How to Prevent the Holiday Weight Gain

Did you step on the scale this week and think "holy crap, what have I done?" If you have, that's okay. You're not alone if you're seeing some fluctuations with your weight as you get in the midst of the holiday season. It can be a hard thing to see happening, but you're not the only one experiencing it!

From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, it's scientifically proven that we gain about 5 pounds, probably less than you were thinking, right? But, it is also proven that that 5 pounds is not a weight that comes right off. In fact, those 5 pounds you typically never lose. So, how much weight have you put on over the last couple years? Is it at least 5 pounds every year? Perhaps those 5 pounds are coming from your holiday routine!

But have no fear! I am here to help you prevent that 5 pound weight gain this year! There are 5 key areas I want you to focus on this year; let's jump in!

 

Self care

Self care is one of the first things we push aside during the holidays. We have so may obligations and things to do that we use the excuse that we can't make time for us to sit down and read a book or just relax. December is when a large amount of mental illnesses get diagnosed because of all the stress and anxiety that come with the holidays. This year will be different for you. I want you to look at your daily routine; do you find yourself endlessly shifting through store ads to find the best deal, or always running out to the mall to go shopping, scrolling through social media or watching every Christmas movie that ever existed but then find yourself saying you don't have enough time? If so, we've got to change somethings. You get the same 24 hours in a day that I do, you have to use them wisely. If you find that scrolling through Instagram only makes you upset, then let's set a time every night that you'll be putting your phone away. How about making time to read a book? Getting up 5 minutes earlier every morning and journaling. Make a gratitude journal. Say a prayer. Something that can help ground you every day and not make it feel like you're running around like a chicken with no head. Stress prevents us from losing weight, it raises our cortisol levels and the last priority that our body has is to lose weight. If you can de-stress nightly, get it done!

 

Activity

Activity is another big one that we always say we don't have time for, during the holidays and the regular times of the year. We constantly say we "don't have time" to get our butts to the gym or get moving in some way. Once again, you have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else does. Use your time wisely. What about Christmas shopping while you're on the bike? What about asking your coworker to go on a walk with you at lunch rather than watch Netflix? Can you get up and get moving every hour? Even if it's just to walk and get a drink of water? When we can get and stay active, it's a lot easier to keep the weight off during the holidays.

 

Stick to your Routine

When we are stressed and have a lot of things going on, it's so easy for us to ditch our routines completely because "we are too busy!". Of course we want to stay as active as we can, but there's more to routine than just that! When we are busy, it's easy for us to push off eating until later because we will be less busy then, but remember your body loves routine. When we can find a routine that we can stick to, we work best. So, if you know you have to run out the door early for an appointment, don't forget to have breakfast, pack a snack with you, make lunch and plan for dinner. If we stay on top of our eating schedule and continue to honor our hunger, you shouldn't run into times when you're feeling ravenous and eat everything in sight. Plan your meals ahead of time and stick through it! Same with sleep, get to bed at your usual times! You need your sleep to be able to perform at the top of your game. Remember 7 to 9 hours nightly is key.

 

Navigating the Party Spread

This is where it can all go wrong for most people! The first place I tell my clients to start is well before you get to the party. Just because you're going to a party and you're expecting some delicious food to be there, you still need to eat throughout the day leading up to it! If you skip all your meals and snack leading up to the party, you'll arrive feeling ravenous and end up eating way more than you thought you would. Start your day off normal, eat breakfast, have lunch, maybe a snack and teach the party like any other meal.

With appetizers, put what you'd like to eat on a little plate and walk away from the spread. It's easy for us to sit down, at the spread and mindlessly eat everything, but if we can portion out what we will have and walk away from the spread to eat it, we will be more mindful with how much we are eating. Grab the appetizers that have multiple food groups in them to get the most out of them, nutrient wise!

At dinner, don't feel like you need to pile everything on your plate all at once. Figure out what you'd like to have, start with the vegetables, have your protein then go with your starch last. The vegetables will provide you with fiber to help fill you up fast, the protein will keep you full and ending with the carbs will help to make sure you don't over do it! Remember, there is always left overs, so don't be afraid to pass on some things and bring it home for later.

For dessert, rather than making a sampler platter of a bunch of different options, pick one thin you're dying to have a give yourself the full size! You'll be more satisfied having the full serving, without going overboard on desserts!

 

Hydration

Lastly, hydration is a MUST! We often bloat a lot around the holidays because we are eating more high sodium foods and drinking less water, so our bodies try to hold on to as much water as it can. To prevent that holiday bloating, your should be aiming for at least half your weight in ounces of water every day! It will help flush the excess sodium and sugar out, keeping you hydrated and minimizing the bloat factor! I know its cold out, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't stay hydrated!

