It’s that time of year again…
Plastered on the cover of the checkout lane magazine is a scrumptious pumpkin pie loaded with whipped cream next to glistening sugar cookies, candy canes, and gingerbread monstrosities.
The magazine next to it screams, “DISCOVER THE ONE SECRET TO STAYING FIT DURING THE HOLIDAYS!”
What’s the magazine’s advice, you ask?
“Don’t eat any delicious food! Ever!”
Thanks for nothing, checkout-aisle-magazine.
I’m not going to tell you to divide your food into tupperware containers, count calories, use a color wheel, workout for two hours per slice of pie, eat low-fat gravy product, and use fat-free whipped topping on Splenda-infused cobbler.
Willpower only goes so far.
As soon as the family drama kicks in, you might find yourself binge-eating gingerbread cookies behind the Christmas tree, chugging jugs of eggnog, then feel guilty the rest of the month because you wish you had more self-control.
That’s no way to spend the Holidays.
WHY DO WE BINGE AROUND THE HOLIDAYS?
You may have already accepted you’ll gain weight during the holidays. That idea is part anecdotal evidence, past history, and part the socially accepted idea that we will all overindulge this time of year and gain an average of 2+ pounds (that we never burn off, by the way). But why do we do it?
- Family Drama: Wherever there’s family, there’s drama. That tension can make us anxious and kickstart emotional eating.
- Minding Manners: Aunt Edna ALWAYS makes that chocolate cream yule log cake and “it was your favorite as a kid.” She’ll be offended if you don’t have a huge slice.
- Food Gets Personal: When you’re not taking a scoop of mom’s stuffing and declining the rolls, Uncle Tom might start questioning your “fad diet,” claiming that people have been eating this way for years and they’re all “fine.” You might feel cornered.
- Tradition: Every year since before you were born, your family gathers to bake cookies, drink hot chocolate, and build snowmen. It’s tradition.
- Everything just looks and smells so darn good.
HOW TO STAY LEAN AND ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS
The more you restrict food and amp up your workout, the more difficult it will be to stick with your plan. It’s just setting yourself up for failure. Instead, the key is to simply eat mindfully. Here’s how…
BEFORE YOU GET TO THE TABLE…
Separate Your Emotions from Food: This is a stressful time, but you don’t have to use food as a coping mechanism. Before all your holiday activities gets rolling, figure out how you’re going to de-stress when something comes up. Maybe it’s a breathing exercise, a quiet walk, a meditation, a break to watch a movie or listen to a podcast. Maybe it’s just counting to ten in your head when something triggers your fight-or-flight response.
Know Your Trigger Foods: If you can’t stop before polishing off an entire plate of Dad’s frosted sugar cookies, then you might want to avoid those. Eat something else instead, preferably protein or fiber which are highly satiating (especially this time of year).
Create New Traditions: Create new traditions that aren’t focused on food. And when there is decadent food involved in an activity, remember that most people won’t even notice you’re not eating it.
AT THE TABLE
Focus on satiety: During the big holiday meals, focus on eating to get full, not stuffed. Listen to your body’s cues that you’ve had enough. Relax, eat slowly, enjoy the conversation and savor your meal. You can set yourself up for success by loading your plate with 80 – 90% veggies and meats, leaving a little room for a treat or two.
Plan to Indulge: Plan to make and bring your own homemade pumpkin pie (get our Wild Diet Pumpkin Pie here, Apple Pie, or other homemade gluten-free dessert). Unless you tell them, your family won’t even know it’s gluten-free, low sugar, and made with real ingredients. Depriving yourself of your favorite comfort foods won’t help, and there’s no reason to sabotage your gut with wheat. So relax and enjoy yourself. Plan ahead, then enjoy the process without anxiety or guilt.
Offer to Cook: If possible, offer to prepare a few dishes for the feast. That way, you know you’ll have something delicious and healthy to fill your plate. Maybe it’s your take on a classic, like Goji Cranberry Sauce… or something new, like Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake. As a bonus, your delicious home-cooked food could stop mom and dad from asking why you eat Wild!
Enjoy Yourself: Laughter and good vibes are contagious!
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HOW TO DRINK BOOZE WITHOUT GETTING FAT
If having an alcoholic drink or two is part of your holiday celebration, then by all means, go ahead. But remember these tips to keep it clean and to help you stay on track so you don’t sacrifice your hard-earned progress:
- Drink only the highest quality alcoholic beverages (steer clear from the “well” and mixed drinks). Avoid beer if possible, instead going for dry hard cider, dry red wine, or top quality liquor. You can find a list of my favorites here.
- Drink a glass of pure filtered water for each alcoholic beverage you consume.
- Limit yourself to 1 or 2 drinks a night and watch your carbs—you might feel hungry but it’s just the liquor talking.
- Avoid sugary mixers. Go for a club soda mixer, or even a kombucha cocktail instead.
- Supplement with activated charcoal before bed. Activated charcoal binds to the toxins (like leftover booze) and clears them from your system while you’re sleeping to help you avoid a hangover.
- Order a club soda on the rocks with a lime or lemon twist. You can enjoy your “cocktail” and no-one will be the wiser.
If you do find yourself going a little overboard, use those extra calories for good rather than letting them fuel the guilt-monster.
If you “accidentally” eat two heaping helpings of mashed potatoes or polish off the apple pie, use it to power a killer workout—take the nephews to the sled hill, hit the ski slopes, shovel the neighbor’s’ driveway, or hit the gym hard.
Knowing that your treats were used for a good cause will feel great in the end. You may even end up building some holiday muscle, rather than a Santa Belly!
WANT WILD DIET RECIPES TO HELP YOU BURN FAT?
If you want Paleo-friendly, low-sugar, low-carb, and truly delicious fat-burning holiday recipes, check out our Holiday Feast eCookbook. You’ll get it for free when you purchase the Fat-Burning Chef!
You’ll find recipes for a traditional holiday feast made according to The Wild Diet (and Paleo-friendly), including Maple Brined Turkey with Apple Sage Stuffing and Caramelized Onion Green Bean Casserole. Or if you want something new, there’s the Beef Tenderloin with Bordelaise, Garlic Mushrooms and Greens, and Decadent Chocolate Cake. PLUS some delicious gluten-free Paleo-friendly holiday desserts and drinks. Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll find:
Chai Spice Eggnog
Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake
Classic Mini Cheesecakes
Rosemary Almond Rolls
What holiday recipe, treat, or dish are you making Wild / Paleo / Keto this year? Share your favorite holiday meals and treats in the Comments below.