Every holiday season, you see the same kinds of articles make the rounds:
“How to avoid holiday weight gain”
“How to keep off the pounds this Thanksgiving”
“20 tips to avoid weight gain during the holidays”
Each article follows the same stock format, sharing stats about how many pounds of weight you gain between Thanksgiving and New Years, and then giving you a long list of hackneyed weight loss tips like “ditch the added sugar,” or “chew your food slowly,” or “drink water before meals.”
It’s not that the stats are wrong or the tips are useless, but at this point, you probably know that eating more calories than you burn is the root cause of weight gain, and the only way to not gain weight is to not eat so much.
Of course, during the Holidays, this is easier said than done.
You’re surrounded by a cornucopia of delicious, calorie-dense food and separated from your normal routine, which makes it remarkably easy to overeat.
So, what should you do about it?
What’s the “hack” for avoiding weight gain over the holidays?
It’s this: accept that you’ll probably gain a little weight, use some simple strategies to limit the damage while still enjoying your meals, and lose the weight after the holidays with proper dieting.
Before we get to these strategies, though, let’s examine the whole idea of holiday weight gain in more detail.
11:08 – Expect to gain some weight and to lose it again quickly.
14:18 – Focus on things other than food.
15:32 – Create a calorie buffer before big meals
22:54 – Eat big meals and limit your snacking.
26:30 – Eat lots of protein throughout the holidays, especially on the feast days.
29:07 – Stay active
33:52 – Bring healthy-ish food to the party
35:26 – If you do gain some fat, follow a meal plan to lose it.
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello, muscle for lifers. I’m Mike Matthews. Welcome to another episode. Thank you for joining me today to learn about how to not get fat this holiday season and this podcast. And the information I’m going to share is hopefully not going to be like the many other similar types of articles and podcasts and YouTube videos that make the rounds every December.
And that follow the same basic format, sharing stats about how many pounds of weight gain often occur every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And then sharing with you a list of hack need, weight loss tips, like ditch the added sugars and chew your foods slowly and drink water before you eat.
And it’s not that the data is wrong or the tips are completely useless, but at this point, especially if you’re a regular. My parts. You probably know that eating more calories than you burn is the root cause of weight gain, and the only way to not gain a significant amount of weight or any weight at all this holiday season is to just not eat so much or to move enough to offset all of your eating right now.
That is easier said than done at any time of the year and during the holidays. That is parti. True. We are surrounded by a cornucopia of delicious, calorie dense food, and we are not following our normal routines, which usually means we are not doing our normal workouts, and that is a recipe ha ha ha. For unwanted weight gain.
So what should you do? About it. Well, that’s what this podcast is going to be all about, and here’s the first tip, except that you might gain a bit of weight, you might gain a bit of fat, and that’s totally okay. That’s part of just living your life and enjoying yourself. That said, what you can do is use some simple strategies, some simple diet and exercise strategies to limit the damage, so to speak, while still completely enjoying yourself.
And then you can just get rid of the extra fat or the extra weight that you’ve gained after the holiday with proper dieting. A couple of weeks is usually all it takes, and that’s something I’ve done for many years now, and I can tell you firsthand, also secondhand, having worked with so many people over the years, it just makes for a much nicer.
Experience where you don’t have to feel guilty about overeating or eating stuff you said that you wouldn’t eat and you also don’t have to get all caught up in trying to over exercise to make up for the overeating. You know, trying to do two hours of exercise per day just so you can pig out at night.
And you also don’t have to be the wet blanket who doesn’t really participate in the fun, who doesn’t really eat the food, who maybe just nibbles who doesn’t really drink the drinks and so on. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top.
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So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of. And if you also want all natural evidence-based supplements that work, please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts like this. Okay, so let’s start this discussion with some good news, and that is, it’s not nearly as easy to gain a bunch of fat over the holidays as many people think.
Contrary to holiday dogma, it is not axiomatic that you are going to put on three, five or more pounds of fat over the holiday period. It is also not true that the holidays are the chief driver of weight gain in general. See, many people think that each holiday season leaves them a little bit fatter and it’s very hard to lose the weight, and many people don’t lose that weight, and that then adds up to dozens and then scores of pounds of fat over years and decades, and then they are hopelessly overweight.
