Ask A Trainer: How Do I Avoid Holiday Weight Gain?
As the festive season approaches, mince pies and Christmas pudding pose a dangerous threat to your waistline with unwanted inches. But fear not, it is possible to savour your holiday without piling on the pounds.
Remember that calories are king; the fundamental principle of weight loss is to eat less calories than you burn each day. The more you minimise the splurge over the holidays, the less likely you are to gain weight.
While this can seem like a daunting task, follow these steps from the trainers at Ultimate Performance to stay on track:
Pack on the protein
It all starts with protein. If you find yourself at a buffet dinner, fill your plate up with only protein and fibre sources first. The high thermic effect of protein boosts your metabolism while fibre lowers your insulin response. Eating your roast chicken and salad before going back for seconds also reduces the likelihood of overfeeding on sugary desserts afterwards, limiting overall calorie intake within that one meal.
Earn your carbs
We personal trainers have a terribly overused expression which goes, “earn your carbs.” Gorging on sugar and starchy carbohydrates such as bread and potatoes can be problematic to your waistline since they spike insulin—a powerful hormone that causes you to gain body fat when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle. If you must consume these, do so only 1-2 hours after a high-intensity weightlifting session when your body is more likely to shuttle it into your muscle cells rather than your fat.
See also: What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Watch the alcohol
When it comes to alcohol, abstinence is the best form of weight control. But if you’re an avid binge drinker when the holidays roll around then you’re better off choosing clear spirits like vodka and tequila instead of the more calorific varieties such as mixers, cocktails and beers, both of which are loaded with sugar. Drinking your alcohol after dinner will reduce the risk of throwing your calories out of whack at three in the morning as you hunt down kebab shops like a crazed drunkard.
Go for a hike
There’s no fun in being a couch potato during the holidays. Using your time off to get out for a hike can increase serotonin (the ‘happiness’ neurotransmitter) while burning tons of calories. There are studies to suggest that serotonin works as a natural appetite suppressant that may curb your cravings for chocolate cake. That’s two birds with one stone.
See also: How To Stay Fit While Traveling
Just get moving
Simply getting out and doing an activity you enjoy can do wonders for your physique. Keeping stress levels down should be of utmost importance over the holiday season, especially when you consider that stress increases cortisol levels—a stress hormone that causes you to crave junk food and store it in your belly.
So, if you’re one of those folks that prefers spending your holidays at the office, remember that you may be spending all that hard-earned cash on bigger pants when the new year comes around.
Get to know the personal trainers from Ultimate Performance Hong Kong at upfitness.com.hk