Image Credit: Jennifer Pallian / Unsplash
For some it’s the Christmas ten. For some it’s an annual twenty pound weight gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It becomes a ritual of sorts, and many accept it as part of the holiday. You start to think of all the pies, and pastries and your jeans start to get a little tighter as you begin to salivate.
But wait! This year is going to be different. The holidays can be fun and enjoyable without wrecking your personal fitness goals.
Here’s the top three problems most people run into during the holidays, and what you can do to avoid gaining weight on Christmas.
Why You Gain Weight
There are three main categories of problems most people can identify with. And for some, they have issues with all three. Poor bastards.
If you get a handle on just one of these issues, you’ll fair much better than in years past. If you tackle all three categories, you won’t gain a pound.
1) It’s the food
It’s everywhere, and it’s delicious. For many they don’t even have to increase the volume of food to gain weight. They aren’t stuffing themselves with two and three servings. Their plate looks normal, and the volume of food looks appropriate.
The problem is the calorie density of holiday foods. Who serves broccoli on Christmas, right? It’s all sweet delicious goodness packed with sugar and calories.
2) Peer Pressure
Wow, does this one suck. You decide to be good, but you’re getting needled all damn day by Uncle Danny. Just one bite. Have a little more, he says. Let’s inflate that ass so you waddle. Okay, he doesn’t say that last one, but it feels like it.
When everyone around you is chowing down on all the goodies, it can be incredibly hard to hold out and not gorge on a mound of chocolate.
3) My God, The Leftovers
It’s bad enough if you’re at someone else’s house and they practically extort you into taking home leftovers. If you’re actually hosting, forget about it. It’s over. Just put the robe on, and flop down on the couch.
If the leftovers for a feast for twelve people are physically in your possession, you’ll be nibbling at it for the next two weeks until it’s gone. It just feels wrong to throw it away.
Think of all the starving children. What would they say if you threw this pie away?
So, you eat. And eat. And eat.
Related: How to stay motivated on a diet
How To Avoid Gaining Weight
Let’s get a battle plan for each of the three main categories, we listed above.
1) The Food
It’s very rare to find food that’s “healthy”, and good for you at a Christmas party. If you’re invited to a holiday meal filled with broccoli platters and tofu cookies — Well, I feel sorry for you.
That’s going to be a long day of lectures about colon health and such.
Most parties aren’t going to be health conscious. It’s a time to relax and indulge for most people.
But not you, dammit. Not you. Not this time.
What you want to do is identify the “kinda bad” and the “omg, I feel fat already” food types. When you’re filling your plate, opt for as much protein as possible. The protein isn’t always ideal either, but it’s the better choice.
Honey baked ham will be a better choice than a plate full of chocolate cookies.
When in doubt… Protein, Protein, Protein!
2) Uncle Danny
Tell him to go F– Just kidding! I love Uncle Danny. He isn’t trying to get you fat, and probably doesn’t realize how bad he’s making you feel. He just wants you to join in on the fun.
What can you do? Tell him the truth. That you ate so much of that delicious turkey/ham/chicken that you couldn’t eat another bite. One more morsel and you’ll throw up all over his Christmas sweater.
What you don’t want to do is attend a gathering with the intention of not eating. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb, and gain the wrath of the villagers.
Eat, but eat smart. Eat a lot of protein, and treat yourself to a normal human sized portion of one of the goodies.
See also: Losing weight without exercise
3) The Starving Children
You have to get rid of the leftovers! And, no, eating them isn’t what I mean. You can probably hold on to any meat and use appropriately for lunches and sandwiches. But all the sweets need to be dealt with.
If you have whole, untouched, pies your neighbors would be delighted to take them off your hands. Donating to a homeless shelter is often talked about, but most don’t actually do it.
Take some to your office, or make a visit to a friend you haven’t seen in months — and bring the pies as a gift. The point is to get rid of it.
If it’s in your house, you’re going to eat it.