Holiday Diet Tips
Article written by Dave Slagle, General Manager, Paradise Fitness
Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season, a VERY hard time to stick to a diet! Halloween was an all out junk food binge for me! Cupcakes and cookies from CUP & SAUCER, and of course, my FAVORITE candy, SNICKERS bars (I ate a half bag of mini snickers bars). My personal indulgence aside, sticking to a healthful diet is possible! After years of eating a very bland pre-contest diet (for bodybuilding), I have learned that I can make it through the holiday season and maintain or even lose fat! The 'secret' is to plan whenever possible and always choose the most healthful foods.
This is the part where I could write an average article about nutrition and health.
- Take a quality vitamin and mineral supplement
- Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily
- Take an Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement with your carbohydrates
- Increase your dietary fiber intake with psyllium husk
- Cut down your intake of saturated fat
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Replace the starches in your diet with veggies
- Vary your caloric intake daily
- Eat nonfat dairy products
- Do not eat big meals before bedtime
However, while these are all excellent suggestions, most of you are already practicing them. Even if you do not follow that advice, most of you are already aware of it.
Therefore, what helpful advice can I give to fit, healthy, educated people?
The most basic advice is often the best. Maintain your usual routine. Do not skip your workouts. Drink more water. Just follow the suggestions listed above.
But there must be something else!
Adding some protein to your diet will have a direct thermodynamic effect on your metabolism. The translation of the last sentence is that protein metabolism is NOT energy efficient. Your body has to expend a lot of energy to break down the protein into amino acids for absorption. The thermodynamic effect is that you actually increase your metabolism by eating protein. However, increasing your protein intake does not give you carte blanche to attack the desert cart! What I do suggest is skipping the dessert and eating some more of a healthful entrée, like chicken, or TURKEY! Protein foods are generally more satiating and help to curb your appetite.
Some people find it helpful to eat at home before attending holiday gatherings. This allows them to control the types, portions and preparation of their food. As a bodybuilder, I used to carry a cooler of my food with me. It took a lot of discipline to watch everyone enjoying their meals while I ate yet another meal of broiled, boneless, skinless chicken breast and sweet potatoes. The average person can avoid that kind of suffering and just pay attention to the choices he or she makes. Eating a meal comprised of complex carbohydrates and quality protein can help you avoid holiday bingeing. Meal Replacement shakes would be another good choice.
It really comes down to intake and expenditure. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, you need to engage in some cardio-vascular exercise 3-4 times weekly and pay attention to your food choices. Exercising with weights builds muscle and increases your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you 'burn' at rest). There are many benefits to weight training (more than I have space to list), so you definitely should include it in your exercise routine. Making consistent healthful dietary choices, maintaining an exercise program and 'cheating' infrequently will help you achieve and maintain an ideal body fat percentage.
SO, WHAT ABOUT THE HOLIDAY PARTIES?
I mean you cannot turn down every goodie that is offered! Nevertheless, by maintaining a consistent workout program and consistent healthful meals, you will be able to avoid putting on extra fat! In addition, by maintaining a healthful diet, you are more likely to be satisfied with a single slice of pie.
It is okay to have some 'cheat days' throughout your diet, but the consistency of a healthful eating regimen will keep you on track. And that is the 'secret' to staying in shape. Plan your 'cheat days', maintain a healthful diet and when you eat out, order the boneless, skinless, broiled chicken breast and sweet potatoes, if that is not an option (I'm joking), simply order the most healthful choice that is offered.
And if you do 'cheat' more than a bit, remember to make a New Years resolution to cut back on the junk food, take a quality vitamin and mineral supplement, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily and work out a minimum of three times weekly at Paradise Fitness Center.