22 Essential Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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Many people experience weight gain during the holidays. With the return of colder weather, comfy sweaters and family gatherings it’s easy to pack on a few pounds. Please tell me I’m not alone here.

But you can still enjoy the holidays and avoid holiday weight gain by following these essential tips.

22 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1. Eat a protein-rich snack before you go out.

If you arrive at a holiday party famished you’re likely to overeat. Avoid mindless snacking by choosing a healthy snack, such as the one of the following:

  • Greek yogurt and berries
  • a handful of healthy fat-rich nuts, such as almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts
  • an apple with peanut butter, or other nut butter
  • a protein shake, like My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • string cheese
  • jerky
  • hummus and veggies

For more healthy snack options, check out Top 20 Best Healthy Snacks.

2. Stay active.

Many families enjoy sitting around and watching parades, Christmas music specials or ballgames during the holidays.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with these traditions, all this inactivity can lead to weight gain. This is especially true if we’re also eating too much rich food (1)

Rather than lounging around all day, consider:

  • taking a family walk, either outside or inside a mall
  • going ice skating
  • building a snowman with your kids
  • going sledding

These activities will burn calories and keep you fit while giving you the opportunity to bond with loved ones.

3. Pay attention to portion sizes

With all the delicious foods prepared during the holidays, it can be tempting to overeat. But, people who eat larger portion sizes tend to gain weight more than those who don’t (2). Makes sense, right?

Read food labels to discern correct portion sizes. Use measuring cups and spoons to measure your food.

4. Get adequate sleep.

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain and a slowed metabolism (3, 4)? When we don’t sleep enough we tend to eat more and exercise less. Our hunger hormone levels increase and this raises calorie intake.

Read 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight for helpful sleeping advice.

5. Don’t hang out near the food at a party.

If you linger by the delicious dishes and desserts, the temptation to indulge is greater. But if you step away from the food and focus more on talking to people you’ll save calories, and you just might have more fun.

This tip reminds me of the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind”. The same thought applies to your pantry at home. Throw out the junk food so it’s not there tempting you to eat it.

6. Keep stress under control.

The holidays are stressful sometimes. There are people to see, presents to buy and wrap and recipes to make. But it’s important to keep our stress levels under control.

When we are chronically stressed, our levels of cortisone go up. This can cause us to eat more and gain weight (5).

Focus on activities that reduce stress, such as exercise and deep breathing techniques. And for more about reducing stress read 5 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax.

Also, I found a great app that helps you focus on reducing stress. It’s called Calm.

avoid holiday weight gain
Sharing healthy foods at holiday gatherings is fun!

7.  Prepare a healthy dish to share.

Bringing a healthy dish to holiday gatherings can give you something healthy to eat even if everything else is rich or sugar-laden. This can help you keep your healthy eating goals in check.

It also gives others the opportunity to try a delicious and healthful recipe!

8. Use a smaller plate.

Using large plates often leads us to consume more calories. If not kept in check, this can lead to weight gain (6). Using a small plate helps you control portion sizes and reduce overeating.

9. Avoid processed food.

This includes most foods in packages, boxes or bags. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients. And most have added unhealthy fats, sugar and preservatives.

10. Keep a food diary.

Write down everything you eat or use an app to help you.

If you’re like me, I often underestimate how much I eat in a day.  Keeping a food diary helps me stay on track with my goals and be more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth.

My favorite tracking app is MyFitnessPal. You may want to try it.

11. Weigh yourself weekly.

Okay, so there are conflicting viewpoints when it comes to weighing yourself. Some people weigh a few times a week. Some never.

It’s good to keep in mind that weight fluctuations are normal day-to-day. But, many people find it helps them stay accountable and makes them more aware of their progress if they weigh weekly (7).

12. Watch your beverage and alcohol intake.

Soda, juice, alcohol and other beverages are full of empty calories and sugar. These factors contribute to weight gain (8).

The best thing to drink? You guessed it….water! (See number 16.)