And so people put a lot of. On themselves to not gain weight over the holidays? Well, you see, what is funny about that is research shows that in reality, most people only gain one to two pounds of weight in the six weeks between late November and early January, which includes of course, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s where a lot of food is eaten and a lot of alcohol is ibi.
For example, a study conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development weighed 195 healthy men and women at regular intervals from late September until the following march, and they found that on average people gained about one pound between mid-November and mid-January and a year after that study began, the researchers weighed 165 of the participants again, and they found that they were just one point.
Pounds heavier on average than they were the previous September. And other studies conducted by scientists at the University of Oklahoma and Texas Tech University have found more or less the same thing. Most people gain about one to one and a half pounds during the holidays, and that is a very small.
Amount of weight gain. It is not enough to make any difference in your appearance. Even if you are quite lean, then maybe you’ll notice a little bit less ab vascularity or something like that, right? But if you are athletic now, by that I mean like if you’re a guy at 7% body fat and you gain one to one and a half pounds of pure fat, yeah.
You, you’re gonna notice. Certain parts of your body are looking a little bit smoother, but it is not going to be a drastic difference. It’s really going to be something only you are going to notice. Nobody else will be able to tell. Now, there is an issue that some people run into that’s not captured in the overview of the research that I just mentioned.
You really have to look into the data to find that people who are already overweight or obese tend to gain much. Weight than people who are at a healthy weight. So for example, the same study that was done with 195 adults that I just mentioned found that 14% of their participants gained five or more pounds during the six weeks or so during the holidays.
So that’s about a pound per week, and that the weight gained during the holiday period accounted for about half of their annual. Weight gain. Now, these people also tended to be the most overweight at the outset of the study that Matthew effect strikes. Again, it’s everywhere, and as you have no doubt heard before, most people never lose the weight they gain during the holidays, even though they gain over one or two pounds, these small increases compound over time and they turn into 20, 30 or more pounds over a few decades.
And while that sounds bad, it’s not very surprising and it’s certainly. Inevitable. The studies that I’ve mentioned were done with regular Americans whose diets are not very good on any day of the year, holiday or not, and most people overeat most of the year. It’s a pretty regular thing. It’s just the intensity or the frequency picks up during the holidays, so of course you’d expect them to gain a little bit more weight during.
Time. Now, the reason that they don’t lose the holiday weight that they gain is just because they go from that accelerated period of overeating to the normal, more relaxed tempo of slightly and less frequently overeating Now, There’s good news there of course, because if you’re listening to this episode, you probably know a bit more about proper dieting and exercising than your average bear.
And if the average person who doesn’t put very much thought into how they eat or how active they are, if they only gain one to two pounds of weight, Someone like you can eliminate limit or worst case scenario quickly reverse any fat gain over the holidays if you are a little bit proactive about it.
And that’s what this podcast is going to help you be. So I’m gonna share with you. Eight simple ways to beat the holiday weight gain. And they are not going to be the same eight boring, completely impractical tips that are going around on the internet right now, like limiting your food choices and eating simpler, less appetizing foods, and being more mindful of your portion sizes, waiting 20 minutes before you serve seconds and so forth.
And again, considering the circumstances, a better tip might be just go into a. There you go. If you wanna avoid the weight gain, just have the coma start, uh, right before Thanksgiving and end the first week of January. Now, I can’t completely knock advice like that because those are things that I have mentioned in the context of cutting, for example, and how to better control your calories.
It’s just that when you are presented with lots of tasty. And leftovers and alcoholic drinks, and you’re with friends and you’re with family, and people are having a good time, you want to have a good time too. And if you’re like most of us around here, that doesn’t mean total war on your physique. It doesn’t mean unrestricted gluttony, but it also doesn’t mean strict.
Self denial or even strict self-discipline because it feels good to just let your hair down now and then. So let’s get to the tips. The tips that actually can survive an encounter with glistening Turkey and warm cookies and chilled glasses of eggnog. And here is the first one. Expect to gain some. And then to lose it again quickly.
