Holiday Weight Loss
Holiday Weight Loss
The holiday season is upon us! Break out the pumpkin spice lattes, turkey, stuffing, eggnog, holiday cookies, and peppermint flavored everything. Your waistline doesn’t stand a chance, right?
Not so fast. You CAN enjoy the holiday season and not gain weight. In fact, you can even LOSE weight over the holidays, if you play your cards right.
In this series of posts, I’ll detail exactly HOW you can set yourself up to lose weight (or at least avoid gaining weight) during the upcoming holiday season.
Part One: Controlling Your Energy Balance
The cold, hard truth is that weight gain and weight loss are determined solely by energy balance – how many calories you consume, compared to how many you burn through daily activity and exercise.
To lose weight, all you have to do is put yourself in a “calorie deficit,” meaning that you eat less than you burn. You can accomplish this one of two ways: eat fewer calories, or move more.
The real “magic” happens when you do BOTH. No, I don’t mean you should starve yourself and become a slave to the treadmill. I want you to enjoy the holidays, remember?
By choosing mostly nutrient-dense foods like lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, you’ll cut down your daily calorie intake. This leaves room for some peppermint-or-pumpkin-spice treats.
Figure out how many calories your body requires for weight maintenance, track your calories, and stick to a slight calorie deficit on most days.
To determine your maintenance calorie needs, multiply your bodyweight by 15. That number estimates your basal metabolic rate (BMR) or how many calories you need to stay alive, plus any activity you do throughout your day.
Eating roughly body weight x15 calories per day will allow you to maintain your current weight. You can expand this to bodyweight x14-16 to find a range that allows you to eat a little more on training days and a little less on rest days.
For instance, a 150-lb person would multiply 150×15 = 2250 calories per day. If we use the range of 150×14 and 150×16, they’d aim to eat 2400 calories on training days, versus 2100 calories on rest days since they don’t need as much fuel to support training.
The next step is to download a meal tracking app like Lose It to keep track of your calorie intake during the holidays.
Tracking will build awareness of how much you’re eating throughout the day and help you keep your energy balance in check.
Eat mostly lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are “nutrient-dense” while being relatively low in calories. That means you get a ton of nutrition (vitamins and minerals) without breaking the calorie bank.
Here’s a bonus: fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, which fills you up; protein is highly satiating, meaning it keeps you feeling full long after your meal. Talk about a one-two punch.
Stay tuned for Part Two in this series, where I’ll talk about the importance of being proactive (not reactive) with your holiday indulgences.