Want to know how to lose weight during the holidays?
The food temptations of the holiday season are inevitable. It usually starts with the Halloween candy rush all the way through popping champagne bottles on New Year’s Eve.
We have multiple Christmas parties, family dinners, gift shopping at the mall, office gatherings, your dog’s birthday, etc.
There’s simply no escaping it.
And then you’re left with the aftermath. If you’re not careful, you’re gonna find yourself picking up the pieces of all the hard work you’ve put in over the course of the year.
Worst case scenario, you’re back to square one.
They say that the average persons gains around a pound over the holiday season. In my opinion, that’s definitely on the conservative side of things.
But don’t fret!
Through years of trial and error, I’ve compiled 10 easy to follow strategies and diet hacks to make sure your waistline doesn’t get out of hand during the holiday season.
Why? Because giving up delicious food isn’t an option. Nobody likes the guy who alienates himself from the crowd by eating his green salad with no dressing.
You’re not a rabbit. That’s now way to live life.
There is however a way to approach the holidays without sabotaging your diet and throwing away all your hard work.
Learn how to lose weight during holidays and still have fun by following these 10 simple yet extremely effective diet hacks.
How To Lose Weight During Holidays
1. Get quality sleep
This is where it all starts.
If you want to be health and happy human being, this should be right near the top of your priority list.
During the holidays, set yourself up for success by getting a good night’s rest the night before a Christmas party. Ideally, you want to get at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep in a pitch black room.
Studies show that lack of sleep is directly tied to having a lack of willpower. Because sleep deprivation directly affects the amygdala which is the reward centre of our brain.
It also affects important fat loss hormones like leptin which is the hormone that signals our body that we’re full. It also affects ghrelin which is our hunger hormone. As well as cortisol, our stress hormone, and insulin which is just the hormone that control our body weight.
Long story short, if we’re sleep deprived, more likely than not that’s when we resort to the “see-food” diet. We see food, we eat it.
If you’re at a party where the food is served buffet, that’s a recipe for disaster.
We tend to grab bigger portions and go for those highly processed sugary foods when we’re sleep deprived.
Some studies show that we eat as much as 300 extra calories the next day when we don’t get enough sleep.
This makes sense. Nobody wakes up from a weekend bender and say they crave broccoli. No. We usually crave the worst kind of food.
Do that enough times and you’re gonna find your pants start to fit a little bit tighter sooner rather than later.
Do yourself a favour and skip that extra episode on Netflix and hit the sack early. Starting tonight.
2. Be Picky
You’ll often find yourself at a potluck or a buffet table during the holidays.
This is where mindful and eating comes into play. The problem is, this is usually also the time when all commons goes out the window for a lot of people.
People just go YOLO and let themselves go because ’tis the season. Don’t do that to yourself. You’re better than that. The holiday season isn’t a green light to just let yourself go.
So pick wisely when it’s your turn at the buffet table. Go for the good stuff first.
For example, go for the broth-based soup instead of the cream-based alternative. When snacking on vegetables, skip the creamy ranch dip and go for hummus instead.
Want to go the extra mile? Bring your own healthy dish.
You can’t always control what gets brought to a pot luck party. The solution?
Bring your favourite healthy dish to make sure that there’s something you can enjoy guilt free.
3. Follow the 50/25/25 rule
Using this rule is one of the best ways to prevent overeating.
At the very least, half your plate should be filled with vegetables. While the other half should be an even split of protein and carbs. That way, you still get to enjoy yourself while keeping the calories under control.
Want to go the extra mile? Use smaller plates and utensils.
Serve yourself with a table spoon or even a teaspoon instead of a giant sized serving spoon.
Why? Because the average number of calories eaten at a holiday dinner is a mind blowing 3,000. That doesn’t count your pre-dinner snacks and drinks.
You can even take it a step further and cut your calories by as much as 40% by using a dessert plate when grabbing food from the buffet table.
Perspective is everything when it comes to food. The more room you have on your plate, the more likely you are to fill it. That’s how your brain works.
When eating dessert, use a smaller scoop if it’s available. We eat almost twice as much ice cream when we use a three-ounce scoop versus its smaller counterpart. It’s all about the little things.
4. Don’t Hover
Why? If it’s within an arms reach, you’re probably gonna go for it.
After you fill up your plate at a potluck party, do yourself a favour and walk away from the table so you’re not tempted to go for seconds and even thirds.
If you’re on the other side of the room, away from all the food, you’re less likely to mindlessly snack directly from the table. Out of sight, out of mind.
Because we all know that one person who sets up shop near the buffet table and just goes to town.
Don’t be that guy.
5. Account for things
We all want it.
The next person that tells me that they don’t like dessert would be the first.
Plan to leave some room for your favourite treat instead of always saying, “There’s always room for dessert!” after you’ve already stuffed yourself with turkey stuffing.
I love dessert just as much as the next guy. I would hate to miss out on the opportunity to enjoy cheesecake, cookies, or ice-cream at a party. So I actually make a point to leave some calorie wiggle room for it.
I like the 20% rule when it comes to this.
Serve yourself 20% less than you normally would during the main course. Especially when it comes to starchy food. Trust me, you’ll barely notice it.
