Last Updated on November 17, 2022
Today I’m sharing, 7 easy tips to avoid holiday weight gain – without deprivation – so you can stay on track with your fitness and health goals.
But first, let’s talk turkey. The holidays are a special time of year meant to be enjoyed and celebrated with friends and family… and celebrations always include food and drinks. Literally always. And thank God, too because who doesn’t like good food and drinks?
But it’s easy to go off the rails when good food & drinks are involved… especially during the holidays.
Between the drinks, dinner, and desserts, calories consumed on holidays add up quickly.
According to the Caloric Control Council, the average Thanksgiving holiday dinner contains 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. That’s more than twice the daily number of calories and three times the daily recommended fat intake.
That’s just dinner. When you include drinks, leftovers, or multiple celebrations calories add up quickly, resulting in unwanted weight gain and a hit to the immune system.
Yikes! But who can blame us?? I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite food holiday. I want all. the. things. And no, veggies would not be my first pick.
That’s why I wanted to share my top tips to indulge on Thanksgiving – guilt-free – while still enjoying your favorite foods… just without the unwanted holiday weight gain and a huge hit to your immune system.
Together these tips will help biohack your body to:
- Feel fuller, faster with less food (saving you hundreds, if not thousands of calories)
- Avoid inflammation, hormone imbalances, and cravings
- Enjoy the holidays (and food) without bloating, fatigue, unnecessary guilt, or feeling deprived and restricted.
- Boost metabolism, mood & immunity when it matters most
These are the exact same tips I’ve been using for years to enjoy the holidays (and my favorite foods) and avoid bloat, fatigue, binging, and weight gain! They’re the same tips I share with clients to help them stay on track, too.
Now I’m sharing them with you. Woo!
After you’ve had a chance to check it out, leave me a comment and let me know what tip helped you the most.
7 Easy Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Tip 1) Start your Day with Fiber and Protein
Protein doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. So it’ll help you feel full, prevent food cravings/energy crashes, and overeating later in the day. It also helps boost metabolism.
Always pair high-fiber foods (veggies) with proteins. The fiber from veggies will help digest the protein digest better. This also helps prevent constipation which is VERY important when you’re eating a larger-than-normal meal.
My favorite protein-filled breakfast ideas include:
- Scrambled organic eggs with greens & veggies of your choice (arugula, with onions & tomatoes, is my go-to)
- 2-egg Omelets loaded with omelet veggies like peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, asparagus, etc.
- Frittatas – A frittata is like a baked omelet or a crustless quiche. Baking eggs make them rise, so you get the same amount of calories for more volume. Plus, the oven will be on anyway… if you’re cooking the turkey. So why not?
- Easy Egg Muffins
- A protein shake with my all-time favorite protein green protein powder and collagen (Collagen is my secret weapon! It helps heal and seal the gut and prevents issues caused by inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, and sugar.)
I make my frittatas with 6-8 eggs (depending on how many veggies I use and how deep the pan is) and whatever omelet veggies & herbs I have on hand. Once you mix everything together, pour the egg mixture into a glass pie pan and bake at 350 for 30-ish minutes until the egg is cooked completely. Frittata veggies ideas include: mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, black olives, spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions, etc.
It’s so good and will keep you feeling full for hours.
Tip 2) Exercise
It’s very easy to rack up hundreds of extra calories during Thanksgiving. You’re literally surrounded by tons of delicious dishes that are loaded with starch, sugar, and fat, for a few days.
Since you already know you’re going to be eating – and should because duh, it’s the holidays! – exercising helps burn off the extra calories you’ll be having before you have them. Exercise also helps boost immunity & with stress management which is also important – especially during the holidays.
Sneak in a quick gym session, go for a walk or run outdoors (weather permitting), or try any one of my workouts for women before you indulge.
Walking outside or playing a sport with loved ones is always fun, too! If you’re staying in a hotel, you can use their gym, run up and down the stairs in the stairwell, or outside.
