Even if you have fantastic willpower when it comes to resisting temptations, the holiday season is challenging for everyone. Staying on track can seem daunting with all the seasonal gatherings, you feel like diving face first into a tray of pumpkin flavored brownies and sending your eating and fitness routine off into a deep dark sleep until the New Year arrives.
But we all know the excess pounds don’t disappear the way the Christmas tree does when you leave it on the street for the garbage man to collect. So how can you avoid that pesky holiday season weight gain? Here are a few tips:
1. Start your day with exercise – This is tough for some depending on your work commute, if you have children, etc…but according to a study in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, exercising in the morning can promote better eating behavior all day long. People tend to move more all day, make better food choices and resist cravings for higher fat food items.
2. Avoid saving calories – I see so many people who tell me when they know they have a holiday party in the evening, they will eat nothing until the party or just eat vegetables until the party, as to “save” or “bank” the calories for later. Cutting back all day so you can indulge at night is going to set you up for a major pig out. You will be too starving to have any control! It is better off to eat your 3 regular meals with lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. That way you won’t go crazy at the party. Maybe you will be satisfied enough from your day that you will just have a few bites of the things you really want to indulge in.
3. Don’t forbid yourself from having dessert – Especially if it is something you love. Have a little of your favorite treats to avoid binging on them later from deprivation. Another healthy move would be to make your own, using some Kelapo coconut oil in your fudges, breads, and cookies instead of butter.
4. Specialize in healthy holiday recipes – This goes along with the previous rule. Classic holiday recipes can pack in some serious calories…and not the good ones either. Tons of sugar and refined carbohydrates, making you feel sluggish and tired after eating them. Crack open your holiday cookbooks or better yet, hop on the internet for some healthy substitutions to your favorite baked goods and side dishes. One way specifically to make your recipes healthier is to swap out coconut oil for shortening in your baking recipes. Coconut oil is a natural plant-based fat, which also supplies antioxidants similar to those found in berries, grapes, and dark chocolate. While high in saturated fat, newer research confirms that not all saturated fats are bad for you. Coconut oil contains a type called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized in a unique way. This good fat has actually been shown to up “good” HDL, reduce waist circumference, and increase calorie burning. For baking, substitute it one-for-one for shortening. It is delicious in fudge, pie crust, and chocolate chip cookies!