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  • Writer's pictureIlona Luff

How to Stay Lean During the Holiday Season

We have been conditioned to associate any celebration or social gathering with food. Just think about it: "coffee dates", "let's grab a lunch", "anniversary dinner", "birthday brunch". There's nothing wrong with that - it's just a part of our human experience. It only becomes a problem when we over do it.

Are you constantly finding yourself overindulging around those times? Then end up hating yourself for "eating all that food" that makes you tired, sleepy, and kicks you off track with your efforts to have a healthy diet. The thing is, first and foremost, you are not alone! Secondly, good news! Your awareness is there and you don't have to go on this vicious cycle of overeating, gaining weight, beating yourself up for that and going on a strict diet right after the holidays or events.

I have some simple things you can do to stay on track mentally and physically while letting yourself enjoy those delicious holiday dishes!

Mindset is everything so prime yourself before you go to that party or even right before you are about to put food on your plate. Tell yourself: "I'm in control. I've made a conscious decision to eat this and I'm going to enjoy every bite."

Your holiday meals don't have to turn into all-week feasts. Enjoy yourself 1 meal a day and keep the rest of your meals clean and high quality.

Focus on the protein - prioritize it. Protein increases satiety and more hormone Peptide YY is being released when you consume protein, versus when you ingest carbs or fat. Also your body is going to use more energy (burn more calories) breaking down protein, than fats or carbs.

Drink plenty of water. Specially in between meals, because most of the time you are thirsty when you think you are ready for a snack.

Keep moving. Even if its just standing up, walking around the house, helping the host with dishes or bringing something from the kitchen - all that adds up and speeds up your metabolism.

Give yourself enough time before going for seconds. Most of the time we eat too fast before our mind gets a signal from the stomach that we are full and don't need more food. It's really hard to overeat when you are full.

Don't skip your workout on the day of. Try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Workout) which if done correctly will create an after-burn effect when your metabolism is sped up and continue to burn more calories for the next 48 hours after your session.

Eat your fiber. Not only does it help with feeling full, but fiber also reduces secretion of sugar. So if you are reaching for that dessert, have some fiber with it (add strawberries for example).

Finally, my last tip is let the holiday food be for the holiday itself:)  It’s one thing to enjoy some holiday yummies while celebrating with friends and family but it can be an issue if you’re indulging into leftovers for the days and weeks following the holiday season. Enjoy yourself during the holiday events, but after the holidays are over get yourself back on track with your nutritional program and clean eating goals.

Happy Holidays! XO

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