Don’t be part of this statistic.
Studies show that the average persons gains anywhere between one and a half to five pounds over the holiday season. I’m talking specifically about the 6-week stretch between Thanksgiving and New year’s Eve in the US.
If you’ve been liberal on your halloween candy consumption, then it turns into a 9-week stretch. In either case, we’re now right in the thick of it.
So in this video, I’m gonna give you 10 easy to follow strategies and hacks to make sure that all your hard work doesn’t go down the drain during the holiday season.
As always, we’re gonna come at it from a multifaceted approach so you can give yourself the best possible chance for success.
Why? Because giving up delicious food isn’t an option. If your diet doesn’t allow for the occasional and seasonal indulgence, you need a new diet.
There is however a way to approach the holidays without sabotaging yourself and throwing away all your hard work.
How To NOT Gain Weight During The Holidays
1. Get some sleep
Your success rate begins and ends with sleep. If you don’t get this part right, you’re gonna need divine intervention.
If you want to be a healthy and happy human being, this should be right near the top of your priority list no matter the season.
But especially during the holidays, set yourself up for success by getting a good night’s rest the night before a party. Ideally, you want to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep.
Studies show that lack of sleep is directly tied to having a lack of willpower. People who are sleep deprived tend to eat as much as 400 to 500 calories more the next day.
Sleep deprivation affects important fat loss hormones like a 15% decrease in leptin which is the hormone that signals your body that you’re full.
It also increase ghrelin by 15% which is your hunger hormone. That’s a 30% swing right there.
Sleep deprivation also affects the stress hormone cortisol, and the storing hormone insulin.
Long story short, not getting adequate and quality sleep moves every health metric in the wrong direction. You’re going against your physiology and your physiology will always win.
Basically, you’re just a hot mess when you’re sleep deprived. But you already know that.
Nobody wakes up from a weekend bender for example and say they crave hard boiled eggs and cauliflower. No. We usually crave the worst kind of food.
So if you find yourself at a party where the food is served buffet style, that’s a recipe for disaster.
More likely than not, you’re gonna grab bigger portions and you’re gonna gorge on treats.
Do yourself a favour. Get some sleep. Starting tonight.
By the way, a really effective way to improve the quality of your sleep is by wearing a sleep mask. Because most people have unnecessary junk light in their room.
I also recently picked up the habit of mouth taping which forces me to breathe through my nose while I’m sleeping.
A lot of people are mouth breathers and suffer from sleep apnea. Taping your mouth is literally the cheapest hack for better sleep.
If you have an extra couple of bucks, you can invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter for your room. You can get a decent unit for less than $100 on Amazon.
Studies have shown that the air quality inside your house can be eight times worse than the air quality outdoors. Especially if you have pets that go in and out of your house.
If you have allergies, investing in an air purifier could be a game changer for you. You’re welcome.
2. Practice sensible eating
I’m a big proponent of scheduling an optional “cheat” meal or two every week, depending where you’re at with your goals and your activity level.
Again, you’ll often find yourself at a potluck or a buffet table during the holiday season. This is where sensible eating comes into play.
The problem is, if you don’t have a good relationship with food and have a scarcity mindset around it, this is usually also the time when all common sense goes out the window for a lot of people.
People just let themselves go during the holidays. Don’t do that to yourself. This isn’t a give an inch, take a mile scenario.
The holiday season isn’t a green light to just let yourself go and start over again January 1st. That’s lame. That start and stop strategy is the worst way to go about this.
You wanna be in it for the long haul. This is a lifestyle.
So choose wisely when it’s your turn at the buffet table. Nobody ever got fat from eating a slice of pizza and a piece of cake. It’s when you end up devouring the whole box where it becomes a problem.
3. Follow the 50/25/25 rule
I rarely ever count calories these days. I’m definitely not gonna start doing it at a holiday party. Instead, I use the 50/25/25 rule. It just takes the guessing game out of your meals and diet in general.
At the very least, half your plate should be filled with vegetables. Preferably, the non starchy variety.
While the other half should be an even split of protein and carbs. That’s it. That way, you still get to enjoy yourself while keeping calories and portion sizes under control, without having to track it.
Pro tip. This is what I’ve been doing for years and it’s such an effective hack for portion control. Use a smaller plate.
Why? Because the average number of calories eaten at a holiday dinner is 3,000 calories. That doesn’t count include drinks. For context, the average man consumes 2000-3000 calories for the day.
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.
These are the little things that nobody talks about that add up to big results over time.
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.
For example, there’s a world of difference between the amount of food I can fit between these two plates.
4. Use the 80% rule
I love dessert just as much as the next guy. It’s actually my weakness. I would hate to miss out on the opportunity to enjoy cheesecake, cookies, or ice-cream at a party.
I’ve never had a cookie I didn’t like. So I actually make a point to leave some wiggle room for it.
I love using the 80% rule when it comes to this. The Japanese have a term for this called “hara hachi bun me.” They purposely stop eating when they’re 80% full.
