In the days before the gluttony begins, I want all of you to take a deep breath and remember that it’s okay to have some food porn in your life.
Here are some quick tips to help you keep off the influx of calories:
1. Pre-Thanksgiving workout– Take advantage of not having to go to work and get a high intensity workout. When pushing the anaerobic threshold to a high level you not only burn more calories throughout the day, you also set your body up to store carbs in the muscle more efficiently. Try this advanced circuit:
A1 Pull-ups or Lat Pulldown- 10×5 or 10 (respectively) 3010 0s
A2 Bar Bench- 10×10 3010 0s
A3 Squat- 10×15 2010 120s
2. Eat the meat: Thanksgiving is great because the main attraction is usually turkey, a lean, high protein bird. Start with a large portion of turkey. This will leave less room for all the other goodies at the table.
3. Eat breakfast: You may be thinking that a lot of food will be ingested later so I shouldn’t eat now. This is a bad idea. Not setting the blood sugar straight early will lead to disaster later. I recommend a meat and nut breakfast.
4. Mix ‘n’ match: To help reduce the glycemic load and fluctuations in blood sugar, eat protein and fat with carbs. By combining all three macronutrients, the digestion of sugars is slowed. Therefore, reducing the bodies response to sugar. For example, at dessert have full fat ice cream with pumpkin pie (gluten free crust of course).
5. Sleep: Sleep helps to restore the body’s natural rhythms which can help to reduce a cortisol response resulting in increased body fat around the abdominal area. Individuals who sleep less have a higher body fat percentage than those who sleep more. On average, the day after a poor night of sleep results in 300 more calories consumed.
6. Avoid processed foods: Processed foods cause all sorts of havoc on the body due to toxins, sugar and refined grains. There is also a thermic advantage to having real, whole foods. Meaning it takes more energy to break down whole foods than processed. There is also a better chance of consuming fiber with whole foods which helps digestion and blood sugar management. As a reminder, protein burns the most calories, followed by carbohydrates, then fat.
Also, protein and fat have a hunger curbing effect. Meaning they will trigger signals to the brain that you are getting full. Carbohydrates stimulate the hunger hormones to make you think you need to eat more.
Remember the 80/20 rule where if you are eating healthy 80% of the time, you can get away with some treats 20% of the time. This equates to 1-2 days per week of treating yourself.
Follow these tips through the holiday season to help keep off unwanted weight and to make the New Years resolution something more productive than loosing the 10 pounds you didn’t need to gain.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.