Top 3 Tips for Fat Loss During Holidays
A lot of people struggle with their relationship with food and the holidays are a big reason why. We use holidays as a reason to eat a lot of foods we normally don’t eat. Labor Day just passed and I'm sure you enjoyed yourself, went to a BBQ and had some great food.
And I'm here to say: THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
I do the same thing. You're going to eat more than normal on the holidays. You're probably gonna drink more than normal too. That's a big part of our culture. We get together, enjoy each other's company and celebrate with food and drink. There's no reason to take this away.
But here's the thing: when you do this celebration, are you panicking after because you gained weight or feel/look bloated? Do you feel guilty because you had a few too many slices of pie or too many rum and cokes?
If you feel that guilt there's one thing we need to improve: mindset.
Your mindset is HUGE with this journey. If your mindset is focused on the short-term changes, you'll always be caught in this guilt and panic mode cycle where you get stuck in this infinite loop.
You feel that guilt, do a bunch of cardio or go super hard in the gym for a few weeks, get back to your pre-holiday body and then relax.
Then guess what: another holiday or long weekend comes up and you restart that cycle, yet again.
I'm here to tell you that you don't need to live this way. There's another way, a more sustainable way that I and many of my clients have adapted. Here are the top 3 ways to stay on track for fat loss during the holidays.
PLAN PLAN PLAN
If you're serious about losing fat and staying on track for your goals, you'll put the work in. One of the ways to put that work in is making a plan.
"Fail to plan, plan to fail".
This plan doesn't have to have to be super elaborate, but just taking that step to make one will go a long way.
Planning Method #1
Track what you eat the week prior. If you find that you are eating 2000 calories per day, put 2-500 calories in the calorie bank daily for the holiday weekend coming up. If you start Monday and put 400 calories each day in the bank for 5 days you have an extra 2000 calories (a whole day of eating) to work with! You now can TREAT YO SELF! Have those drinks, have that pie, have that burger and not have that guilt. You won't need to go into panic mode and go crazy in the gym for a few weeks to get back to what you were.
You'll go to the gym because you love to move and feel good. That guilt won't be your motivation to get moving. Movement should be something you begin because you've found a medium of movement that you TRULY enjoy. It makes you happy and you love doing it. So if you follow this plan method, you'll be able to maintain that mindset and escape the guilt and panic cycle.
Planning Method #2
Let's say tracking ain't your thing. No problem. Follow this method: 80/20. This method means that 80% of the food you eat is going to be whole, nutritious foods. Then 20% is going to be things you enjoy. Especially if you don't follow this right now, this method is going to be SUPER effective.
That 80% is going to have a ton of fiber, vitamins and nutritious components that will keep you fuller for longer for WAY less calories. So most likely, you won't even NEED to track stuff because you'll be eating less anyway.
This reason is why you can eat 1000 calories of french fries, but only 100 calories of broccoli (barely). A cup of chopped broccoli is about 30 calories. Could you imagine eating 3 cups of broccoli? Nope.
Instead, combine that broccoli with a lean protein and some fibrous carbs and you'll end up eating around 4-600 calories per meal (maybe) instead of over 1000 with some fast food or something from a restaurant. You do this, then when that long weekend or holiday comes around, you'll do just fine.
Planning Method #3
Let's say you grabbed or thought of this post too late and you're going to a bunch of BBQs or parties etc TODAY.
Okay, first thing: you're going to drink a ton of water before hand. Water is going to make you feel fuller. It's going to take up space and limit what you'll be able to eat.
Next thing: eat lots of the green stuff. Find all the green stuff you can at whatever event you’re at and fill half of your plate with it. As we talked about earlier, green stuff is a lot more filling than most of the food you’ll find at most holiday related BBQs, parties etc.
