Sunday, November 25, 2012

LOSE Weight, Don't Gain It During the Holidays


The average weight gain from Thanksgiving until January 2, when the month of culinary atonement begins, is seven pounds. Too many Christmas cookies lying around the office and too much alcohol at company parties, I presume.

However, I maintain you can maintain your current weight and even shed a few pounds during the next six weeks...and still go to all those parties! Remember, the cornerstone of the Meltdown weight loss plan is to graze, eating five small but healthy meals a day. When is that easier to do than during the holidays when good food (as well as bad) is everywhere?

Here's how to survive your Thanksgiving feast with waistline intact:

  1. Remember the Meltdown 40-40-20 rule.
    A healthy Meltdown meal is composed of 40 percent lean protein, 40 percent complex carbohydrates and 20 percent fat. This is the optimal chemical cocktail to jump start your lagging metabolism.

    Turkey without the skin is a lean protein. Yams without marshmallows, green beans without butter and mashed potatoes without too much gravy are all wonderful complex carbohydrates. There are plenty of healthy choices on the Thanksgiving menu if you look closely.

  2. Avoid sugar.
    I don't have to tell y'all, my faithful readers, that sugar is as addicting as cocaine. Do your best to avoid all sugar and aspartame at this meal. Leave the sugar out of the tea. Don't drink sodas. No wine or beer, if humanely possible. And, if your will power holds, skip dessert. (You should be so full by then you won't want dessert!)

  3. Eat a healthy breakfast if your Thanksgiving meal will be at lunch. Eat a healthy lunch if you're going to feast for supper.
    Portion control will be easier this way.

  4. Drink up to eight glasses of ice water Thanksgiving Day.
    Why iced? Because your body has to burn fat (yeah!) to heat the frigid liquid to body temperature. That takes calories. Besides, water will fill you up and helps you flush toxins.

  5. The Meltdown cheating rule:
    You can have one contraband substance every fourth day and not impact your weight loss program. I'm going to make next Thursday my cheat day and treat myself to one piece of pumpkin pie, no whipped cream. I'm going to enjoy it and not feel guilty!

  6. Work out before the big meal.
    My health club is open from 8 to 8 on Thanksgiving Day. I'll use the rowing machine and do some weight training while my turkey is in the oven. If your health club is closed, why not take the dog for a brisk walk? Even vacuuming the floors, shoveling snow or raking leaves can get your heart rate up.

    Working out up to 90 minutes before the meal will keep your metabolism raised for at least four hours. Your body will be able to process the meal more efficiently.

  7. If possible, graze.
    Even if your family sits down as one unit to eat Thanksgiving dinner, you can still nibble the minute you arrive. At my house the meal is a buffet. We graze on appetizers.
    We spend six hours together eating a little here, a little there. That is the best way to fuel your body because it removes the rollercoaster highs and lows caused by too much, then too little blood sugar.

  8. If you can handle caffeine, drink black coffee.
    If you look at the ingredient labels of most "diet aids," they are primarily caffeine. Caffeine causes your body to raise your basal metabolic rate, which in turn allows you to burn more fat. If you drink a cup of coffee with each holiday meal, that should stoke the fat-burning fires.

    Make sure the coffee is black, however. Cream and sugar negate the positive benefits of steaming java.

  9. If you're the chef, make sure the meal is a healthy one.
    Why clog arteries if you know better? 

    After Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties lie ahead. The same rules apply. There will always be at least one healthy thing to eat at any Christmas party even if it's just pretzels.

    Sadly, stress raises your metabolism. (Read my page about stress for more info.) If you get super stressed trying to do everything by Christmas, you may just lose weight in spite of yourself.... if you stay away from those *&(^%$ cookies!

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