Can you avoid fat gain during cheat days and holiday feasts like Christmas dinners and the Holiday Events?
Of course this is possible but if your’re anything like me and eat big on Holiday dinners Such as Christmas or Easter Sunday, MINIMIZING fat storage should be the greater Concern.
I Have touched on this topic for Thanksgiving and you can read it here. ( a detailed strategy on calories )
Today I want to share a simplified outline instead of detailed calorie planing for holiday foods.
Believe it on not , if the Holiday Festivities are approached with some simple approaches, fat gain can be little to none.
The secret to trouble shooting “eat as you please” during the holidays falls into two categories.
- Food Choices
- How much you eat
We also need to take into account how quickly we can get back on track with out regular diet goals.
Jumping back on track fast is one of the key strategies to successful dieting , while indulging every now and then. (**Consistency)
Cheat days or Refeed days?
Cheat days or Refeed days, whatever you want to call them are usually for fun and physiological relief from a prolonged diet.
Full blown cheat days typically have no structure to them when consuming calories in an excessive manner.
I like the idea of a structured “refeed” day oppose to a full blown cheat day.
This allows for more damage control while still benefiting from the physiological benefits as well.
Not to mention studies have shown the importance of structured Refeed days for restored leptin levels.
When an individual have been in a calorie deficit for quite some time, low leptin levels will begin to have negative effects on the body.
The exact opposite happens when a calorie surplus in implemented into ones diet.
During a calorie surplus leptin levels are raised, this is where a structured refeed can be beneficial.
The key to utilizing the benefits that come with refeed days is minimizing how frequently they occur.
This is the Exact approach I have designed for my True Will Programs.
The Ideal refeed day would be structured as high carb , moderate protein and low fat.
Obviously laying out your overall macro-nutrient outline like that is going to be challenging during a holiday feast!
Though it is a good thing to be aware of when making over all food selections during the holidays.
Yes you will gain weight the next day.
- The weight gain you will notice the next day comes from an increase in the GI track and water. This is due from increased salt and the extra carb intake. (1g of carb intake brings approximately 3-4g of water with it.)
The Idea is to view these days more like Diet Breaks from your normal diet plan.
The Lean Holiday Feast Outline
1.) Allow yours self the freedom to eat more.
I get it you want to be the leanest you have ever been and you have strict rules to abide to. During unfavorable conditions for macros such as the holidays please lighten up a bit. Trying
tomaintain a rigid diet plan during this time will only result in frustration when your slip up . When you do slip up it will mostly likely be excessive over eating. The goal should be to allow for over eating but with in reason, be realistic. I good calorie target to aim for would be maintenance calories.( 14-15 calories per pound of body weight) Do not worry about tracking, Just Be conscious of this number and listen to your body. Just being mindful of your consumption will set you up in a great position for holiday dinners.
2.) Create a Calorie Cushion
Again do not worry about counting your calories if you do not want to. Creating a calorie cushion will make this even more effective. The goal here is to save your calories for the end of the day, Ideally all of them. Here is where implementing intermittent fasting can become very useful. One option is to fast the whole day up until the feast. Now I understand most can not do this so a more piratical solution is fast for breakfast and for lunch stick with a high protein , low carb, low fat approach. This allows you to save majority of your calories for the holiday feast!
3.) Do not Stress about Macros
It’s no joke holiday foods are high carb and high fat , not the most macro friendly. The best thing you can do here is not stress about it and have a dinner where you enjoy yourself. Naturally these foods are going to be lighter in protein but if you do have a lean source of available protein, my advice would be to fill your plate with a good portion of it. The research shows over eating on protein reflects less fat gain. If you have been in a deficit for awhile now the extra carbs and fats will be beneficial to your hormones on a positive note. The main goal here is your overall calorie intake and only going over with in a respectable reason.
4.) Stick with what you Love
The more foods you decide to eat, the more complicated your calorie intake for the meal becomes. The more complicated a meal is, the more likely you’re to overeat. Stick to the foods you love most and have been looking forward. Do no worry about testing the flavors for every dish available on the table. If you allow yourself to become full from the few foods you were craving, you will less likely indulge in everything else. Following this simple rule will greatly satisfy yourself and keep overeating to a minimum.
5.) Do not Rely on the Food Emotionally
I understand that with big holiday comes BIG EATS! Here’s the thing though , the holidays are not just about the food. Try to have great conversations with your family and focus your attention on loved ones. This will take your fixation off of the food and allow you to eat slower. When we eat slower we become fuller faster. You should not be using food to make you feel better on an emotional level, this is what laughing and talking with loved ones is for. Take your time, visit with family and let the food be on the back burner of thought.
6.) Stay Active
This should be obvious but I want to hit on this a little. When we exercise our bodies it helps boost our energy expenditure. Staying active will also help with calorie partitioning due to the body being put under stress and needing nutrients for recovery. If your gym is open get a weight training workout in, if its closed work on a body weight routine at home. Try to get some form of cardio in , ideally some interval sprint training. Try to walk more that day , walking is one of the most underrated forms of cardio out there.
7.) Drink in Moderation
I like to indulge in a couple of drinks every Christmas Dinner, whether it be and aged bourbon or My Gin and Ricky’s. Follow My guide on Drinking and fitness here. In short stick to a classy approach and drink in moderation . Stick with low calorie drinks such as pure alcohols mixed with soda water or dry wines.
8.) Stop projecting Self Negative Thoughts
The mind is powerful and can create our sense of reality. If you tell yourself you’re going to get fat by allowing yourself to enjoy holiday foods you just might. The feelings of self shame will cause your feelings of guilt and stress to rise to unhealthy levels. These thoughts alone can be very harmful to your bodies hormones and mind. Putting your mind in such a level of negative state will carry over to a physical condition , causing fat gain. Remember do not let emotions drive you or define you. Our emotions are a entirely different entity and not who we are. Learn to address these negative thoughts as an outside observer, let let go and carry on. You should be enjoying yourself without feelings of frustration of guilt.
- You will see a rise in the scale due from the extra intake of carbs (up to 10lbs is not uncommon). This is due mostly to water weight and all the extra food in the GI track.
- There will be little fat gain and water retention under the skin. ( This will be little to none as long as you keep overeating within reason)
- Most people will see weight return to normal within 5-6 days. ( This is as long as you get right back on your current diet plan)
Follow the Holiday outline above and Fat gain will be minimum , while allowing yourself to enjoy the festivity.
Stop telling yourself everything little thing you eat is going to make you fat.
Learn a little self control and don’t eat everything in site.
Stay active and set your body up for ideal calorie partitioning.
Do not allow these breaks in your diet to happen all the time, fat loss is about overall consistency in your diet.
Lastly, enjoy your family and the holidays while building your best body!
Join Our Team, Additional Fitness Tips Via Email
For complete Strength building and fat burning courses: Check out True Will Programs. Each Program is designed specifically around these principals.
Latest posts by Michael Worley (see all)
- Bulk or cut first ? - March 16, 2021
- Top 5 Exercises for Skinny girls trying to Build BUTT - March 16, 2021
- TRAINING METHODOLOGY & PERIODIZATION - July 31, 2020