It’s tough to say ‘no’ to holiday cheer when it comes in endless cookies and endless calories… but how can we refrain from retaining all that weight?
Personally, I’ve found it to be fairly simple. It’s a matter of making a few key decisions, and being a bit smarter about what you choose to consume. Overview: choose protein over carbs, conscious of calories- in food and drink, and low amounts of sugar.
Essentially, I focus on eating foods that are more protein than anything else. When I consume over holidays, I choose to eat meat over carbs. I am in no way saying ‘I don’t consume carbs,’ because who can resist homemade lasagna or mashed sweet potatoes?
The majority of what I eat tends to be between vegetables and the meat being served. The main reason is the excessive amounts of protein just pass through the body; whereas excessive carbs (excessive to the extent that they aren’t used immediately) are stored as fat. So, even if I over-eat, it’s not entirely going to stick with me for the rest of the holidays.
I know this is troublesome for vegetarians and vegans, and I don’t know that I can have much of a solution for that. I would just recommended eating the vegetables offered (asparagus, corn, etc) over ingesting too many carbs; because that’s mostly all you can hope to do.
Cookies are delicious, but should be enjoyed in moderation. Too much sugar and fat are bad for obvious reasons (1 gram of fat contains 9 calories, whereas protein and carbs are 4 calories). Split slices of pie, cake, and other deserts with someone else; that way you still revel in the taste, but not the extra pounds. Sugar has no nutritional purpose, it is a rather large amount of calories, it affects the liver, and many other problems can arise from too much sugar.
Sugar can be the most detrimental thing you consume to your body over the holidays, so you need to be most conscientious of its consumption. It’s in all of the sweet things we eat-from deserts to candied yams- and also the things we drink- from coffee to alcohol. It impacts many bodily functions, and its high caloric value adds unnecessary pounds to our bodies. Just be weary of where it lurks, and be conscious of how much you consume. REMEMBER, your recommended daily dose of added sugar (not naturally occurring) from the FDA is ZERO. NONE. ZILCH. NADA. Naturally occurring sugar is alright, which you find in fruit, but none of the sugar in cookies, alcohol, and granulated sugar are recommended.These calories and nutrients are unnecessary to bodily functions, and should be avoided. Take extra precaution in all of the sugar you’re consuming.
Basically, sugar can be really harmful- especially in excess; so keep it to a minimum!
When consuming over the holidays, especially in excess, it’s important to drink enough water so that your body can digest the food you eat. I strongly recommend sticking to just water; but if you enjoy sodas and other soft drinks, keep those to a minimum because they are extra (empty) calories that are unnecessary to your health.
For all of my ‘of-age’ readers, the same goes for you. Alcohol dehydrates you, strains bodily functions, and does a variety of things-which are discussed in a different article that I’ve written for Your Fitness Daily (entitled Alcohol in Fitness). What I suggest to those who do not want to abstain from alcohol, is to dilute hard alcohol with beneficial mixers.
Making a screwdriver, or having a vodka cranberry is a better choice than beer because beer contains many more carbohydrates than hard alcohol; which, as mentioned before, will store as fat if they go unused. Mixing your drinks can also prove to be harmful, depending on your choice.
Something to look out for is the amount of sugar you’re ingesting with the mixers. It effects your insulin levels, blood sugar, and other things that can negatively affect the way you retain the calories you’re consuming. In some instances, your mixer can have a high amount of calories, which is counter productive to fitness goals (being that you’ll have to work extra hard later to burn them off).
In summation, be conscious of the choices you’re making during the holidays. Try to emphasize nutrients that are not carbs (pastas, beer, mashed potatoes, etc.) and drink lots of water and very few low calorie drinks. Try to avoid too many cookies, and eat more food instead of snacks (because the sugar and fat are not good for you). If you drink alcohol, use smarter mixers that are low in calories and low in sugar. If you abide by these general rules, you’ll probably make it out of the holidays alive.
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