Next thing: chew your food! Chewing creates physiological responses in your second brain (your gut) that bring on the feeling of satiety (fullness). When we eat food we really enjoy we sometimes… inhale it. We’ve all been there. We start eating super fast, look up and we’ve had a burger, 3 handfuls of chips, and 3 pieces of pie. Times goes by quick when you’re having fun! I’ve definitely fallen prey to this inhale method. If you’re curious about how chewing impacts your hunger and how powerful of a tool it is for fat loss, check out this article HERE.
Finally: be smart with your booze. If you plan on drinking, stick with light beers and limit the mixed drinks if possible. Alcohol has some profound effects on your hunger and will usually lead to overconsumption of carbs later on. We usually go crazy with consumption after a heavy night of drinking. On top of that, alcohol is a very dense substance clocking in at about 100 calories per 4 oz shot! That’s a crap ton considering you can kick back a shot in less than 2 seconds. So not only does alcohol contain a lot of calories, but your body will stop doing everything else it’s doing to process that booze. This can interrupt muscle growth AND fat loss! We definitely want to make sure we moderate alcohol intake.
When I say move more, I don’t mean inside the gym. The biggest mistake we can make as human beings is to believe that the only form of movement we should be doing is in the gym. The type of movement I’m referring are things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking the hill instead of walking around it, walking to the grocery story and carrying your groceries home. Finding ways to move outside of the gym are key ways to up our energy expenditure that ANYONE can do.
I’m not in the gym all day everyday going balls to the wall. Most of my energy expenditure comes from one thing: walking. I walk, A LOT. This form of cardio called LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio is an easy and effective way to burn more fat and keep you moving. The more we move, the more calories we burn, the more fat we’re going to burn. If you find ways to incorporate more movement into your lifestyle you’ll bounce back from any vacation quicker than most. Walking can also be a very therapeutic form of movement. Throw on your headphones when you’re stressed out and just go walk for 20 minutes. Let go of your troubles for a little bit and just walk. You’d be surprised how much better you feel after some good music and a couple trips around your block.
Other activities like cleaning your house, cutting your grass, raking leaves, taking out the trash and other household chores/activities are great ways to work up a light sweat and get some more energy expenditure in your day. Fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as you make it.
LET GO OF THE GUILT
We cannot associate eating a certain food with “eating like shit” or “cheating”. When we attach those stigmas to certain foods, they mentally make us feel WAY worse than they actually are. Do you really think one burger is going to DESTROY your fat loss journey? Do you think one slice of pizza is going to KILL your gains in the gym?
I know what you’re thinking: “Coach, I eat like 5 slices and then get a milkshake”.
To that I ask you this: what did you eat yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that? Chances are it wasn’t 5 slices of pizza and a milkshake. It was probably something a lot more moderate. In some cases it might even have been super clean. But that’s the problem: we’re behaving in a restrictive non-flexible manner.
If you are in fact eating that way on a daily basis though, give me a call because we need to change that.
If you moderately consumed pizza and burgers for that 20% of your diet like I spoke of earlier, we wouldn’t splurge like that. The splurging usually happens after we restrict for so long. Then we fall back into that cycle and call ourselves a failure. On top of that, even if we’ve been CRUSHING our nutrition goals, we have one slip up and quit. We’re like “Yea, I knew I was gonna fail anyway”. Our mindset is short-term oriented. Fat loss is a long-term process that requires a long-term mindset to match it. We have to be in for the long run to see results.
Remember: adherence is the number one variable.
Stick to the plan, trust the process and everything will work out. It will NOT be easy, but it’s completely doable. Hiring a coach may just be the next step you need to fill in those accountability gaps. Having someone to report to weekly, especially when things get crazy, can really make the difference.
If you’re ready to really commit to your body and stop falling into this cycle during the holidays and just during life in general, sign up for a free 30 minute strategy call with me. Let’s talk about how we can apply these tactics TODAY. I won’t be giving you a simple eat, less move more answer. I’ll work with you to develop some great tactics that will change how you go about your fat loss journey.