Tips for keeping the weight off during the holidays

The holidays can be a joyous time spent with family and friends without the stress of worrying about work.  These gatherings are bound to be included with loaded meals, particularly cheater foods that are high in calories and carbs without much nutritional value such as cakes and cookies.  Such temptations are unavoidable for many, but is there a way to keep it clean during the most wonderful time of the year?  The following are some of the methods I use to stave off putting on fat during the holidays.



Hit the free weights

This should be a no-brainer for us avid gym-goers.  Don't miss you workouts, and you can even increase their intensity, sets, and duration since you likely have more time without needing to be at work.  As always, go for the heavy compound lifts that incorporate various muscle groups like bench press, deadlifts, and squats (unfortunately), which will not only help you build more overall strength, but also burn more calories.



Cardio

Yes, we all hate cardio.  But cardio does have its benefits, including cardiovascular endurance, improved overall fitness, and, of course, calorie burning.  For those of you like me who can't stand steady state cardio on the treadmill or elliptical, consider HIIT on spin bikes or with battle ropes.  You can also incorporate functional training like burpees, lunges, pull ups, and push ups, which will be bound to elevate your heart rate when performed back to back with little to no rest.



Go heavy on the protein dishes

Holiday meals often come with protein dishes, such as steak, turkey, and seafoods.  Not only is protein absolutely essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, it has a satiating effect that makes you feel and keeps you full.  The same cannot be said for simple carbs, which never seem to satisfy your hunger despite downing thousands of calories of sweets.  Protein consumption also creates an increased thermogenic effect on your body in the digestion process, so you end up absorbing just 70-80% of the total calories instead of ~98% when it comes to foods high in fat.  So before considering the junk food, always fill your stomach first with lean proteins such as organic chicken breasts, tuna, and shellfish.  Eating a pound of chicken breasts will keep you much fuller than a pound of cookies, and it'll likely contain 1/10th the calories while providing your muscles with important protein.




Veggies, veggies, and more veggies

Yes, we've all heard it since our youth: eat your broccoli!  This saying should be lived by for your entire life.  Vegetables are not only high in essential vitamins, but also provide a similar satiating effect as protein, and is the least calorie-dense food.  If you go after the vegetables and protein dishes first, you'll no only fulfill the most important macros for your body, but also keep yourself too full to even think about dessert.  The term "there's always room for dessert" should be modified to "there's never room for dessert!"



Cook!

Your families and friends will likely take turns cooking during the holidays, with the main chefs probably being the ones who can cook the most delicious meals that can also unfortunately be one of the least healthy.  But contributing to the kitchen allows you to create clean dishes as you are in control of what goes into your food.  It might not taste better than that butter pecan cake, but your physique will thank you for it.



Be creative

The holidays should be a time of fun and creativity.  If you're tasked with providing the cake, you can try making a stevia-sweetened angel food cake with 12 egg whites high in protein.  If you're making cookies, considering using almond or lupin flour and once again using stevia or monkfruit extract instead of sugar.  And if you're bringing the snacks, instead of buying a Costco-sized bag of deep-fried potato chips, get baked snap peas or cauliflower crackers, which can be just as satisfying while carrying significantly less calories and more nutrients.



Bottom line

The holidays are a joyous and festive time, and you should definitely be able to enjoy the time and the food that you have with your family and friends.  There are ways to mitigate the temptation of all these cheater foods that come your way, and be sure to at least maintain your normal workout routine or take it into overdrive, which can be done as you're likely adding excess calories into your diet during the most wonderful time of the year.  Oh, and don't forget to revert back to your protein-rich diet post-holidays!


Happy Holidays from all of us from Flying for Fitness!  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!


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