Now, I have mentioned this a couple of times, but I’m just going to say it again because it really does need to be emphasized. Having the right mindset and the right expectations going into the holidays really is one of the best ways to avoid falling off the wagon and blowing yourself up as the fitness peoples like.
Call it. And so you should accept that you are going to gain some body weight even if you gain very little or, or maybe no body fat. And this is because a lot of the weight you’re going to quickly gain when you start chowing is gonna be due to water and glycogen storage, and simply just having more.
Food in your stomach at more or less all times, right? Being processed. So don’t be surprised when you step on the scale the morning after one of your holiday meals and see a much bigger number than you did the day before, like several pounds bigger. Luckily, this. Additional weight also goes away within a week or so of returning to your normal diet.
Now, it’s likely that at least some of the additional weight that you are probably going to gain this holiday season is going to be bonafide body fat. But again, remember, you can lose this very quickly with proper diet and exercise. Anyone can lose one to two pounds of fat per week. And if you just do the.
Again, let’s just say you’re gonna gain two pounds of fat this holiday season, and you’re gonna enjoy yourself, and then you’re gonna take at most probably two weeks to cut when it’s all said and done, and you’re right back to where you began. That sounds pretty good to me, right? What you don’t wanna do is fall into the trap that many people do fall into, which is telling themselves that they’ve just blown it after one of these weigh-ins, and then they just throw caution to the wind.
They tell themselves they’ve wrecked their diet, so they might as well. All in and just deal with it later. Ironically, research shows that people who try to follow very strict dietary rules in all circumstances are actually the most likely to fail their diets. It’s the people who tell themselves they won’t eat at any added sugar or won’t eat any calories after 7:00 PM or will eat 1500 calories per day every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That tend to succumb to binge eating the most. Of course we wanna avoid this. And one effective way to do that is to look at the holidays, uh, like a diet break rather than a succession of cheat days interspersed with some regular quote unquote, healthy eating. So let yourself eat a bit more junk food and eat slightly larger portions than you normally would, but also just keep in the keystone habits of healthy eating, which I’m gonna talk a bit more about in this podcast.
Another way of looking at it is viewing the holidays as a time to just relax a little bit about your diet and a time to not overreact if you gain a bit of weight, or even if you gain a lot of weight, because most of it is gonna vanish pretty quickly once you get back to your normal routine and any remaining actual fat that you’ve gained can be quickly.
Dieted off over the next couple of weeks or so. Okay. Let’s move on to the second tip, which is to focus on things other than food. And this can be hard, I understand, because food is a central part of the holidays and sharing meals with your friends and your family is something to savor. That said, if food is.
Foremost on your mind going into the festivities, you’re going to eat a lot more than you probably want to. And so it’s best to think of food as incidental to the overall holiday experience, not the fulcrum of it. It’s not the chief attraction, it’s kind of the sideshow. So on the one hand, it would not be a good idea to severely restrict your calories for days in advance and think every day about how you’re gonna spend all of these calories during the holidays.
And on the other hand, you don’t want to force yourself to eat like a runway model while everyone else is smashing the buffet. Both of those. Approaches involve an unhealthy fixation on food, and that’s mental energy that could be better spent on other activities that don’t involve eating, like picking out and wrapping presents, or picking up and decorating a Christmas tree, maybe going to farmer’s markets, visiting friends, visiting family.
Playing board games, splitting firewood, burned some calories there, and so on. Okay. The third tip is to create a calorie buffer before big meals. Now, there are generally two schools of thought among fitness enthusiasts about how you should eat on feast days, usually Thanksgiving, Christmas, in New Years here in the us.
One is that you should eat filling healthy, low calorie snacks the rest of the day, and especially immediately before your big meals, so you’re not as tempted to overeat. And another philosophy is that you should eat as little as possible during the rest of the day to create a large calorie buffer so that even if you significantly overeat, your total calorie intake for the day won’t be as outrageous as it might seem at the end of that big dinner or breakfast or lunch.
I guess the one big meal. Now, which method you choose ultimately depends on your personality and your preferences and what seems to work well for you. However, what I have found is that people who aren’t very experienced with any kind of structured dieting do best with the first option. So that would just be eating, filling stuff, healthy stuff, low calorie stuff for most of the day, and especially before the big meals.