13. Take smaller bites and chew your food thoroughly.

Eliminate distractions, such as electronics, and eat mindfully, savoring each delicious bite (9).

14. Keep a consistent workout routine.

Stick to your regular fitness routine as much as possible. Consistent training produces better results. Are you lacking motivation? Reading 3 Ways To Get Motivated And Stay Motivated To Work Out can help.

And that leads me to tip, #15.

15. Stay positive even if you get off track.

Don’t beat yourself up or stress about it. Simply restart your commitment a healthy life and get back on track. Simply focus on your health and fitness goals and keep moving forward with your plan.

It might help to use Motivational Quotes And Power Phrases.

avoid holiday weight gain
Lemon water is refreshing and healthy.

16. Drink a glass of water before meals and snacks.

Sometimes we think we’re hungry when our body simply needs water. Drinking water fills us up and helps prevent overeating (10).

Read 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water to learn more.

17. Leave a few bites of food on your plate.

Are you a member of the “clean plate club”? It’s okay to admit it, I used to think I had to clean my plate too.

Try leaving a few bites of food on your plate. You probably won’t even miss them and the calories you’ve saved add up and can help prevent weight gain.

18. Eat loads of veggies.

Filling up with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits can help prevent obesity (11). They’re filled with vital nutrients and vitamins as well as healthy fiber.

19. Lift weights.

Building muscle is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.

A great way to build muscle is by doing a kettlebell workout. You can check out 20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout to learn more.

20. Fill up on fiber.

Eating more fiber fills you up faster which can prevent you from eating as much and gaining weight (12).

Fiber-rich foods include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • legumes
  • whole grains.

21. Buddy up.

Find a friend who has similar health goals and give each other accountability. Having someone to work out or swap health recipes with can help you stay on track.

22. Avoid sugar and simple carbs.

Eating too much sugar is a common cause of weight gain and obesity (13).

When you come face to face with the desserts this holiday season, focus on selecting only your favorites and leaving the rest. This will save you from sugar overload and help keep your blood sugar in a manageable range.

For more on the dangers of sugar check out 20 Reasons Why Refined Sugar Is Bad For Your Health.

avoid holiday weight gain
22 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (INFOGRAPHIC)

What are ways you try to stay healthy during the holidays?

Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!


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4 Essentials Before You Start A Health Or Fitness Program

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For most of us, there is a breaking point, a lightbulb moment. A moment when we decide the way we are living isn’t good for us. We want to change, make some thing better of ourselves, feel better as a result. When we go through this transformative experience, it can feel extremely exciting as we contemplate all the positives that will come as a result.

However, there’s a downside to this excitement, as you delight in contemplating how different your life will be when you embark on a lifestyle change. This applies whether you’re planning to improve your personal fitness, or experimenting with eating plans or intermittent fasting. Before you begin on your road to health or fitness improvement, there are four essential things you need to do and keep in mind — so you have the very best chance of success.

4 Essentials Before You Start A Health Or Fitness Program

1. Arm Yourself With Information

If health and diet is your target, then you need to understand any changes you’re going to make. Don’t ever just read about a new food and diet from one source; you need multiple accounts, preferably with scientific and nutritional backing. It also helps to subscribe to forums for those who eat the way you intend to, so you can learn real-user experience of what an eating plan is like.

If fitness is your target, then browse through the likes of fitnessmusthaves.com, watch YouTube videos from fitness gurus, and take time to learn about the different kinds of exercise you should be doing. The more you know about what you’re doing and why, the easier it will be to stick to your plan.

2. Speak To A Trained Professional

For health or weight loss efforts, you’re going to want to talk to your doctor. You don’t have to solicit their advice on what to do, but you should at least have them okay the choice that you’re making. There might be legitimate reasons why you shouldn’t embark on a certain eating plan that are related to your personal health. For example, diabetics should avoid a diet that’s high in fruit.

For fitness goals, a single session with a personal trainer will help you find the right path. When you know you’re on the right track, you can continue on your own initiative.

