There is a cliché that the average person gains 10 pounds during the holiday season. While that exact number might not be entirely That’s right, according to research, it’s still common for people to put on a few extra pounds thanks to all those big meals, tasty treats, and adult beverages. Lucky for you, we’re here to share three ridiculously easy rules to help you keep the weight off during the holidays.
Unfortunately, some people become so terrified of gaining weight that they deny themselves all the fun and enjoyment. (We’re looking at you, sweet potato casserole and mint crinkle cookies!) This approach is flawed, because it’s “all or nothing”: either you fill up and get fat, or you eat nothing and be miserable. Worse yet, if they end up eating too much at one meal, they wake up the next day feeling sick, and then “ground themselves” with intense workouts.
Fortunately, there is a much better and more sustainable approach. By just following a few simple rules, you can enjoy the festive season, have an extra piece of cake, savor another glass of wine, and do it all guilt free. Read on for three tips to help you keep the weight off during this happy time of year. (No problem.)
Earn your sweets.
The holidays wouldn’t be a holiday without delicious cakes, cookies, pies and more. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to abstain; instead, I recommend that you “earn” your goodies with exercise.
For example, if you did a great workout, then congratulations: you’ve earned that piece of pumpkin pie you’ve been eyeing. But if you missed some workouts and spent all day on the couch, you should probably save that portion.
By exercising before you treat yourself, you prevent unwanted fat gains and actually increase the chances of those calories turning into muscle. Getting a fantastic workout burns a lot of stored energy (in the form of glycogen) and creates a huge demand for energy as your body craves nutrients, carbs, protein, etc. it really helps you refuel and recover.
Follow the 80/20 rule.
Many people step on the scale the day after Thanksgiving to see they’ve gained a few pounds, but let me emphasize that it’s impossible to gain that much fat in one day. It’s probably just the weight of the water (and other things). Within a few days, it will disappear.
Instead of worrying about a handful of meals you’ll have over the holiday season, focus on eating healthy and clean 80% of the time: eating lean protein, lots of vegetables, good carbs, and healthy fats, and avoiding processed junk food. If you do that, then you can waste the remaining 20% of the time and not worry.
After savoring that heavy meal with family and friends, you can return to your normal diet the next day with no impact on your body fat.
Stay consistent with training.
This year, nearly half of all Americans will travel during the holiday season, according to research from PwC. But while it’s fun to visit new places or see friends and family, traveling makes it much more difficult to maintain your normal exercise routine: you have to find a gym, find time to exercise, and even interrupt your schedule.
But that’s one more reason to exercise. Even if you can’t find a gym, there are still plenty of ways to get a good workout, burn calories, and avoid fat gain while you’re on the road. For example, you can do bodyweight exercises at your home or hotel, go for a neighborhood run, or ride a bike. You can even plan physical excursions during your vacation, like a hiking tour, ski trip, and more. All of this will make all the difference in keeping you fit and lean during the most wonderful time of the year.
Anthony J. Yeung
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5 day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony