10 Tips for a Healthy Holiday
By Kate Horney
Feeling joyful is what this season is all about! This includes the joy that comes from finally figuring out how to make the fat loss lifestyle work for you, even with the hustle and bustle (and stress) of the holiday festivities!
Instead of letting the holidays take over our schedules and our waist-bands (hello, feasting season!), let’s take a different approach and make this the season of a happy, healthy holiday.
Here are 10 tips to keep you on track for a HEALTHY HOLIDAY:
- Prioritize Protein – Eat a high-quality protein source at every meal. Protein satisfies hunger, balances cravings, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and is very beneficial for fat burning. Protein contains amino acids, which are crucial to our bodies’ ability to build and maintain muscle, and it releases the fat-burning hormone glucagon. Getting a quality source of protein at every meal may sound basic, but it’s key to boosting your metabolism and building lean muscle mass. Remember, increased muscle = increased metabolic potential.
- Fill Up on Produce – In addition to protein, make sure you’re focusing on filling up your plate with produce. At BeyondFit, we call protein and produce the 2 Ps. You can eat a lot more veggies and fruits (for the same amount of calories) than you can starchy carbohydrates. Vegetables and low sugar fruits provide your body with the fiber it needs to feel full, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition, most produce is low on the glycemic index and won’t spike blood sugar and put your body into storage mode like starchy carbs.
- Be a Beverage Snob – Hydration is key for fat loss, so…eliminate caloric beverages and drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day. Dehydration takes away from your exercise performance and leads to fatigue and increased cortisol levels. In addition, if you don’t drink enough water, your body will hold on to it. Think of water as your fat-flushing tool. If your urine is clear, you’re drinking enough water.
- Don’t Skip Meals – It’s important to keep fuel coming in all day long in order to keep blood sugar stable and to balance your hunger, energy, and cravings. When you skip meals, you not only increase your likelihood of storing fat, but you also put yourself in a situation where you’re starving and struggling to make healthy food choices. We’ve all been there – you’re so hungry that you find yourself at the mercy of your growling stomach and raging hunger hormones and end up overeating, increasing the likelihood of storing, rather than burning fat. And this leads me to tip 5…
- Be Prepared – There are a couple of easy ways for you to stay prepared during the holiday season. First, stock your fridge with plenty of pre-cut veggies to snack on as you prep. Veggies are full of fiber and water which is the perfect combo to keep you feeling full. Secondly, make sure you have some quick and easy protein sources on hand. And for times when you’re super busy preparing for the big day, a protein shake or a quick bar are great options to stave off hunger (and avoid an all-out binge later). Lastly, don’t forget to be prepared for a good game of “dessert defense.” Click here to check out a few of my favorite cleaned-up dessert recipes that are perfect for this time of year. Make these fat-loss friendly treats ahead of time to have on hand when a sweet-tooth craving strikes.
- Start a New Healthy Tradition – Ditch the “tradition” of serving a fattening feast for the holiday season. Why not start a NEW tradition and give your family and friends the gift of health? If you’re hosting, you have control of the menu, so serve a few of the classics without the fat-storing overload! Remember, starch + fat = the worst combination for fat storing. Instead of using Aunt Betty’s sugar-and-fat-laden pumpkin pie recipe, how about some Crustless Pumpkin Pie? And instead of mashed potatoes (starch!) with butter and heavy cream (fat!), try mashed cauliflower (fiber!).
- Feast in Order – When it comes to the fat-loss friendly feasts, remember: eat your veggies first, protein second, and starch last. Instead of serving the rolls FIRST, enjoy them as the LAST part of your meal, but only if you’re still hungry. By eating your vegetables and protein before you eat the starch, you’ll feel satisfaction from your food more quickly, you’ll eat less, and you’ll experience less of a negative hormonal response.
- Workout with Weights – Engage in resistance training a minimum of 2-3 times per week, even during the craziness of the holidays. Adding weights to your workouts isn’t just for people who want to gain muscle. While traditional aerobic training may burn calories during your workout, this type of training does little to improve your metabolic potential. On the other hand, weight training creates the best hormonal environment for fat burning (belly fat included), because it stimulates the production of testosterone and human growth hormone, two incredibly powerful fat-burning hormones that help you burn belly fat both during your workout and long after it’s over. Don’t have weights to use? No problem! Try some BODYWEIGHT exercises like planks, bodyweight squats, and lunges.
- Kill Cravings – I haven’t met many moms who don’t struggle with cravings. I have a major sweet tooth, so when a craving hits, I mix one tablespoon of cocoa with hot water and drink it like hot cocoa. You can sweeten with stevia if desired. Not only has cocoa been shown to improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure, but it’s full of antioxidants and kills hunger! Cocoa is also a rich source of many nutritive minerals, most importantly magnesium, which is the number one depleted micronutrient when you are under stress (and you know the holidays can be stressful.) It also increases focus and energy, and who doesn’t need THAT during the holidays!
- Remember Your Priorities – The holidays can be busy, and your schedule may be packed with parties, family, and food, but when you’re tempted and feel like you “don’t have time” to be healthy, remember that when we say “I don’t have time” what we’re really saying is that our health and fitness goals are not top priorities. Starting today, you are no longer allowed to use the words, “I don’t have time.” Instead, I want you to say, “It’s not a priority.” Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently. It’s not what you say that’s important, it’s what you DO! It’s amazing how much time you can find for the things that are important to you when you minimize the things that aren’t.
I’m a little concerned about Santa’s health this holiday season….
Amidst the hustle and the bustle of the season, it seems that Santa has forgotten the fundamentals of proper health, fitness, and fat loss.
Are you guilty of the making the same mistakes Santa makes? Click here to find out!
Don’t wait until the New Year to decide to make your health a priority. Join the BeyondFit Life Club today for instant access to fat burning workouts and fat loss recipes!