3. Start Slowly

When you first come to plan a fitness regimen, you can be so excited to see your health and fitness improve that you dive straight into a difficult and rigorous plan. This is understandable, but it’s also a surefire way to injure yourself — which could cause you to lose your enthusiasm quickly. Always start gently and build up the intensity as your fitness and stamina improve.

4. Strategize For Upcoming Events

Do you have a holiday coming up? A stressful time at work? A house move? If the answer to these — or any other significant life events — is “yes”, then you need to think how you’re going to navigate your new fitness plans around such events. Strategize for the near future so you don’t have to drop your routine for a few weeks. It’s far easier to work around than have to start right back at the beginning again.

When you have the above four issues ironed out, you can begin this exciting change to your life with the greatest chance of success.


What tips would you add when starting a new health or fitness program? What helps you stay on track?

Leave your comments below in the comment section. Your opinion matters to me!


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18 Ways To Lose Weight Faster: Proven Weight Loss Tips

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Can you guess America’s number one New Year’s Resolution year after year? If you guessed losing weight you’re 100% correct!

So what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off?

Many believe the key to weight-loss is burning more calories than you eat. But many times it is not so simple. Sure, this works for some people, but often there are other factors to consider, including toxins, motivation, time, health, lifestyle, genetics, and thyroid problems.

Additionally, the quality and types of food we eat can affect whether our bodies tend to shed extra weight or hold on to those last 10 pounds.

I can relate to the weight loss ups and downs because I’ve experienced them at different seasons in my life.

After four pregnancies in six years time, with all the weight changes that come with pregnancy, plus breastfeeding all four babies, my body went through many transformations.

But being a full-time mama to four kiddos under the age of six didn’t leave time for anything outside of prepping and cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, reading to, cuddling and playing with the babies and caring for their needs 24/7.

And I would do it all over again because our children are precious to me and I cherish those times we spent together when they were little.

Being intentional about fitness and eating right was easier when we had our first two babies, but after that it became such a juggling act that most days I was happy to get a shower and brush my teeth. Maybe you can relate? And a good night’s sleep did not come until  later.

I would try to fit in the occasional walk or run and eat healthy as much as possible. But it was a challenge. Some days more than others.

But my story is just one of many examples of challenges we face in life that can make it harder to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight.

Sometimes we simply need tools to help us meet our goals. If you’re trying to lose weight and have plateaued or just need a boost along your weight loss journey here are some tips that can help accelerate your weight loss.

18 Ways To Lose Weight Faster:

1. Drink a glass of water before each meal.

Our bodies function more efficiently with plenty of purified water. Drinking water helps with the digestion process. The general recommendation is to drink 8 8-ounce glasses per day, or 2 liters, but depending on your size and activity level you might need a slightly different amount. Also, adding lemon to your water can give you some pretty amazing health benefits. To learn more about lemon water you may want to read: 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water.

2. Include protein with your meals and snacks.

Protein can help you lose weight naturally by reducing hunger pangs and boosting your metabolism.

3. Fill up on fiber-rich vegetables, fruits and other foods.

Eating plenty of fiber fills you and may cut your appetite. Examples of high-fiber foods include:

lose weight faster
Blackberries and other high-fiber foods fill you up and help keep hunger pangs away.
  • blackberries
  • flaxseeds
  • beans
  • avocados
  • almonds
  • figs
  • chia seeds
  • quinoa
  • artichoke
  • acorn squash

4. Get a good night’s sleep.

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can cause you to gain weight? Sleep deprivation disturbs your body’s balance of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate hunger and fullness.

If you have trouble winding down at night, try taking a hot bath or shower. How much sleep should you be getting? The average adult needs 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.

5. Only buy healthy whole food.

Stay away from pre-packaged foods that have a long list of ingredients. A long ingredient list usually indicates many artificial additives, preservatives and other harmful chemicals which can wreak havoc on our bodies.

You might also want to consider detoxing to help your system clear the toxins we’re all exposed to. Here are 15 Simple Strategies To Detox Naturally.