So you aren’t as tempted to overeat not going into those big meals. Hungry or worse ravenous. Right? So these people are used to eating intuitively and they prefer to just stick to what they know works throughout the holidays, and that’s fine. That said, people who are more experienced with meal planning and controlling their body composition, controlling their calories, controlling their macros, tend to prefer and do best with the calorie buffer.
option because these people often have a good sense of how much they eat and how much they need to eat every day to maintain their weight or even to lose weight. And gain weight. If you have played with your calories and macros often enough, you can have a pretty good sense by the end of the day if you are in a significant calorie surplus or calorie deficit or probably just somewhere around your calorie expenditure and.
While this calorie buffer tip may seem like it contradicts my earlier recommendation about not focusing too much on food, it really doesn’t because it doesn’t take very much mental and physical effort to just eat less on the days of your big meals, but it can definitely limit the fat gain. So I look at it as a very low effort, easy win, low hanging fruit.
Kind of high reward strategy. What’s more, you’re probably gonna overeat on the feast days, no matter how many healthy filling high fiber snacks you eat beforehand, so you might as well just eat less, you know, throughout the day. Again, it’s usually dinners, and then enjoy your big meal. For me, what I do is I combine intermittent fasting with just protein eating, so I will skip breakfast.
That’s the intermittent fasting. I’ll have a nice amount of protein at 11 or 12 or one. I just did this actually before the big Thanksgiving dinner that I ate, so I didn’t eat breakfast, and around 12 or so I had about 50 grams of protein in Icelandic yogurt skier, and then I mixed a scoop of. Plant plus vegan protein with it.
Cause I like how it mixes. I like how it tastes and, and I like the mouth feel. It almost reminds me of frosting. And that adds another 20 ish grams of protein. So let’s just call it 70 to 75 grams of protein. And then around three or four, I cooked a chicken breast and I ate that. So that was another 50.
Or so grams of protein and then I just waited for dinner because I knew I was going to eat about 50 grams or so of protein of Turkey because I think it’s delicious, and 180 or so grams of protein for the day is totally fine. Now, of course, I could have skipped the Turkey and really just ended the day at 130 or so grams of protein and it wouldn’t have been an issue.
Obviously that wouldn’t be optimal if I were to do that every day for months on end if I were trying to like gain muscle and strength. But if it were just one day, it’s totally fine. Just for the sake of reference, I weigh 190 pounds. So obviously 130 or so grams of protein per day wouldn’t be optimal from a muscle building standpoint.
But if it’s just one day, it really doesn’t matter. That said, I like eating Turkey and I like eating chicken, especially Thanksgiving with the stuffing and cranberry sauce and gravy and all that. So anyway, that approach works a lot better for me than just trying to nibble. Carrot sticks and hummus throughout the day leading up to the big meal.
Another reason the calorie buffer method works well for me and others is you can only eat so much in one meal before it starts to hurt . And in the past I would go to that point, I would eat so much. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings go, I ate like six or seven plates of. The dinner food, and then I had dessert on top of that and I couldn’t move for like 45 minutes.
I was sweating and I was hurting, and I was laying on the couch and groaning for like 45 minutes, and that was a, a turning point for me. That was a, a never again moment. That’s where I decided, okay, this is too much. As much as I like the food, I can’t deal with the fallout. I don’t care about the fat. But the shell shock was just too much, and for me at least, this calorie buffer method has had another benefit in that the following day.
I’m just not very hungry. It is very easy for me to be in a calorie deficit. The day after eating what used to be a seven or 8,000 calorie dinner and is now like a three or fourth, I don’t even know if I hit four, probably three-ish thousand calorie dinner. That does give me a little bit of the sweats and discomfort, but not the fully immobilized state of.
The past and so on. The days following the big meals, I will use my heightened satiety to my advantage by skipping breakfast, eating my first meal around 12 or one, and eating maybe 2000 to 2300 calories for the day, which for me is a calorie deficit, especially if I’m working out, and that means I’ll stick.
Protein, you know, lean protein and vegetables will have some fruit, but I find it very easy to eat quite a bit less than I normally do when I have finished the previous day with, uh, a bit of a bender. Now if you’re wondering what kind of foods I like to use on my calorie buffer days, So I like low fat Greek yogurt or Icelandic yogurt.