I always get outdoors to get away from food, booze, and (sometimes) my family.
Exercise helps regulate mood, hormones, digestion, and manage stress making it a LOT easier to feel better and enjoy the holidays more. So don’t skip this important step. If you need workout inspiration I’ve got you covered with my extensive collection of targeted workouts for women.
Tip 3) Fill up with Fluids to Trick Your Brain into Feeling Full Faster
It takes your brain about 20 minutes to register that you’re full. That means you could physically be full after 10 minutes of eating but your brain won’t say “put the fork down” for 10 more minutes.
Ever keep eating even though you felt full? That’s why!
The trick to making your brain accurately register that you’re full is to take up volume in your stomach before you start eating – without eating.
Drinking water before you eat helps your brain get a head start on feeling full before you fill up, without any calories.
Drinking water physically takes up space in your stomach which literally prevents overeating, too. I recommend having at least 1, 8 oz. glass of water before you eat. Drink lots of water with your meal, too.
You’ll feel full faster on less food. By the time you pee, you’ll feel satisfied and not overly stuffed and uncomfortable like everyone else. This also helps aid with digestion, too.
This helps you feel less guilty when you’re digging in the leftovers later. I see you. 😉 Repeat this again when you do! It really helps!
BONUS POINTS: Add fresh lemon or lime juice to your water. Sour tastes (from the citrus) trick the brain into thinking you’re poisoned. This forces the brain to subsequently stop urges to eat because it wants you to avoid consuming more poison. But you’re not being poisoned… You’re simply boosting your water/tea with vitamin C and real fruit flavor. This tip works best with fresh lemon and lime juice ONLY… and no, that junk in a plastic lemon doesn’t count.
I always cut up lemon and lime wedges and serve them so guests can throw them in their water or tea.
Tip 4) Enjoy Soup as an App
Start your Thanksgiving meal with soup. Soup is great for a few reasons.
1) It takes time to eat so your brain will have more of a head start to register you’re full.
2) Soup is liquid so it’ll pass through you faster but makes you feel fuller with less food and less strain on the digestive system.
3) Soup is full of fiber & nutrients**… Fiber makes the body feel full faster, too. Healthy vegetable soups are full of immune & metabolism-boosting micronutrients, too.
I recommend this delicious Pumpkin Soup to kick-start Thanksgiving dinner. It’s like the Pumpkin Spice Latte of soups… I make it for my dinner or take a vat of it as a hostess gift when I’m a guest. Everyone loves it. It’s low in calories but loaded with vitamins and fiber, too! It’ll fill you up without filling you out and doesn’t put a big strain on the digestive system, either.
I make a gigantic batch so I’ll have plenty for the weekend to fill up on instead of leftovers.
Tip 5) Moderate Moderation with the 80/20 Rule
Make 80% of your plate protein and veggies with a solid 20% dedicated to the cheesy, starchy, sweet, bread-based, buttery, starchy (potato) foods.
That means 80% of your plate will be protein, green beans, corn, carrots, and/or whatever other proteins and veggies your family enjoys during the holidays.
The protein and fiber will get you feeling full on the fly and help balance out the blood sugar-boosting effects of the carb-rich yumminess on your plate.
Tip 6) Make Healthier Substitutions
A lot of party and seasonal holiday dishes and drinks default to the bliss bite (or sip) category. Sweet, savory, buttery sauces, salads, gravies, sides, and desserts, are all considered ‘good stuff.’
You can easily ‘have your cake and eat it too’ by making smart substitutions to cut calories, fat, and sugar, that won’t affect the flavor.
These smart swaps will help keep you light and lean instead of feeling lethargic. Plus, they’re anti-inflammatory, so you won’t feel as bloated and fatigued. They’ll also keep your hormones and gut-microbiome balanced, too.
To ensure you get the healthiest ingredients, always opt for organic, non-GMO versions when available.