When it comes to vegetables, think 20% more. Again, this is when that all important 50/25/25 rules come into play.
Skip the extra beer or the spiced rum and eggnog.
That way, you can account and still enjoy your favourite treats without letting your calorie count skyrocket.
6. Water is your best friend
They say that buying groceries when you’re hungry is a bad idea because you end up buying anything and everything in sight.
Going to a dinner party while you’re starving is basically the same because your eyes are usually bigger than your appetite.
Making sure you’re properly hydrated is the first step to prevent yourself from overeating.
Before you get in the food festivities, try to drink a glass of water or two. You can even drink tea or coffee.
Your mind sometimes can’t tell the difference whether you’re actually hungry or just thirsty. Staying properly hydrated takes care of this problem.
Better yet, have a small healthy meal before the festivities so you can make sensible food choices.
7. Take some for the road
If your dinner plate looks like it could feed a small village, it might not be a good idea to finish it.
Here’s how our brain processes food. The first few bites are usually the best. After that, our taste buds don’t register the same flavours.
We just resort to what we’re always conditioned to do – we mindlessly finish the food in front of us no matter how big the portion is. It doesn’t matter that we’re already stuffed.
The thing is, you don’t always have to. Again, mindful eating is the name of the game. It’s not worth the extra calories.
Do yourself a favour and take the leftovers home so you have lunch the next day.
8. Liquid calories count BIG time
If you’ve been following my channel, you should know how I feel about liquid calories.
It is easily one of the most insidious ways to sabotage your weight loss progress.
If you’re from North America, holiday season also means eggnog season.
I mean, who doesn’t love it? It’s like Christmas in a glass!
However, if you pay attention to its nutritional facts, and you always should. It has a mind blowing 343 calories and 21 grams of sugar per cup.
The problem is, nobody just drinks one cup of this stuff. You take one sip of it, and your brain lights up like a Christmas tree. You just want more.
Going back to tip #5, just make sure you plan ahead and account for it if you plan on indulging a little.
Better yet, go the extra mile: Pour the eggnog or any drink in general into a tall, skinny glass. Not the short, wide opening kind.
Studies have shown that you’re more likely to serve yourself as much as 30% more when using the latter. That’s huge.
Also, an easy way to keep track of your liquid calories is to keep visual evidence of what you’ve consumed. Leave your empty glasses or empty bottle of wine or beer in sight.
Trust me, you’ll be less tempted to drink more.
9. Keep up with your workouts
I get it.
You have all your Christmas shopping, office parties, family dinners, bake sale, etc. that you need to take care of. Having said that, you still need to make sure that you take the time to take care of yourself.
You need to keep doing everything that got you to the dance. Don’t just stop working out and start over in the New Year.
After all, you still need to give your body a reason to burn off those holiday treats.
Exercise is one of the best ways to empty out your glycogen stores. Otherwise, all those treats are gonna be stored as fat much faster.
10. Make a list
Heck, even Santa makes a list.
When you go to the mall, write down the stores you need to go to and stick to them. If you start wandering aimlessly, that’s when temptations start to kick in.
Also, if you can help it, plan your shopping route so you don’t pass that ever-so-tempting cookie stand multiple times.
Let me ask you this. How many times have you caught yourself walking around the mall and the smell of fresh baked cookies or cinnamon buns all of a sudden just punches you in the face?
That’s how they lure you. It also doesn’t help when they give away free samples. Do yourself a favour and just say no. Walk away.
Let’s be honest. You’ve said yes to the free sample before. You think to yourself, “What’s the harm? It’s just one bite.”
We’re all guilty of this. Next thing you know, you’re buying a half dozen to take home with you.
Notice how these dessert places are completely separate from the main food court?
That way, they don’t have any competition when it comes to luring you in their direct once you get a whiff of those treats.
Whatever you do, don’t go to the mall on an empty stomach. It just makes it harder to say no to these temptations. It’s basically torture.
And if you’re sleep deprived, you almost have no chance to resist.
How To Lose Weight During Holidays BONUS Tip
11. Keep your numbers in check
Every fitness “expert” or guru out there will tell you not to weigh yourself and to not let the number on the scale dictate how you feel.
I agree. That number shouldn’t define you.
At the same time, knowing your numbers is an unbelievably effective way to keep yourself accountable.
You can’t control what you can’t measure.
Some people are against weighing themselves daily. I get it. But, numbers don’t lie. It’s really about how your perceive it.
The way I look at it, it basically becomes your personal accountability coach.
There are consequences if you go off track because you have to face the music the next day when you weight yourself.
Maybe you go for red wine, a 5oz glass which is a standard serving has approximately 100 calories, instead of the rum and eggnog. Again, 1 cup has 343 calories and 21 grams of added sugar.
Maybe you don’t go for seconds at the buffet table.
The biggest takeaway if you want to know how to lose weight during holidays is be sensible about your decisions.
Choose your indulgences wisely during this festive season. I’m not saying not to enjoy yourself. Life happens. I get it.
You should be able to go to a party and enjoy what you eat. Just make sure you plan accordingly because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Again, keep doing everything that got you to the dance.
Everybody loves to act like Santa Claus when it comes to giving presents during the holidays.
But it doesn’t mean that you have to look like him in the process.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
Need More Help?
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