I actually prefer Icelandic, so if it’s available, I’ll take that over Greek yogurt because the macros are just as good, if not bitter, and I find it creamier and less bitter. But low fat cottage cheese is another. , good option. Uh, I just like it with salt and pepper and if you want to add some fruit that can make it extra good.
Egg white works protein powder. You know, whey protein powder, caseine protein powder vegan or plant-based protein powder, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you know, super lean protein. Canned tuna also works. Low fat lunch meat. Just deli meat like ham or Turkey would be a go-to for me. Also works. And if just eating these high protein foods doesn’t work well for you, if it leaves you hungry or just doesn’t sit well on your stomach, throw in some fibrous fruits and vegetables that can help.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my Sports Nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the. Okay. The next tip, number four, eat big meals and limit your snacking.
This is a powerful one because one thing I’ve noticed is people who have the easiest time avoiding weight gain over the holidays are those who can find their overeating to just one or max two large meals per day, and then they, you just eat very little. The rest of the time. Now, on the other hand, the people who tend to gain the most weight are the ones who graze throughout the day, especially on high calorie stuff, like delicious things, cookies, pastries, chocolates, candies, fatty little hors d’oeuvres and alcoholic drinks and so forth.
and you see what’s sneaky about this is it never looks like these people are really eating that much, but their actual calorie intake is often much higher than the people who are eating the large but limited meals. Now, why is that? Well, it is simply easier to eat a large number of calories when you spread them.
Throughout the day. So think of it this way, which do you think is more difficult? Eating 3000 calories worth of Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing bread and pie, and all the rest like I just did in, let’s say 30 minutes or eating 4,000 calories of the exact same foods spread out over 12 hours. Well, confining your feasting to a single large meal puts of course a natural limit on how much you can overeat.
And then of. How much fat you’ll gain. Research also shows that some people feel more satiated. They feel fuller eating three meals per day instead of six. So that’s a, a lower meal frequency instead of a higher one, right? But this tends to be very individual. It varies person. By person. So you’re gonna have to play with your meal frequency and find what works for you.
So the bottom line here is if you want to maximally enjoy all of the holiday deliciousness without gaining too much fat, I recommend you let yourself just eat one large. Calorie dense meal per day and then limit your grazing the rest of the time. This works well for traveling as well. This has always been my rule of thumb when I travel is I will allow myself one big meal per day, and that’s gonna be in a restaurant, usually dinner, but not always.
Sometimes it is breakfast and a benefit when it is breakfast is it’s then very easy to not eat very much throughout the rest of the day. Because if I eat a two or 3000 calorie breakfast, I don’t, not even remotely hungry for, I don’t know, six hours. And then depending on what time I ate that breakfast, I’m looking at maybe a little bit of a late lunch or an early dinner.
If it’s a lunch, I can just go with a simple high protein food. Like I mentioned previously, I’ll bring some protein powder when I travel, and that would be a perfect time for a protein shake. If it’s an early dinner, I could go with just some meat and some vegetables and just keep it light. And again, I find that very easy to do psychologically and emotionally.
Ate so much earlier in the day, I’m just not very compelled to do it again. Now, if you want to have more than one large meal per day, that’s fine. You can do that, but you’re just gonna have to be a bit more conscientious about how much you’re eating in those meals and what you’re eating, right? So are those meals like all carbs and sugar and fat, or can we put some protein in those meals as well?
And then how much are you going to be eating? During those meals, if you are only to do the dinner, let’s say you may normally want to go three or four plates if we’re talking appetizers, entree, and dessert. But if you want to do the lunch and the dinner, can you do one or two plates in each? Okay, let’s move on to tip number five.
Eat lots of protein throughout the holidays, especially on the feast days. Now, if you are like everyone, all of us, you’re gonna be surrounded with a lot of calories over the holidays. A lot of calories that are going to look good and smell good and taste good. Cookies, pastries, chocolates, candies, everything whispering.
Come put me in your stomach, in their sweet and savory tones. And one of the best ways to resist their siren song is to not be hungry. And one of the best ways to do that is to eat a lot of protein. So specifically, I recommend that you eat as much protein as you want during the holidays. Yes, add libitum protein.
