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3 Hacks To Keep The Holiday Weight Off


We all know the struggle of the impending doom of holiday weight gain. It almost seems to be inevitable. You can fake left, fake right, hit a spin move, but the spoils of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals almost always tackle your waistline with a gain of 1-2 inches. It can be to the point where we almost all just accept it. We just factor it in, settle, and lean into it. I don't think we have to. By the end of this post you will have 3 valuable hacks (keep reading!!!) that will allow you to enjoy the wonderful food and treats of Thanksgiving and Christmas, yet still keep the weight gain off or at least to a minimum.


UNDERSTANDING WATER WEIGHT

Water weight is a very deceiving phenomenon in the body. Understanding what is going on and the scientific truth behind what causes the temporary weight gain can relieve a lot of weight watching stress and bodyweight anxiety. There are two main things that cause temporary water weight gain (water retention in the body)

1. Sodium (Salt)

2. Carbohydrates being stored as glycogen in the body.

Both of these things are readily found, in excess, throughout most of our yummy/unhealthy holiday foods. Kind of unfortunate right? Your body needs sodium and carbohydrates to function optimally. So I am speaking to the negative effects of these two things being consumed in excess...and I think we would all be shocked as to what we actually need and what is considered excess. Here's what your body does once these things are consumed.


SODIUM (SALT)

Sodium has a few jobs within our bodies. It aids in muscle contractions, it helps with sending nerve impulses around our body, and finally it regulates fluid balance in our bodies. For these functions to operate smoothly and effectively we need a range of 1500-2300 milligrams per day (That maximum amount may increase depending on exercise/sweat depletion in people who exercise intensely). The regulation of fluid balance in our bodies is where we get in trouble with water retention and weight gain. An excess in sodium will cause us to hold more water in our cells because the sodium is fighting to keep the balance regulated. Ever notice you get real thirsty after a salty meal? Yep, that's what's happening.


CARBOHYDRATES (GLYCOGEN)

There are a lot of factors here, like genetics, types of carbohydrates, timing, etc., but in simple terms: carbohydrates get turned into glucose in the bloodstream for energy, the extra glucose that does not get used for energy gets stored as glycogen in the body for later energy use, and when the stores of glycogen are full, the body turns the remaining glucose excess into fat stores. So there are to things at play here.

1. Glycogen storage requires water storage as well, in roughly a 2 grams of water per 1 gram of glycogen ratio. So when your glycogen stores are full, you are holding a good amount of water weight:

2. If you have excess glucose, past the amount burned and the amount stored as glycogen, the remainder will be converted into fat.


Reason 1 isn't necessarily a bad thing. Its just a fact of the matter. So understanding that will help you understand why you might be heavier after a high carb consumption day (even if it is healthy sources of carbs). Reason 2 is bad. It may take an extended period of time to see some significant fat gain, but...it may be quicker than you would like. Just a warning! Now...the moment you all have been waiting for...the hacks!


HACK 1: INTERMITTENT PLANNING

This hack takes the form of an intermittent fasting template.

The goal: Only eat 2 times in the day. Meal 1: Preferably low carb or at least healthy choices (click here for our overview of some healthy food choices). Meal 2: Whatever the heck you want.

The payoff: Eating only 1 low carb/healthy meal going into the "big one" will give you the freedom to indulge how you want, to enjoy it with your family and friends, and to hopefully still have a reasonable combined calorie count for the day. After all, no one wants to be that guys that denies granny's dessert offering while your family all gasps and simultaneously shake their heads in disappointment. For an example: If you have a big family meal somewhere around 4 or 5 p.m., try and last with only a low carb breakfast and coffee in your system. Wake up, enjoy some eggs and bacon, hangout and talk with family over a cup of coffee with no sugar added. This way you are assured that your glycogen stores are not overflowing and you can be a little more relaxed to indulge in granny's famous pumpkin pie and homemade whipped cream after a meal of guilt free turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. This tactic can work for all the days you are traveling and spending time with loved ones. If it gets real hard, add a third healthy meal (preferably low carb) in there, but don't fall into the trap of a constant stream of snacking! Which brings me to Hack 2.


HACK 2: DONT HAVE A SNACK ATTACK

The goal: Don't snack on goodies in between meals. Only eat during the designated meal times!

The payoff: Once again, you are putting all of your calories into a couple sittings during the day. This will most likely ensure that you will be consuming way less calories than if you were to have a constant stream of finger foods throughout the day. Don't talk yourself into the common trap of, "Oh I'll just have a handful of small meals so that I don't eat to much at one sitting." That is fine and can be a good tactic, but chances are, you are going to be consuming very calorically dense snack foods, and you won't have a "small" portion at the actual meal times. Say no to the snacking, with the perk of indulging at the set meal times.

HACK 3: PLAN YOUR "PEAK WEEK" RIGHT BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

The goal: Simply put, plan a monster workout week right before you travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The payoff: This will accomplish a couple things. 1. Your body will now actually need the rest more so than ever, so the time off from working out will be justified and needed. 2. There is a good chance you will have been burning a little more extra calories than normal throughout that whole previous week, thus going into your holiday week at a caloric deficit. 3. Your body will be using calories and macro nutrients in hyperdrive to repair and recover. I'm not saying that it needs an extra 3,000 calories each day to do this, but every little factor counts towards fighting the holiday weight gain.


There you have it. Don't go into these fun family times starving yourself for fear of doing damage. Be smart, apply these 3 hacks, but also enjoy the food, the fun, and the family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! (I know I am a bit early). Be sure to subscribe to our blog, and feel free to post this on your social media. We would love all the help we can get. Kyla and I are very thankful to all you viewers out there!

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