Turkey – One 3-oz serving of light or white meat typically contains 140 calories and 3 grams of fat. Dark meat has about 160 calories and 7 grams of fat. Skip the skin. The skin adds another 15-20 calories and 1 gram of fat to every bite. Basting the turkey with chicken broth instead of pan drippings cuts calories and will make your bird juicier, too. Use fresh herbs and spices to add flavor without trace calories. Herbs & spices help trick the brain into feeling fuller faster, too.
Stuffing – An average 1/2-cup serving typically contains 180 calories and 9 grams. That serving is approx. the size of a tennis ball FYI. Swap butter for chicken broth and save up to 50 calories per serving. Use whole grain or gluten-free bread (breadcrumbs). This will help you avoid inflammation and blood sugar spikes (and cravings later). You can also boost nutrient content by adding more veggies like; onions, water chestnuts, carrots, and celery. Veggies act as a filler that adds volume without calories and also adds more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, the whole grains & veggies have fiber that will help you digest better and feel more full, faster for far less calories. #winning An easy way to incorporate this tip is to double the veggies your recipe calls for and buy an organic, whole grain, or gluten-free option of bread(crumbs).
Mashed Potatoes – Have approx. 220 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving from butter, cream, and/or milk. Swap for organic options or unsweetened, plain nut milk alternatives, when applicable. You can buy it – I recommend carrageenan-free options always or you can make your own nut milk. Add flavor with herbs and plain, organic Greek Yogurt… it tastes just like sour cream but with protein. You can also make mashed cauliflower as a potato alternative to boost fiber and nutrients – and cut carbs and calories.
Sweet Potatoes – Just one ½ cup serving of candied sweet potatoes has about 300 calories. The brown sugar and marshmallows add tons of sugar to an otherwise fat-fighting friendly sweet potato. Try serving baked sweet potatoes instead and give your guests the option to add their own brown sugar, butter, marshmallows, and other toppings to taste. A ½ cup of baked sweet potato will save you over 150 calories per serving. Plus, having a sweet potato ‘topping bar’ will make you look like a domestic goddess. It’s way easier to bake potatoes than it is to make a casserole, too.
Green Bean Casserole – One 1/2-cup serving typically contains 120 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 550 milligrams of sodium. Use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. You’ll save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat by using the reduced-fat version. Dilute the soup with bone broth, to cut calories without sacrificing flavor.
Gravy – Gravy has about 100 calories and 4 grams of fat in 2 tablespoons. You probably already skim the layer of fat off of the top before serving… but if you add a few ice cubes, more fat will harden and you can scoop up to 2 times more fat without affecting the flavor.
Dessert – Pumpkin-flavored anything, cakes, and cookies are delicious… Yes. These are the things we crave. But, they also have a lot of sugar, 1 serving can have as much as 50 grams. Exercise will help hedge the calories, but all that sugar will trigger your body to store fat.
If you’re baking, use your favorite natural, calorie-free sugar substitute, like stevia or monk fruit instead of sugar. Measure it the same way you would regular sugar to save 440 calories for every 1/2 cup of sugar. Pumpkin pie has about 245 calories and 13 fat grams a slice. Indulge by eating the filling and leaving the crust and whipped cream behind. You’ll shave approximately 112 calories and 7.5 grams of fat off if you skip the crust and cream.
Check out this post for some more healthy dessert ideas.
Tip 7) CLEANSE TO PURGE TOXINS & PREVENT CRAVINGS
After the holidays, I recommend my Reset Cleanse! It helps purge toxins, reduces bloat, inflammation, and helps get rid of cravings quickly.
You can lose up to 10 pounds with my Reset Cleanse, too. I always do a mini Reset for 3 days after the Thanksgiving weekend to drop weight, boost immunity & digestion, and flatten my stomach out.
I recommend it because it helps boost immunity & metabolism to help you reverse and continue to avoid holiday weight gain and illness, too.
I hope these tips help you navigate the holidays and avoid weight gain.
Which tip was most helpful? Let me know in the comments.
Big Love and Happy Holidays,
Your Coach and Biggest Cheerleader
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