Holiday parties, dinners, and cocktails, oh my!
The holiday season is in full swing, there are sweets, alcohol, and no shortage of food.
Which, if you don’t have the tools, often translates into weight gain.
The last 3 months of the year are typically responsible for 100% of the weight gain we experience each year.
I have, however, discovered several strategies that will help you avoid the weight gain altogether.
These are easy hacks to help you prevent weight gain over the holidays…and if you play your cards right…maybe even lose weight this holiday season.
(How about that for some bragging rights!)
Strategy 1: Choose Fat over Sugar
The fact is we’ve all been duped by big food companies into thinking that “low fat” or “fat-free” products are healthier for us than their full fat equivalents.
We’ve been told eating fat makes us fat, that it ruins cholesterol, that it will give us a heart attack.
For those of you who have known me more than a minute know how much I love fat, and how much I despise sugar.
Eating fat is super nutritious, a stable, clean burning source of fuel, and your brain and body require and expect fat to heal, and to be healthy.
I know this may go against what you may have thought was true.
Trust the doctor on this one.
When you examine the data, you will quickly notice that big food companies, with lots of marketing dollars, want you to purchase their cheaply produced, nutrient devoid sugary foods so they can make a profit off your health.
The health benefits of eating a high fat diet are too numerous to include here, but if I were to take in a deep breath and quickly list them…..
Improves insulin sensitivity
Improves cholesterol markers of HDL and LDLs
Is a stable clean burning source of fuel
Great for your brain, spine, and joints
Aids in weight loss
Keeps you fuller, longer
Excellent in helping energy production
So in terms of choosing fat during the holidays – say yes to the skin of the turkey, choose fatty cuts of meat, enjoy the delicious baked brie, the deviled eggs, green beans in butter, and anything wrapped in bacon.
You get the picture.
Eating a high fat, low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet is an excellent tool for weight loss, and a great strategy to make the process of weight loss easy.
You don’t have to be starving or work out endlessly to come into balance and lose weight.
In fact it is one of the most common incorrect myths about weight loss – you do NOT need to eat less to lose weight.
Fat trumps sugar. All day err day.
Strategy 2: Vodka on the Rocks, Please
The alcohol conundrum.
How can you go to a holiday party and NOT drink?
First things first – let’s just change the story up here – you can totally go to a party and not have alcohol.
You are enough and you don’t need to be tipsy to have a good time.
Perhaps an article for another time.
The biggest problem with drinking alcohol is how easily it is metabolized as sugar.
If your body is receiving sugar via the alcohol, your insulin levels rise, and this automatically puts you in ‘fat storing’ mode.
There are 2 modes of the body when it comes to fat: you are either burning fat, or you are storing it.
Just like you can only walk forwards or backwards at any given time. You cannot be doing both.
If you can’t burn fat, you are storing fat.
Alcohol puts you in fat storing mode. So if you can avoid alcohol, please do.
Or, you can do what I did when I was pregnant (and wasn’t announcing it yet) – order water in a martini or vodka glass, add olives, a twist of lime…and voila – the secret every first trimester woman has been using for years.
If it is inevitable and you simply MUST consume alcohol, opt for cleaner-burning options like vodka, whiskey, rum, or tequila.
They all have a much lower carbohydrate load (aka ‘less sugar’), many with a net carb of 0g.
Avoid mixer drinks, wine, and liqueurs all together. They are just sugar in water. Designed to make you sick, tired, and overweight.
Strategy 3: Do You Even Ferment, Bro?
Want to help with belly bloating, gas, indigestion, and tummy aches after feasting?
Have a portion of fermented foods 30 minutes beforehand.
My go to favourite is sauerkraut.
Other great choices are pickles, kimchi, unsweetened kombucha, and kefir.
These foods have loads of probiotics and will help digest and extract nutrients from your meal without the belly discomfort.
Strategy 4: Soup Nazi’s Nemesis – MORE Soup For You!
Here’s the scenario…
The event you’re going to will only offer sugary, carb rich foods (i.e., most of them – fattier foods are typically more expensive), there are no low carb alcohol options, and you just ran out of kimchi at home.
I’ve still got a hack for you – soup.
I love to make soup (usually a high fat, mushroom soup with a bone broth base) and drink it 30-60 minutes before heading out.
The volumetric changes in the stomach, along with the fat content, will affect the satiety centers in the brain that will help you feel full, thereby reducing the desire to eat at the event.
Less sugar consumed means less weight gain.
It is sugar that is truly the culprit with most weight issues.
Strategy 5: The “Day After” Fast
Course correct the indulgent feast with a 24 hour fast the next day.
We are always going to feast around this time of year (as we should – spending time with family and friends and enjoying food together is one of the greatest joys in life).
The beautiful thing is we can always pair a ‘feast’ with a ‘fast’ following the indulgence.
So let’s say you eat waaaayyy too much at Christmas dinner.
Simply make your next meal dinner on Boxing Day. Skip breakfast and lunch and voila, you’ve completed a 24 hour fast.
Still feeling full? Do it again the next day – a dinner to dinner fast.
Allowing your digestive system a break will allow you to actually use the calories you ate, and not have them stored.
Apply this as well to excess alcohol and at any point during the holidays (after Hannaukah ends, Boxing day, New Years day, and the day after the office holiday party).
But pair it with a fast as a necessity afterwards.
Case in point – I just hosted a friendsmas party (Christmas with friends…”friendsmas”…clever, right?!) at my place last night.
(The photo above was our spread of food in the dining room).
I nibbled mainly on my high fat preferred antipasti like salami, mortadella, and olives. I also sampled (and enjoyed) baked chips, and chocolate.
Today, as I write this, I am choosing a 24-hour fast.
I’m enjoying lots of water, and a cup of bulletproof coffee.
Depending on how I feel, I may continue the fast tomorrow.
The lovely thing about training yourself to fast is it allows you to check in with yourself and how you’re feeling.
I broke bread with people I love and cherish last night.
I will not give that up… because that is life – spending time with people you love. I want to create memories with people – not count calories or beat myself up.
Today I will allow my body to make use of the calories I ate with a fast.
(To learn more about the awesome benefits of fasting, check out this in-depth article I wrote)
So there you go — my 5 favourite ways to avoid weight gain over the holidays.
Want my Quickstart Guide to fasting?
I’d love to give you some more support on your “day after” fast. Grab my fasting checklist below.