 

So there you have it, my 5 key things you should be focusing on this year to help you prevent the holiday weight gain! Practice self care, stay hydrated, get active, keep your routine and navigate the spreads wisely!

I want to know, how do you handle the holidays? Do you go in confidently or feel panicked all the time?

Self Care that is Free!

Self Care

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

It's no lie that the "treat yourself" movement is huge right now. I've seen people whip out their  credit cards and spend $500 at target on crap they don't need and yell TREAT YO'SELF!

But, in my opinion, that type of treating yourself, buying more junk you don't need, don't help to bring you piece of mind, solace, or help you relax, doesn't get us anywhere near calm. If anything, it creates more anxiety over how you're going to pay for it.

Treat yourself and self care doesn't have to mean you're throwing your money down the drain on things that don't serve you from feeling and being a better version of yourself.

Self care means to listen to your body. It means caring for yourself, inside and out.

So, when can we practice self care? I would say daily! If you can do something to help you wind down, get back to your purpose, de-stress and find peace, then let's do it daily.

If your schedule is hectic, I get it. Even if you can set aside 15 minutes a week, its better than neglecting yourself.

Here are some ideas!
Journaling
Reading a book
Meditation
Take a Nap
Take a Bath
Workout
Go on a Walk
Cook your favorite meal
Drink a glass of tea
Make a special coffee
Go to bed early

Really, it can be anything that you love to do!

Self care is SUPER important when you're on a weight loss journey as well.

It's so easy for us to get lost in the pursuit of it all, to get sucked in tracking, over exercising, and have tunnel vision that we forget about what makes us happy and lessens our stress. If our cortisol levels are high, the body does not prioritize weight loss.

Control your stress, practice self care and believe yourself.

You can do it! I am rooting for you!

How long have you been trying to lose weight?

How long have you been trying to lose weight but not succeeding?

Has it only been a recent endeavor for you? Maybe within the past 6-12 months or so?

Or has it been years? Maybe 5 years or 10 years?

Or as long as you can remember?

I had a new client this week tell me that she has perpetually been trying to lose weight for the last 10 years. The last 10 years of her life has been dedicated to eating less to hopefully weight less.

I've had clients say that they have been trying to lose weight since they were a child. They were put on weight loss drugs before they turned 10. Their families put them on diets to get them to lose weight. They were told they needed to lose weight, even before they could fully mature into their bodies.

How sad, really, to be told by your family that you need to lose weight at such a young age and to be put on medications while you're still growing.

The biggest mistake I see people making, as well as diet culture in general making, is spreading the belief following it that you need to eat only 1200 calories to lose weight.

For reference, that's how many calories a 12 year old should be eating, not a full grown man or woman.

So, when we spend YEARS at 1200 calories or less trying to lose weight, our bodies have to make some changes. We are designed to live off a lot more than 1200 calories a day. so when we under feed it to a max of 1200 calories a day, we need to make some changes.

What are those changes? Our bodies become REALLY good, I mean crazy good, at sparing as much energy it can, cycling back our calorie burn and storing as much fat as possible. That's why you're not seeing any weight loss at 1200 calories a day and also why you're seeing a weight gain.

Our metabolisms literally think you're starving. And when we go into starvation mode, we start storing as much energy as we can.

So, what should we do? I know this will be a controversial answer, but start eating more. Focus still on eating nutrient dense foods, but start eating more. Add in about 200 calories every 2-3 weeks until you get to a maintenance, level, typically 1800-2600 depending on who you are.

That could be adding in a snack sometime or increasing to size of one of you meals. Really, that is where you should start.

Once you get to a maintenance level, you really should stay there for 3-4-5-6 months to help your body heal and recognize that you're not trying to starve yourself. Need help with that? Send me a email!

But really, those are the first steps.
That's it!

How long have you been dieting? Are you stuck in a rut and only eating 1200 calories? Let's change that.  Let me know in the comments your thoughts!

What is the Nourished with Emily 1:1 Nutrition Coaching Program?

What is Nourished with Emily and the 1:1 Nutrition Coaching program?

I get asked that question a lot, on Instagram and on Facebook and even in my emails!

The first time I was asked that, I really had to think, too.

It's certainly not a diet, no. Because diets are too aggressive, restrictive and don't really foster a lifestyle change.

It's not a challenge, no. Because challenges have an end point and nutrition is really for life, not 30/60/90 days.

It's not a meal plan, no. Because meal plans are strict and don't allow for you to always eat what you like.

So, if it's none of those, then what exactly is it?

 

It's a program build on habit changes and fostering a new, healthier lifestyle that can last a lifetime. It's learning how to eat without feeling restricted. It's eating foods you love and still seeing results. It's a program built for you for lasting results.

 

Watch this short video and see what I mean!