The cliché of gaining weight over the holidays is an unnecessary event. Here’s a twist: eat all of your favorite holiday treats anytime you see them and still lose one pound from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Many of my patients have done exactly that over the years that I have been promoting this simple, straight forward approach. If you follow a few simple rules and exert one ounce of restraint, then you can accomplish this too.
Weight yourself on thanksgiving morning and again on January 1st. All of the days in between you will abide by these rules.
1. Cut out the little sub-par holiday treats that aren’t your favorite. I call these the “crappy calories”. They aren’t worth the effort of chewing and yet we swallow them anyway simply because they are there. The tins of popcorn, the bad iced sugar cookies from the grocery store, the lame store bought pumpkin pie. Those mindless food traps aren’t worth the calories. There are other much more worthwhile targets for our affection.
2. List your top 3 decedent holiday treats: Aunt Betty’s special Christmas cookies, your mom’s famous pecan pie, some amazing thing your spouse makes every year. And when you see THOSE things then eat to your hearts content. Make that list but refine it to just 3 big wow favorites. Those are truly special. There is significance beyond the sugar.
3. Vow to exercise EVERY day for a minimum of 20 minutes. EVERY day. You know you will miss one or two each week for reasons beyond your control but if the commitment is there than it will be an upgrade from your norm. Your thinking here is that I can eat all of those great treats as long as I have EARNED them via enhanced exercise. You will also be creating a new habit that will carry over into the new year. Great way to start.
4. Pick 3 days where you give yourself a free pass to eat anything you want but only on those 3 dates. Mine happen to be Thanksgiving, Christmas day, and our company Christmas gathering with the people I lovingly share my days with all year long. The rest of the days in between I stay on track and on target. Circle those days on the calendar and hold yourself accountable to honoring this promise. Having a “free day” holds no significance if every other day is partial cheat day. Discipline is a muscle you need to practice in order to flex.
5. Fasting is still legal during the holidays. Commit to engaging some form of fasting and if this is new to you then simply work toward an 8-hour eating window each day and a 16 hour fasting period. If you are a veteran at fasting then commit to a 24 hour fast every Monday. If all of this is new to you then see the 2 articles on “Time Restricted Feeding” found on HippEvo.com
6. Strong help – engage supplements to give you a winners edge.
- “Carb Down” blocks the digestion of carbohydrates so you don't absorb them you simply poop them out. 60% of the carb in a piece of pie leaves your body without being absorbed as sugar. Use this when you go to Aunt Betty’s party.
- “Crave Control” is a safe plant-based appetite suppressant that doesn't act as a stimulant. It modulates your hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin to safely lower overall appetite. You simply eat less yet feel full.
7. Real Life Virtuoso is a weekly meeting that members attend to help with accountability and follow thru. We discuss key principles and strategies for a long and healthy life. The power of the group moves you forward as you are not doing it alone. It’s accountability and support from other like-minded people. Contact Chelsea my dietitian for more detail on this. If you are serious about making change in your life then this is as powerful a tool as it gets. This meeting is offered live on Zoom or in person.
You’ve got some planning to do. Set up your workouts, write you list of favorite treats and circle 3 dates (not 4) on the calendar for “free days”. If you hold special needs or medical issues that prohibit you from engaging these ideas then meet with Chelsea to help navigate a personalized plan. If you simply follow the plan and keep your goal in mind on a daily basis then there will be a deep sense of satisfaction within you come January 1st. You will have also started to form some seriously strong habits that will carry you into the next year. Reinventing yourself is what we are all about and this is the best time of year to do it.