessert recipes out there and swapping out your holiday pie or Christmas cookie for one of these could drastically lower your sugar intake!  Check out some of our latest keto dessert recipes for some options!

6. Go for a walk after dinner

Going for a walk after your feast can be a great way to burn off some of those extra calories consumed at dinner and prevent you from sitting on the couch and watching The Christmas Story for the 9th time.  It might even make you feel better about that extra piece of pie you had.  Either way it is a much better option that giving in to the ensuing food coma and sleeping on the couch for the rest of the afternoon!  Even a quick 10-20 minute walk can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose.  Bundle up and take the pup with you!  They want the exercise too!

7. Fast the following day

We know that fasting can be a great tool for getting back into ketosis so whether you crushed all the carbs or simply over ate on keto foods, it is likely that you could do some good from a little calorie restriction!  Now, this isn’t meant to serve as a “punishment” tool because that kind of feast and punishment isn’t healthy mentally.  However, most of the time you will still feel full in the morning.  No need to eat some leftover cinnamon buns when you feel it might be better just to have some coffee, tea, or even some exogenous ketones to give you the energy to power through the morning into the early afternoon

Most importantly remember that the holiday season is a time to enjoy and celebrate with friends and family.  If there are certain foods that you have been craving or really miss having than it is okay to take this time to consume these foods guilt free.  Remember:  the stress and guilt you have from not consuming grandma’s cookies or your Aunt’s special recipe will cause way more issues on with your health than trying it.  Keep it in context.  Understand and go in with a plan and ENJOY.   Incorporate some or all of these tips to help you experience the best holiday yet.  Stay tuned for some New Year’s tips soon!

References:

  1. 1. Borghouts, L. B., & Keizer, H. A. (2000). Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review. International journal of sports medicine, 21(01), 1-12.

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