6. Find opportunities to move your body throughout the day.

Being sedentary is linked to all sorts of health conditions, including depression, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Plus, the more you move the more calories you burn. Some examples you may want to try are

  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • parking further away from your destination so you can log the extra steps
  • doing crunches (or other exercise) while you watch TV
  • using a standing desk at work instead of sitting in a chair all day

7. Fill up on healthy soups.

Here are some soup recipes you might like to try. They are quite satisfying and lower in calories than other options.

And if you want to go for the double whammy and detox while your filling up on delicious soup, you may enjoy my Delicious Detox Vegetable Soup.

8. Eat nuts.

Nuts are a great on-the-go snack and fill you up. The healthy fats in nuts keep you satiated. My personal favorite is pecans. They’re so rich and delicious! Other healthy options include walnuts, almonds and pistachios.

9. Drink whey protein.

It has many health benefits  and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Just make sure it is all-natural and does not contain harmful sweeteners, like Splenda or Aspartame.

This is our favorite whey protein powder.

10. Eat spicy foods.

They can fire up your metabolism, causing you to burn more calories.

Salsa, curry, peppers, horseradish and many Asian stir fry recipes contain plenty of heat to spice up your taste buds.

11. Chew your food well before swallowing.

We’ve all heard this before but it works, so it’s worth repeating. Chewing your food well takes more time which gives your brain time to process feeling full. This allows you to eat what you need but not more.

12. Eat your meals on a small salad plate instead of a typical dinner plate.

If you’re like most Americans, including myself, you tend to fill your plate with food. So if your plate is smaller, it makes sense that you’ll be eating less.

13. Keep a food diary.

Writing down everything you eat makes you more aware of your caloric intake, as well as whether you’re eating enough fiber, protein, and essential vitamins.

My favorite way to keep track of what I eat each day is myfitnesspal.com. I use the app on my phone. I also love that it syncs with my Fitbit so I don’t miss anything important.

14. Avoid white foods, such as white flour, white sugar, white bread and white rice.

They can dramatically alter your blood sugar and cause weight gain (which, of course, is the opposite of weight loss).

15. Drink green tea.

It has substances that cause fat cells to release fat, especially with exercise. How cool is that? Plus, green tea is so refreshing and delicious! I have a cup each afternoon.

Also, Kombucha is fermented green tea. I just learned how to make it and am loving this flavorful, probiotic-rich tea!

16. Include full-fat foods in your diet.

This includes grass-fed beef, nuts, coconut, eggs and avocados.

And don’t worry, studies have proven that (despite what we may have been told for years) eating saturated fat does not make us fat and does not cause heart disease (1).

In case you haven’t heard a low-fat, high-carb diet is bad for you and has been repeatedly proved ineffective (2, 3).

17. Drink coffee!

It speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories (4).

You may want to try Healthy Coffee Drink (With Coconut Oil).

18. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IM) is a simple strategy to boost your weight loss and health incrementally. I love IM! You can learn more about it here: The Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting

The Takeaway

Due to a variety of factors, sometimes losing weight isn’t always as simple as calories in, calories out. 

But, as you can see from this list there are many steps you can take to boost your weight loss. Having the right tools in your toolbox can help you meet your health and weight loss goals successfully.

I hope this list of weight loss boosters helps you meet your goals and become the healthiest version of yourself! Please let me know if I can help you in any way.


Do you have any weight loss tips to add to this list?

Please share your tips and thoughts below in the comment section!


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The Intermittent Fasting Workout: Benefits Of Exercising In A Fasted State

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If you’re an intermittent fasting (IF) pro, or fasting for the first time, you may be wondering how this lifestyle will mesh with your workouts.

Or if it’s safe to work out at all while fasting.

The great news is that, yes, you can continue your fitness regimen.

As it turns out, training while intermittent fasting has some pretty impressive health benefits which I know you’re going to love.

