Celebration. Family. Food. Health?
During the holidays, millions of families join together to celebrate their annual traditions. Oftentimes, habits of health subside as many enjoy the pleasures of large amounts of food, alcohol, desserts, and other indulgences. These nutritional choices can directly accumulate excess body fat and create a struggle to regain a healthy physique. With the right mindset and a few eating strategies, a person can avoid the usual weight gain while still enjoying their food and drinks.
1. Eat Before The Big Meal.
Don’t neglect breakfast. Regardless of the assumed size of dinner, make sure breakfast is consumed. Breaking a feeding routine creates cravings and can affect your metabolism. A slower metabolism means that the large amount of food consumed during the upcoming dinner is mostly stored instead of being burned for the body’s maintenance requirements. Try having a small meal earlier in the day that contains a healthy amount of fiber. Fiber will keep your metabolism active during the digestion process, which will keep you satisfied until the big meal. You’ll still be able to enjoy your holiday meals, but you will have better control over your cravings.
2. Don’t Munch.
It’s tempting to pass the time during holidays by taking a handful of some small treats that precede the big meal. The M&M’s on the coffee table and the jelly beans on the counter may seem harmless, but rest assured that these bite-size candies are almost all sugar based and will create an insulin resistance response. Keeping insulin levels low in the body will keep the brain aware of the amount of food needed in the body, not craved. If hunger is an issue, find a jar of nuts. This will keep the body satisfied before the main meal (and nuts contain fiber, too!).
3. Make Sure You Eat Your Protein.
A person can never get enough protein. Besides being the Mecca of food choices, this amino-acid provider helps keep the immune system strong, the muscles repaired, the insulin levels controlled, and the body’s metabolism elevated. Consider this the necessary food(s) to consume before all the indulgences.
4. Always Finish Your Veggies.
Along with the proteins, ensure the dinner plate has some vegetables to help assist with the proteins’ absorption. The various vitamins and minerals within the veggies will aid in digestion of this typically-large meal. These greens will also keep the body satisfied due to the presence of fiber. It’s easy—just choose your first bites of the main meal as protein and vegetables and rest assured that there won’t be any weight gain afterwards.
5. Sneak In One Exercise.
Exercise for 90 seconds before and after the meal to control the damage from the dinner. Head into an empty room and perform a bodyweight exercise for 90 seconds. Squats are always the simplest and don’t require any set-up or equipment. Just a simple calisthenics exercise can drastically improve your metabolism for the big meal. It’s that simple.
6. Hydrate Often.
All the butter, salt, and spices used to prepare the foods will make digestion challenging. Regardless of your drink choices, include two full glasses of water during the meal to flush out the byproducts and prevent the unhealthy foods from being stored. Keep drinking water into the evening and especially the next day to ensure proper hydration and weight management.
Mike Clancy (B.S., C.S.C.S. Pn1) is a well-respected educator in health and fitness communities. As a native Rhode Islander, Mike became one of the most demanded trainers in New York City. His audience grew from his initial entry into the fitness industry in Tampa, FL to his hometown crowd of Providence, RI and eventually into the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Mike designed the popular outdoor exercise series Runyon Strong in Los Angeles and recently launched his fitness concierge service FitLink in luxury hotels in NYC and LA.