Intake over the holidays. In fact, it’s often a good idea to try to eat more protein than you normally do, just to keep your appetite down and to help prevent overeating and especially between meals for all of the reasons that we have already discussed. A useful little tip for combining the need for protein with the desire for sweet things is to have some delicious protein options.
Chicken breast, not so delicious. Delicious WHE protein mixed with skier yogurt or Greek yogurt. Extra delicious. I love it. I eat every weekend. What I do on the weekends is because I am only doing cardio, I’m not lifting on the weekends, I will skip breakfast just to keep my calories down, and then around 11 or 12 or so, I’ll have 50 grams or so of protein from skier, and my favorite brand right now is, N O R R No is the name of the brand.
And so I’ll take their plain and about 50, 40, 50 grams of protein from that. And I’ll mix in one scoop of legion’s, cinnamon cereal, whe plus, and then I’ll mix in one scoop of legion’s, plant plus vanilla, vanilla flavored plant, plus that’s our vegan protein. And I’ll. Stir it up, and again, it becomes like the consistency of frosting and it’s delicious.
It’s really good. Now, I’m not gonna say it’s as good as your mom’s apple pie. No, but it is certainly more appetizing than a chicken breast or a filet of tilapia. Another thing I liked to do was take a Legion protein bar, like the chocolate chip cookie dough or the s’mores bar, and then microwave it for.
Uh, 30 seconds or so, and it was really good. Now, the reason why I have not been doing that is we have been reformulating the protein bar for a couple of reasons. One, as delicious as the old bar was, it didn’t stay good enough. Long enough. So after a month or two of sitting on the shelf, it just wasn’t the same anymore.
And then two, the manufacturer we were working with was just a pain in the ass. They just didn’t give good service because they work with very, very large companies and they didn’t really care about our account that much. So we’ve been working with a new company that has done, I think, an even better job on the bars.
I think that they taste better and. Keep much better. So the new protein bars are on the way. It will take probably another couple of months, eight to 10 weeks for us to be able to launch them just because of production times with Covid and so forth. But if you’re on our email list, you will be notified.
And if you’re not on our email list, come on over to legion athletics.com and get on our email list. And if you also have never purchased. Us, then you can save 20% on your first order. When you join our email list, you will get access to a coupon that will instantly take 20% off your first order. Okay.
Moving on to tip number six, and that is stay active and this one matters more than many fit. Yes, gurus and experts would have you believe. Many of these people say exercise just sucks when it comes to losing weight or avoiding holiday weight gain because you just don’t burn enough calories during these little workouts to really make any difference.
You’re eating so many calories that you’d have to be exercising eight hours a day to. Offset a significant portion of all of the overeating, and I disagree. I think that’s wrong-headed for a few reasons, because although exercise naysayers love to hold up studies that appear to be evidence for the futility of working out what they don’t mention.
Is how much and what kind of exercise the participants in these studies were doing. So for example, in a study that was conducted by scientists at Texas Tech University researchers measured the exercise habits, body weight and body fat percentage of 148 overweight men and women from mid-November to early January.
And what they found is that the participants thatcI. Gained just as much weight as those who didn’t, and the researchers concluded that exercise did not protect against holiday weight gain. There’s a catch though because the exercisers in this study did about 30 to 40 minutes of light to moderate physical activity per day, so that was enough to burn 150 to maybe 300 calories.
Now, are we surprised that that didn’t make a dent in their holiday weight gain? Of course not. We understand energy balance. That said, many of us are physically fit and we enjoy working out, and we can burn two to three times more calories than that if we just go for a rigorous weightlifting session or even a rigorous cardio workout.
And that is certainly enough to reduce fat gain over the course of the holidays if it is. Often enough. And remember, you don’t need to do formal workouts or formal exercise to burn lots of calories. Simply staying physically active by walking whenever possible, taking the stairs instead of the escalator doing chores.
I mentioned chopping your own firewood earlier in the podcast instead of buying it. Precut. These things can add up to thousands of calories over the course of the holiday season. And remember, a pound of fat has about three oh. 500 calories in it and staying active can also reduce your appetite and boost your insulin sensitivity, which can then reduce your chances of overeating.