The Benefits Of Exercising While Fasting

Did you know that exercise and fasting combine to cause oxidative stress on your muscles? It may sound bad, but in this case it’s actually beneficial.

Fitness expert Ori Hofmekler explains acute states of oxidative stress are:

” … essential for keeping your muscle machinery tuned. Technically, acute oxidative stress makes your muscle increasingly resilient to oxidative stress; it stimulates glutathione and SOD [superoxide dismutase, the first antioxidant mobilized by your cells for defense] production in your mitochondria along with increased muscular capacity to utilize energy, generate force and resist fatigue.

Hence, exercise and fasting help counteract all the main determinants of muscle aging. But there is something else about exercise and fasting. When combined, they trigger a mechanism that recycles and rejuvenates your brain and muscle tissues.”

Exercising in a fasted state can help you:

  • burn fat (1)
  • lose weight
  • improve body composition (2)
  • boost cognitive function (3)
  • increase growth hormone (4)

All great reasons to work out before breakfast!

What Kind Of Workout Should I Do While Fasting?

Technically, you can simply fast and reap the benefits. But many people want to work out and further maximize their results.

Thankfully, this doesn’t have to involve going to the gym everyday for an hour, unless you want it to.

The great thing is, this is highly individualized. You can find what works best for you and what activities you enjoy most and do that. Depending on your commitment level and your current personal fitness, your workouts can be tailored to your goals and abilities.

Because intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, you’ll likely find different workouts and schedules that best suit your goals and needs over time. Here are some examples of workout options you might choose while intermittent fasting:

  • Many beginners starting out with IM enjoy taking a gentle walk 2 or 3 days a week for 20 minutes.

    workout
    Intermittent fasting workouts are individualized and fun!
  • If you’re looking for full-body training, you might want to check out 20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout or The Health Benefits Of Rebounding On A Mini Trampoline for kettlebell and rebounding workouts, which are both fun and invigorating.
  • Many people who love the IM lifestyle find that short, quick bursts of exercise followed by brief recovery periods, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is very effective.
  • Looking for muscle gains and definition? Strength training may be what you’re looking for.
  • Swimming, hiking, yoga, rollerblading, skiing, jogging, dancing, Pilates, team sports, etc. Any activity that gets you moving it great!

So now that you have some ideas for how to train while fasting, I want to share some important tips to help you get the most out of your workouts, as well as some special considerations to be aware of.

Tips For An Intermittent Fasting Workout

  • An easy way to get the fat-burning effects of working out in the fasted state is by exercising first thing in the morning before you eat your first meal of the day. This works great with the 16/8 (or other) IF plan and allows your body to tap into its fat stores.
  • If you’re planning on doing heavy lifting, or other strenuous activity, make sure to eat a protein-rich meal within 30 minutes after your workout. Whey protein is especially beneficial and makes for a quick meal on the go. This is our favorite whey protein. It has 30 grams of whey protein per serving, is gluten-free and has no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.
  • Listen to your body. Be mindful of individual factors such as medical history, whether you’re taking prescriptions, age, and physical fitness level. If you need/want to drink a whey protein shake before your workout, do it. If you feel light-headed, your ears are ringing, or you feel like you’re going to pass out during a workout, don’t “tough it out”. Use common sense and pay attention to warning signs like these. Plus, here’s something to consider: A study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise journal revealed that consuming 20 grams of whey protein 30 minutes before a resistance training session boosted metabolism for up to 24 hours after the workout. (5)

The Takeaway

To sum up, working out and intermittent fasting can be done together, with many health benefits. These impressive benefits include fat burning, weight loss, improved cognitive and hormone function and improved body composition.

There are a variety of workouts you can do while enjoying the IF lifestyle. Keep in mind if you’re doing heavy lifting or other strenuous workouts, you should eat a high-protein meal, such as a whey protein shake, after your training session. Everyone is unique and requires a specialized fitness regimen. Always listen to your body and use common sense when working out and fasting.


What tips do you have for working out and intermittent fasting? Please share below!


You may want to read more about intermittent fasting here:

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