Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday woes...

This is a really quick blog post but it needs to be repeated. 

Christmas and Thanksgiving are notorious for being the worst times to try and lose weight. Why? Because everything is centered around food. More specifically high carbohydrate foods loaded with sugar.

Cute little mice like this will reign havoc on your belly.
What do high carb foods do to us? Well, even if we are following a calorie restricted diet where calories consumed are fewer than calories burned during the day, high sugar/simple carbohydrate foods still have a field day with our INSULIN levels and as a result our body will STORE THE SUGAR AS FAT.

And the funny thing is that everybody wants the low fat, low calorie option that is usually LOADED with sugar or simple carbs. Did I mention what sugar/simple carbohydrates do to us? 

Our bodies need protein. Protein slows the digestion process, has a MUCH more stable insulin release and increases our metabolism more than ANY carbohydrate can. Protein is a WIN-WIN-WIN situation. Yet foods that are high in protein such as turkey, chicken, steak, fish and eggs are demonized as being "high fat" foods. 

Here's a quick little secret for you: IT IS NOT TOO MUCH FAT THAT IS MAKING OUR COUNTRY FAT. It is the combination of fat eaten with sugar/simple carbohydrates that is making our country fat. We need to eat more protein, more fat (in the form of unsaturated fats), and fewer simple carbohydrates. If this simple model is paired with exercise, then weight loss shouldn't be a problem.

So here are 5 rules to follow this Christmas season to get you on the fat loss wagon by eating right, rather than simply eating less.
  1. Eat more protein. At that Christmas dinner, feel free to have some ham, turkey, chicken, fish or eggs.
  2. Eat more fat. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts are all good for you. Just don't get the candied variety. Focus on eating raw nuts 
  3. GET THE CANDY AWAY. After talking about the havoc that sugar can play, do you really want to "test" yourself and see how strong your will is by leaving candy around the house or office? Get it out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind. Plus if its not there you can't eat it.
  4. Drink only non-calorie drinks. Holidays are notorious for having high calorie drinks around. Most parties will have soda, beer, eggnog, and some other sugary drink. Stick with hot/iced tea, water, or coffee. Although with coffee, you'll need to have a little protein with it. I recommend this green tea. It's tasty, not overwhelming and is free of caffeine and calories.
  5. Eat before the party. If you know you're going to a Christmas party where there is sure to be sweets, candies and other bad foods, have a good healthy meal before the party. Don't gamble on there being healthy food there for you to stick to your eating plan. If you believe this, you're fooling yourself.
  6. Bonus tip---Motivate yourself with Exercise. If you are going to a party in the evening, go through a quick 15-20 minute circuit at home that challenges you. By doing this you'll be motivated to maintain your eating habits because you don't want to waste the 20 minute circuit you just did. Why take a step forward only to take 3 steps back at the party? 
A basic body weight circuit such as this takes only 15 minutes and can burn up to 150 calories. Just don't use the exercise to justify your bad eating habits at the party. Here is a link to a quick 15 minute circuit that sill chew through calories (pardon the pun).

Remember, you only exercise 4 hours per week. Exercise alone will not create the change you are looking for. Nutrition is a must.

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