That way, you can account and still enjoy your favourite treats without letting your calorie count skyrocket. But again, who’s counting?
5. Be mindful of your liquid calories
Over consuming liquid calories is easily one of the most insidious ways to sabotage your weight loss progress. The problem is, a lot of people seem forget to account for them.
A cup of eggnog for example has a mind blowing 34 grams of sugar per cup.
The problem is, people rarely just drink one cup. You take one sip, and your brain lights up like a Christmas tree. It’s basically Christmas in a cup. You just want more.
I’m not saying you can’t have it. Nothing is completely off the table. Just make sure you’re mindful if you plan on indulging a little. One cup? No problem.
Better yet, go the extra mile and apply the smaller plate concept: 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. Which means you’re automatically consuming 30% less sugar by using a skinny glass.
6. Practice intermittent fasting
I have talked ad nauseam about the benefits of intermittent fasting on my channel.
But during the holiday season, intermittent fasting might just be one of your best tools to stay on track.
For example, if you know that you have a dinner event and you wanna be able to indulge a little bit, maybe you should skip breakfast or even do OMAD and save your one meal that night.
More likely than not, whenever I do that, I usually end up losing weight when I hop on the scale the next day.
An advanced strategy you can also use is by breaking your fast and have a small healthy meal before the festivities. That way, you can make sensible food choices and you’re not this ravenous beast that just wants to eat everything in sight.
7. Double down and do intermittent fasting the day after
This might be a bit of a grey area for some people. So, hear me out. It really depends how you frame fasting in your head.
This isn’t a punishment. You’re just taking advantage of all the not so perfect food you had the day before.
There’s a very real chance that you put yourself on a calorie surplus. Which means that your liver and glycogen stores are full. You’re almost most likely carrying some extra water weight.
Technically speaking, you also have tens of thousands of calories in the form of body fat waiting to be used.
What I’m trying to say is it’s perfectly fine if you skip breakfast or even lunch the next day. Don’t think of it as a punishment.
You have plenty of stored energy waiting to be used. If you’ve been following my channel and you’re metabolically flexible, your body is just gonna tap into that stored energy when you skip a meal. If you don’t know what metabolic flexibility is, make sure to stick around until the end.
Next, if you wanna drain your glycogen stores and get into fat burning even faster, keep up with your workouts.
8. Keep up with your workouts
The holiday season is a busy time for a lot of people. I get it.
You have all your gift shopping, office parties, family dinners, and other events 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.
Part of that is making sure you’re still honouring your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. Like I said, this isn’t about starting, stopping, and starting again when it’s convenient for you.
Because you can bet that something is always gonna come up. That’s just how life works.
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 and excess water weight. Otherwise, all those treats are gonna be stored as fat much faster.
If anything, you need to double down on resistance training to build and maintain muscle. It’s the great equalizer. The more muscle you have, the more you get to eat. It’s what pays for the dance.
9. Keep yourself accountable
A lot of “influencers” out there will tell you not to weigh yourself and to not let the number on the scale dictate your sense of self worth.
I agree. That number shouldn’t define you.
The problem is, the woke crowd has taken that idea and have ran away with it. Now, they proclaim health at every size.
It’s usually led by people that just doesn’t wanna try anymore. So they just let themselves go and try to drag as many people down with them as possible. Which is just wrong. There’s nothing healthy about being overweight or obese.
You can absolutely love yourself. And I’m a big proponent of making sure you have a good relationship with yourself. Because if you do love yourself, you’ll realize that you’ll feel much better and have better quality of life if you’re at a healthier weight. That’s just the reality of it.
That’s why knowing your numbers is an unbelievably effective way to keep yourself accountable. Because you can’t control what you can’t measure.
Some people are against weighing themselves daily. I get it. But, numbers don’t lie. Personally, I’ve been weighing myself every day since I was 20.
Kinda like practicing intermittent fasting the day after a cheat meal, it’s really about how your perceive it.
The way I look at it, weighing yourself basically becomes your personal accountability coach.
There are consequences if you go way off track because you have to face the music when you weigh yourself the next day.
Maybe you go for a glass of dry red wine which has little to no sugar, instead of the rum and eggnog. Again, 1 cup has 34 grams of sugar. For context, a can of coke has 39 grams of sugar.
Maybe you don’t go for seconds at the buffet table and honour “hara hachi bun me.”
Choose your indulgences wisely. I’m not saying not to enjoy yourself. You should be able to go to a party and enjoy what you eat. To me, that’s part of living your highest quality of life.
10. Lastly, set realistic expectations.
This is so important. The goal should be to just to maintain your results and do damage control. If you can just maintain, I’m gonna consider that a win.
Also, try to do everything in your power to not miss twice. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.
Again, keep doing everything that got you to the dance.
And don’t obsess over what happens over this 6-week stretch. In a perfect world, you would’ve ideally already done the work over the past 46 weeks.
If not, you have the next 46 weeks to become a better version of yourself.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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