And it can also minimize fat gain from the overeating. And there’s another reason to exercise over the holidays and to stay active, and that is just to maintain the habit. Because as you know, you are probably going to gain a little bit of weight and a little bit of fat, and that’s not a big deal. So long as you can just diet o diet it off afterward.
And a combination of exercise and moderate calorie restriction, of course, is the best way to do that. But that is going to be more difficult to do if you don’t maintain. Your exercise habit. If January rolls around and you’re just not in the mood to work out because you haven’t really worked out or done much of anything in the last several weeks, and you put it off for another week and another week, if though you maintain some sort of schedule of regular physical activity, you’re gonna find it a lot easier to just get back into your normal workouts.
Something else that is important to remember is that exercise, whether it’s formal, Informal can also just be a fun way to spend time with your friends and family. You can go on long walks, you can go on hikes, you can wage snowball warfare. You can go sledding or do any number of other fun physical activities that gets you outta the house and away from food.
Remember that second point, all tip number seven is to bring some healthy-ish. To parties. Now, this is not always possible. I understand it’s not always socially acceptable, but when you can bring some food to a party, it’s an easy way to give yourself and your hosts a healthier alternative to what is available.
So if you are worried that you’re not gonna be able to eat anything at the party or the get together, and if it’s appropriate and if it’s practical, bring a dish or two that are lower in calories and maybe higher in fiber or protein. And if you feel awkward being. Person who brings the healthy food to the once a year get together.
Remember that you probably aren’t the only person who is going to appreciate the healthier fair. And if you want to check out some easy, healthy, and tasty dishes that you can make that fit the bill, head over to legion athletics.com and search for any of the following. You’ll find recipes for all of these.
So we have prosciutto, fig, balsamic bruschetta. We have roasted red bell pepper hummus. We have baked salmon. Balls with creamy avocado sauce. That sounds really good right now. Steak, veggie rolls, crab and avocado, hand rolls. Sweet potato and cauliflower samosa. Butternut squash, kale stuffing muffins. That sounds fancy.
Easy baked chicken nuggets, Greek lamb meatballs, raw chocolate chip. Cookie Dough truffles. Yes, please. Gingerbread protein, cookies and protein packed banana bread. And now I want to end this podcast and make some banana bread, but before I do that, let’s get to the eighth and the final tip, and that is if you do gain some fat, follow a meal plan.
To lose it. So I know I am obnoxiously redundant at this point, but even if you follow all of my seven steps that I have shared so far, you are probably going to gain some weight and that’s okay. I’m telling you to do that. Basically enjoy yourself, gain some weight, gain a little bit of fat, and that’s totally fine because.
The reason most people do not lose the weight they gained during the holiday season is just that their regular non-holiday diets aren’t really that much better, and they don’t usually know anything about energy balance. And so they don’t take a post-holiday eating break to get back to their normal.
And so let’s say that you really go hog wild. You really enjoy yourself and you gain three or four pounds of fat this holiday season if you know what you’re doing in the kitchen and. You can lose that in two or three weeks. That’s it. Proper diet, proper training, and it gets better too because losing weight does not require you to starve yourself.
You don’t have to detox, you don’t have to cut out all the carbs and the sugar and the meat and plants and all everything else you like to eat, and you don’t have to just drink protein shakes all day. No extreme measures needed. No exotic fad diets needed. All you gotta do is eat the right number of calories and enough protein every day and let the carbs and fat fall where they.
Do whatever you like basically, and voila, you will lose fat, you’ll retain muscle, and you will feel great. It really is that easy and the easiest way to make that happen is to just create a meal plan and just stick to it. You can think of the meal plan as like the g p s device for your diet. It takes all of the guesswork out of what you should be eating, how much of it you should be eating, when you should be eating.
You just follow the plan and you watch the fat melt away. Ounce by ounce. And if you wanna learn more about effective meal planning, just head over to legion athletics.com and search for meal planning, and you’ll find an article called The Definitive Guide to Effective Meal Planning. You’ll find a meal planning tool that we have that calculates your calories and your macros, and even your micros.
