5 Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Let’s be honest.

You aren’t going to bring dry chicken boob and broccoli to that holiday party.

Nor am I.

But even if you did, you’d eventually cave and dive head first into the nearest dessert tray.

So, instead of trying to be hardcore and setting yourself up for failure, plan for the binge… with some restrictions.

Here are 5 rules to avoid massive holiday weight gain.

Rule #1:  Eat sparingly leading up to the party.

After dinner the night prior, until at least noon the day of, I’d suggest taking in no calories – just water and plain coffee.

This 16+ hour fast gives you a large calorie deficit to work with.

To give you a visual, the ditch is dug deeper so you can overcompensate later and still break even at the end of the day.

It seems rough, but you’re sleeping for a good part of it and coffee can curb your appetite to get through the morning.

Then, the meals leading up to dinner are light on carbs.

Think lean ground beef and a salad with olive oil at lunch.

Two food choices which always fill you up nicely are lean protein and fibrous veggies. So focus on those two leading up to the party.

Rule #2: Don’t abandon exercise

Don’t pair your holiday calorie binge with inactivity.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, commit to working out on the day of your holiday party.

Of course, I prefer doing these in the gym with weights, but here’s a free workout you can get down on within the comfort of your own home…

The Big 10 Circuit
Do the following circuit three times, resting only long enough to go to the next exercise. Rest 1-2 minutes between circuits.
1A Bodyweight Squat (15 reps)
1B Push Ups (15 reps)
1C Seal Jacks or Jumping Jacks (15 reps)
1D Close Grip Push Ups (15 reps)
1E Hip Extensions (20 reps)
1F Step Ups or “box” Jumps on a ottoman or couch (10 reps)
1G Plank (30 secs)

Rule #3:  Give yourself some (loose) parameters to follow at dinner 

Nobody wants to skip dessert entirely. I’m not suggesting that.

But you need to set some limitations or “rules” to follow.

Maybe you’re a big pumpkin pie guy, or you prefer a nice cheesecake over anything else.

Tell yourself you’ll only sample TWO desserts.

Pick your two favourites and only eat a reasonable portion of each.

Seeing the party as a free-for-all can lead to calorie overload and physical and mental suffering later.

Rule #4:  Choose your alcohol… in moderation.

The same dessert rule applies to drinks.

Limit yourself to TWO cocktails.

Think rum and diet coke, dry red wines and low carb beers, not egg nog and vodka or coke floats with rum etc.

Alcohol itself has 7 calories per gram, so don’t pile on needless calories by adding sugary mixed drinks (i.e. egg nog).

Rule #5:  Fill up on veggies at dinner

For guys and gals with appetites for days, fibrous foods are an integral piece of the dietary pie (mmm, pie). We’re talking foods with relatively high fiber content in many cases, while at the same time being low in calories. A win-win. I.E. Veggies.

There’s always veggies at these parties – make sure you’re filling at least half your dinner plate with them!

It’s all about the broccoli, man. Fuck, brussel sprouts (sorry, they just aren’t my thing).

It’s in the details

Holiday weight gain is caused by eating like crap all holiday long, not just a few dinners here and there.

When your party is finished, get to the grocery store and get some solid, home-cooked, nutritious meals.

Don’t let a Christmas Eve binge translate into a Christmas Week binge.

And, don’t, whatever you do, weigh yourself after said dinner.

The excess stomach content and water weight from the additional carbs will drastically overestimate your consumption.

It’s temporary – if you follow the rules above and get back on the horse the next day.

Happy holidaying.

P.S. Want to get ahead on your Resolutions? I help people map out easy ways to take control of their health without painful diets or marathon workouts. You can schedule a FREE Strategy session with me here directly on my calendar.

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.