Beat the Holiday Bulge
This one doesn’t take a ton of work, nor is it complicated or science-y, but it for sure has the most profound effect on the greatest number of people. Eat until you are 80% full, then stop. Most of us don’t stop when we should! Try not putting all the food out on the table. Just put one serving on your plate and leave everything else in the kitchen or put it away before eating.
Sleep! There is strong link between sleep deprivation (anything less than 8.5 hours every 24 hours) and weight gain. The more sleep deprived you are, the more stress hormone, cortisol, you produce and this triggers appetite. Lack of sleep also affects the frontal cortex of the brain. This is the decision making center for the brain. Just one night of poor sleep can lead to poor decision making when it comes to food. As a matter of fact, since our hormone level of ghrelin is out of whack when sleep deprived, we actually crave foods that are high in sugar and carbs, but since the frontal cortex of the brain also controls reward, we never feel satisfied. Go ahead and have another donut… It won’t matter because you’ll never be satisfied! Try getting more than 8.5 hours of sleep and things will change.
Workout with intensity and sweat! Seriously, most people get into this cycle of poor sleep, overeating, holiday parties, and then we try and make it up with workouts that are sub par. What I mean by sub par is simply that you aren’t working hard enough. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you have to actually sweat to make it work. See last week’s blog on sweating and working out. The basics are as follows: A shorter, higher intensity workout will do so much more for you than something simple, easy and longer. Yoga and Pilates are great, but not for adaptation in the way that you are looking for. You will see weight loss, decreased body fat and increased performance.
Commit to doing a 24 hour fast every 2-3 weeks during the holiday season. First of all, numerous studies show this to be the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off. When we fast, growth hormone is secreted at a higher rate. Growth hormone has a strong link to fat oxidation or fat burning. A recent study found that growth hormone bursts went up 1300% in women during a 24 hour fast and 2000% in men.
Limit carb intake to 100 grams or less. Carb intake is not only associated with weight gain when we are at 150 grams per day or more, but it also is linked to high blood sugar levels and diabetes. For effective weight loss, you want to be between 50 and 100 grams per day. The thing I love about limiting carbs is that you really get to know what you are eating… There are 24 grams of carbs, on average, in an apple!
Gut health! A healthy gut is one of the biggest keys to being able to stave off cravings. The flora in my gut will actually determine what I’m craving. Take a prebiotic, which increases the type of gut flora, and a probiotic, which keeps your gut flora healthy and thriving. A healthy gut can lead to improved cognitive performance as well as weight loss. Some foods to include during the holiday season for gut health are fermented foods. Kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and Kombucha.
Eat greens, some lean proteins, healthy fats, limit fruit intake, only sprouted grains, and no sugar!
Limit alcohol! Understand the demand that it puts on the liver, kidneys, blood lipids, heart, and adrenals. Most importantly, if you have thyroid issues at all, then it’s a no go for you. The link between alcohol consumption and the conversion of T4 to T3, which increases metabolism, is now shot because the liver is busy detoxing the alcohol.
I hope that you will be able to incorporate some of these tips into your holiday season in order to stay healthy.