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Nov 8

Handling the holidays while trying to lose weight – Coastal View News

We are approaching one of the best times of year in my opinion. I love the holidays. The smells, the decorations, the excitement in the air and especially the food. However, if you are someone who has been working on getting healthier and losing weight, this time may bring anxiety and stress.

But dieting through the holidays does not have to be a chore. It does not mean that you need to miss out on all the good foods and drinks either. There is one key word I use as the main goal for all of my clients: balance. You can enjoy foods and even imbibe without undoing your progress; you just have to keep everything in balance.Here are some tips.

If you are attending a family dinner, potluck meal or holiday party, bring a dish of something you want to eat and rely on that to fill your plate. Then you can still take smaller portions of the other, possibly decadent items, without feeling like youre blowing your whole diet.

Stick to regular meals prior to a holiday meal or party. I know, youve probably been taught to skimp on food throughout the day, so you have more calories for the big meal. Unfortunately, this rarely works like you think it will. When you eat lighter, you will typically end up being so hungry at the event that youll overindulge.

Fill up on protein. While the star of most holiday meals is the turkey, ham or prime rib, most of the side dishes are lacking in the protein department. Most side dishes are carb and fat heavy. So, fill up on protein, either before or during the meal. This will help you feel satiated and again, avoid overindulging.

My holiday trick when going to a catered event or one which serves primarily hors doeuvres is to have a ready-made protein shake about an hour before I leave. Its just enough to take the edge off.

Choose your indulgences strategically. This means that if you want to enjoy pie after dinner, dont also have cookies earlier in the day. Maybe it means you have pie but forgo the whipped cream. The pie will still be delicious on its own. Savor the bites of decadence you choose to eat and dont feel bad.Tip: This is the same advice Id give while on vacation.

Ultimately, choose memories over calories. Enjoy the time with your family and friends and be thankful that we can even gather this year. The problem with the holidays is using them as an excuse to over-indulge. One day of overeating is not going to undo all of your progress. But if you have Thanksgiving, leftovers for a few nights, then a Friendsgiving, then a holiday party, then you make cookies, then someone in your office brings more cookies and it keeps going and going, you can see how that will impact your body.

Additionally, if youve been dieting for a while, having one day of a large calorie surplus will be processed and expelled rather efficiently. Even if you arent dieting, the same thing will happen. Our bodies are well-oiled machines when it comes to single calorie surpluses here and there. It is very unlikely to change the big picture much. Sure, the scale may go up for a day or two, but thats usually due to eating more carbohydrates. Carbs require more water to break down in our body, so with increased carbs come increased water weight. But water weight is not fat and wont stick around long.

My advice: skip the scale until youre back in your routine and youll be thankful that you chose to be fully present with your family and friends, instead of worrying about if you ate too much cranberry sauce one day out of the year.

Fun fact: According to a 2016 study, the average American gains .2% at Thanksgiving time and .4% at Christmas time. That usually equates to around one pound between the two. So even if you go for it and really enjoy the holidays, one pound isnt a huge increase. The bigger point is that you stay in your routine and dont fall out of the good habits youve created, or it will be much harder to get back on track.

Leah Harding is a nutrition coach and mobile personal trainer. She specializes in helping people see food as an ally to reach their goals, both in and out of the gym. She previously worked out of Rincon Fitness and owned CrossFit Carpinteria/Foxwing Fitness. Contact her atleah@foxwingfitness.comwith questions or with ideas for future wellness articles.

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Handling the holidays while trying to lose weight - Coastal View News

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