By: Anthony Campo
Many individuals tend to give up on a nutritional plan during the holidays. The truth is that no matter how hectic the holidays are for you, there are some simple tips you can follow to keep you on the healthy track. The majority of these tips require hardly any extra time or work, and really can help you to continue making progress towards your goals and give you a jump start into the New Year.
It is important to remember that not everyone has the same goals. These tips will be based specifically on individuals who are looking to cut fat, improve their body composition and general health.
Probably the most devastating reason that the holidays are death to fat loss is the onslaught of high sugar and starchy foods that are normally consumed. Foods with high carbohydrate content such as stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pies, and cookies, quickly breakdown into simple sugars in your body. Excess sugars spill over to enlarge fat cells or create new ones. Sugars also work to spike the hormone insulin, which signals the body to store. When the system is overloaded with carbohydrates this usually results in the storage of FAT.
Tip #1 EAT PRIMARILY MEAT AND VEGGIES
Stay away from the foods listed above, and stick to meat and vegetables. During the holidays this usually means filling yourself up on turkey, fish, ham or pretty much any other non-breaded meat you can think of. Also eat plenty of green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans or asparagus. Olive Oil and a variety of spices can be used for plenty of flavor. Eating this way will give you the proper breakdown of nutrients that you need to stay in successful fat burning mode.
If you know you will not quite have the discipline to stick to just meat and veggies for holiday dinner, there still are some options that can help you stick to your fat loss goals. The best way to get your body to manage a high carbohydrate intake is through proper exercise. Doing the proper exercise before you eat will help burn up stored energy in the muscles. Then, when you consume carbohydrates, the spill over will occur in your muscle cells instead of fat cells. Proper exercise also will help to make your body more insulin sensitive, and your body will be able to better handle the elevated levels of insulin that occur after a high carbohydrate meal. This basically means that your body will be less apt to store fat if you exercise right before eating high carbohydrate foods!
Tip #2 EXERCISE BEFORE YOU EAT
Perform both resistance and conditioning (“cardio”) exercises prior to consuming foods high in carbohydrates. The ultimate would be to get in a full exercise session directly before your holiday meal. Understandably many individuals are very busy around this time of year and this may not be possible. For these individuals here are some great exercise choices you can perform right in the comfort of your own home. It would be in your benefit to choose one resistance exercise and one conditioning exercise to accomplish before the meal.
Resistance (Perform as many reps as you can in 3 rounds of 1 minute each)
Pushups, lunges, body weight squats
Conditioning (5 rounds of 2 minutes)
Run/walk, mountain climbers, jumping jacks
You can modify these exercises to whatever level you can safely do. Push yourself to the highest intensity you feel comfortable with, as you will get the most out of the exercises that way. Doing this would take less Than 15 minutes to accomplish, and will go a long way towards priming your body for a big holiday meal. If your goal is to cut fat and improve your body composition then performing exercises to prime your body will make sure you don’t take any steps backwards, and ensure you continue to move forward progressing towards your goals.
(***This is the premise for the revolutionary new book Do This, Eat That. This book goes into great detail explaining how you can use this relationship to successfully change your body composition for the long term.
Tip #3 EAT BEFORE YOU EAT
This last tip might sounds a little funny, but when trying to limit poor eating choices, eating the correct food choice and hour or two before a big meal might make all the difference. Eating a low glycemic (low carbohydrate) meal prior to a big meal has been proven to dramatically reduce cravings for foods high in carbohydrate. This in combination with reducing your appetite can help you to make better food choices, and not overdo it on not so great food choices. So an hour or so before a big holiday meal eat something like some eggs or veggies and dip. If you are in a time crunch, throwing down a low carb protein shake or bar is always a great choice also!
Although the holidays can be a crazy time of year, your nutrition and health can always be something you have control over. If you have goals pertaining to fat loss and your body composition, employ these tips to help keep you on track, and spring you forward into some great results moving forward.