The holiday season is in full swing and that means one thing: plenty of oh so delicious food. While you shouldn’t completely ignore all of your favorite dishes that only make an appearance once a year, you also don’t want to completely lose sight of your weight-loss goals. You’ve been working hard, after all! Plus, holiday weight gain is very real. But have no fear, as there are plenty of (easy!) things you can do to keep yourself right on track during the most wonderful time of the year.
“The clients that I have seen navigate through the holiday season and still stay on track with their goals are the ones who are truly invested in their journey and their ‘WHY.’ Temptations will be inevitable, no matter the season, but it’s the intrinsic motivation that has them stick to their goal and their journey to attaining it,” says fitness expert Adriana Gentile, whose fitness and nutrition program helps her clients achieve balance through facilitating healthy digestion, increasing natural energy, balancing hormones, deep cellular cleansing, decreasing body fat, and increasing muscle mass.
Essentially, it’s up to you to hold yourself accountable. Don’t worry—it’s much easier to do than you may think. Gentile shares her best tips to help keep you on course and drop those pounds during the holidays, the right way. Follow her advice, and you’ll be able to lose weight during the holidays. To really keep up with your healthy lifestyle, be sure to try out the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
First things first—you’ll want to start your day with a nutrient-rich morning routine, according to Gentile.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it dictates your nutrition decisions later on in the day,” she says says. “Give your body an adequate amount of protein, fats, carbs, and most importantly, micronutrients (aka vitamins and minerals). The holiday time of year is not the time to skip your multivitamin and perhaps the perfect time to invest in a greens powder! Fill in those nutrient gaps first thing in the morning so your body doesn’t mistake a vitamin or mineral deficiency as a craving.”
“You don’t need to have massive meal portions—they just have to be consistent so we can keep your metabolism high,” Gentile explains. “This will also go hand-in-hand with delivering consistent nutrients to your body so that it feels fortified. [This way,] you’re less likely to experience cravings later on in the day.”
So instead of just waiting until dinner to truly feast and skipping meals the rest of the day, you’ll want to keep up a normal meal schedule.
“I recommend having breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with two snacks in between,” Gentile says. “However, you can also strategize your day by macros (protein, fats, and carbs). For example, if you know you’re going to have a carb-heavy dinner, then perhaps stick closer to your protein, veggies, and healthy fats during the day and save that carb-load for your evening meal.”
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Drop the urge to drink eggnog all day and instead, sip on water.
“Never has it been more important to get your daily 3-4 liters water intake,” Gentile says. “Drinking water has so many benefits, however, come the holidays, it’s a great tool to lean on for a couple of reasons. One, it may help you keep feeling fuller for longer in between meals throughout the day, therefore decreasing caloric intake. Two, it helps flush out any excess sodium that goes along with all of those delicious holiday meals. The more water you drink, the less water you retain.”
You’re going to want to think twice before you down that holiday cocktail. As Gentile says, it’s all about making a better choice if you’re really determined to drop some pounds while still enjoying the festivities.
“‘The best plan is the plan that you can adhere to the longest.’ [This means] that for some of you, Bailey’s in your coffee during the month of December might be your ‘thing,’ but your new ‘thing’ are those weight-loss goals you set for yourself,” Gentile explains. “So let’s try to make a smarter decision instead of cutting it out completely.”
It’s all about making smarter swaps!
“When it comes to wine, typically reds have less sugar than whites, as well as the antioxidant-like property resveratrol. Vodka comes in as the winner [of the] lowest caloric hard liquor intake and in second place we have a three-way tie of gin, whiskey, and tequila,” she adds. “Now, please be sure to drink even more water if you’re going to be consuming alcohol. Your morning after will thank me!”
No matter how much is going on, you still need to find a way to sweat it out.
“I know times can get crazy around the holiday season, but you have to make the time for yourself. Or else you’ll get just as lost in your weight-loss goals as you would in a mall parking lot on Christmas Eve—yikes,” Gentile says. “Right now, you want to do a combo of heavyweights to really break down your muscle fibers, giving a place for holiday calories to go and repair the good damage that has been done. As well as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to keep your heart rate high and promote your fat-loss training zone. Fasted workouts are also a great tool to lean in to after a very indulgent evening!”
Not sure exactly where to start? Gentile says you just need to find a program that you think will best work for you.
“Find a program, stick to the program. Find a program that is realistic and that you’re excited about,” she says, “Factor in your appointments and festivities beforehand and organize your schedule around that, being sure to allocate your workout time. Stick to your pre-planned agenda, honoring the time you have given to yourself. A one-hour workout is only 4% of your day,—you got this!”
While the holidays are known for being a time when you’re around loved ones, don’t think you need to give in to any pressure to eat something you don’t want to eat. Decide to put the foods on your plate you know you’re going to enjoy.
“My honest advice is giving someone the permission to say “no” or to voice their goals to their parties,” Gentile says. “A lot of people give in to peer/family pressure simply because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of others. This mindset will only appease the people around you and not yourself.”
The best way to deal with a situation like this? Just be honest!
“You could even save it for later. You can say, ‘thank you so much for your butter tart, I bet it’s delicious! I am just super invested and excited about my health goals right now, would you mind if I took this with me to pop in my freezer and take it out to celebrate once I hit my goal?'” Gentile suggests. “Who could say no to your honesty? Put yourself first [and] you’ll thank yourself come Jan. 1 when all the New Year-resolutioners are coming out, yet you’ve already had a head start.”