And you also will find an article called Seven Tips for Making Perfect Meal Plans for Weight Loss. So check out those articles, check out the tool, and you will know exactly what to. I should also mention that over at Legion, we sell meal plans too. We sell pre-made meal plans that are plug and play. You just download ’em and follow ’em based on your gender and your weight.
And we sell custom meal plans too, where you fill out a questionnaire that allows us to understand exactly how you like. To eat the foods you like to eat, how many meals per day you like to eat, when you like to eat, and so forth. And we work with you to make a 100% custom meal plan that allows you to lose fat and gain muscle and get healthy eating foods you like, every meal, every day.
And if you wanna check any of those things out, just head over to legion athletics.com. Go to the store and you will see the meal plan section of the store. Okay, so before I wrap up, let’s also quickly talk about alcohol. Bonus tip, tip number nine, because you’ve probably heard that drinking alcohol is particularly fattening, and especially when you’re eating a lot of food.
And while there is some truth to this, it’s really not that big of a deal. It’s not as big of a deal as many people make it out to be. And if you really want to get into the nitty. Details, head over legion athletics.com and search for alcohol, and you’ll find an article called How Bad Is Alcohol for You?
Really. But for the purposes of this discussion, just know this, having one or two or three drinks a few times throughout the holidays. Isn’t going to make any difference. You’re not gonna gain any additional amount of fat that you’re gonna notice. And if you have a handful of drinks throughout the holidays, let’s say five drinks, then you’re probably not going to gain any additional fat.
Now, if you push the upper end of moderate drinking, and let’s say you have two drinks every day, you might gain a bit more body. Than you would if you drank less, let’s say 10 to 20% more. So, for example, if you ate enough food to gain a pound of fat over the holidays, adding two drinks per day might bump that up to like 1.1 or 1.2 pounds of fat.
So hardly something to worry about. Now, the operative word here though is moderate drinking in moderation, which is anathema to some people over the holidays and binge drinking. Is a problem because not only can binge drinking contribute to fat gain directly, drunkenness often promotes over eating even more aggressively, which can lead to even more fat gain.
So if there are enough very alcohol laden meals over the holiday period that can significantly increase fat storage, it is reasonable to say that you could double your fat gain over the holiday period. If you wash enough of the delicious food down with delicious alcohol. So the lesson here is if you want to enjoy a few drinks here and there throughout the holidays, do it guilt-free.
Enjoy yourself. It’s not gonna make any difference in terms of body composition. However, if you are planning on bending the elbow excessively, then it can contribute to excessive fat gain. All right, well that is everything I wanted to share with you in this podcast. So let’s just quickly summarize what.
Covered basically, holiday weight gain is not that big of a deal. Most people only gain like one or two pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, and that’s very easy to lose if you just know what you’re doing in the kitchen and especially if you just know how to make a good meal plan and just stick with it.
And of course, follow a good training plan as well. And then I have my eight tips for avoiding weight gain in the first place, or at least minimizing it. And the first one was to expect some weight gain and that’s okay. And just lose it. The second one is to focus on things other than food. The third one is to create a calorie buffer before big meals.
The fourth was eat big meals, but limit snacking. The fifth was to eat a lot of protein throughout the holiday, especially on your feast days. The sixth tip was to stay active. Seventh brings some healthy-ish foods to the get-togethers and the eighth if you do gain some fat, just follow a meal plan to lose it.
And then there was alcohol as well, which is fine. You can drink alcohol over the holidays. But I would just recommend moderation, which is usually defined as one to two drinks per day. And if you don’t exceed that, you shouldn’t have to worry about any acceleration of fat storage. Well, my beautiful muscle for lifer.
That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it makes your holiday more enjoyable and more delicious. And of course, I have more podcasts coming. I have a best of episode best of number 10, the 10th installment of Best of Muscle for Life, where you’re gonna hear handpicked morsels from some of the.
Popular episodes that I’ve recorded over the years. I have another q and a coming as well as a monologue for women, where I’m gonna talk about the four best workout splits for women and more. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?
Because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search visibil. And help more people find their way to me and to the podcast and learn how to build their best body ever as well. And of course, if you wanna be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and whatever app you’re using to listen and you will not miss out on any of.
New stuff that I have coming and last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right, thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.
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