The holidays are in full swing and with that comes the never-ending temptation of sweets lingering around the office, celebratory lunches, cocktail parties, and of course, the big family gatherings loaded with wonderful aromas and comfort food.
There’s plenty of evidence that the winter holidays are peak season for weight gain.
Stress, loneliness, and the sheer abundance of food can easily send us into a tailspin of poor food choices, tummy aches, and weight gain.
Here are 6 ways to avoid the trap:
1. Get rid of all tempting treats in the house.
You’ll be around plenty of sugary and processed treats this season. Why bring the temptation into your home? Keep your fridge stocked with satisfying savory foods like proteins, olives, and nuts and naturally sweet foods like fruit, sweet potatoes, and ingredients for mouth-watering protein shakes.
2. Meal plan.
When you have a plan for the week, you’re destined to succeed!
I recommend eating roughly the same thing all week and then create an entirely new menu the following week.
For example, breakfast might be unsweetened Greek yogurt with fruit and stevia, lunch a salad with protein and sprouted rice, and for dinner roasted spaghetti squash in a red sauce with grass-fed beef and wilted spinach.
The trick is to choose foods you love and are excited to eat.
Also pick which occasions you’ll be eating out and indulging and adjust accordingly.
3. On event days, workout a little harder, eat a little less during the day, and allow yourself to indulge.
Sometimes, indulging is just well, exciting and worth it. Keep your meals during the day a little lighter to compensate for the extra calories and make your workouts a little more taxing to offset an upcoming big calorie deposit.
4. Get your sleep.
Sleep has been linked to higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which causes an increase in belly fat and can trigger cravings. Get to bed a little earlier and avoid foods that might disrupt your sleep too close to bedtime, like dessert, soda, caffeine, and alcohol.
5. Beat the blues by supplementing.
If you eat more when you’re feeling down, try leaning on a couple of supplements that can help your mood feel a little brighter.
St. John’s Wort is an herb that comes from a flowering plant and is known as nature’s antidepressant.
It’s been scientifically proven to help treat mild to moderate depression.
Make sure to check for drug interactions when taking St. John’s Wort, as it can decrease the effectiveness of some medications like birth control pills and anticoagulants.
Another wonderful supplement is a quality probiotic. A probiotic populates the gut with healthy bacteria that can be eroded by stress and inflammatory foods.
Believe it or not, the gut is known as the second brain and is where the greatest concentration of serotonin—your feel good hormone—resides.
6. Give yourself permission to enjoy.
Knowing we can have whatever we want takes away the urge to overdo it. If dessert or chips and dip are taboo, chances are high you’ll obsess about them.
The truth is, it’s just dessert. It’s just chips and dip. Is it really that good? Maybe.
Have some and enjoy and then move on with your life.