It’s that time of year when you’re completely surrounded with delicious foods and an endless supply of holiday treats.
Whether that be at family gatherings, your workplace, samples at stores, your relatives forcing their “special dish” upon you, so on and so forth…
It’s not enjoyable to go about this season constantly worried about holiday weight gain.
This article is going to prepare you with my best strategies for avoiding excess calories while still being able to enjoy yourself without doing as much damage as you would think.
1.) You Need To Give Yourself Permission To Eat More Calories
I get it, you want to be lean and ripped more than you want to win the lottery. And while that’s all fine and well – don’t be unrealistic.
Trying to rigidly stick to your diet in the most unfavourable of all conditions is a recipe for a disaster. Either you’re going to feel deprived and miserable the entire time, and that’s no fun. Or, you’re going to give in, and that’s when all hell breaks loose and you eat until you’re sick.
So the solution is simple, give yourself permission to eat more calories than usual (just don’t overeat). If you set realistic expectations, you’ll meet them just fine.
My recommendation is to eat around the amount of calories it takes to maintain your weight. This tends to be around 14-15 calories per pound of bodyweight. You don’t have to track calories over the holidays, but if you follow the rules in this guide you’ll tend to end up right on the money, or possibly even less and not experiencing any major holiday weight gain.
2.) You Need To Forget About Your Macros
Trying to calculate your macros during the holidays is just a horrible idea. Be human for a day or two, it won’t kill you. People have been getting lean and shredded for a long time, and tracking macros is more or less a recent phenomenon.
There’s another point here, when you’re going to be eating delicious foods, it’s likely you’ll end up going lower in protein and higher in fat. This is completely okay.
The most important thing is to avoid overeating in general. So if you’ve consumed plenty of food but are worried you didn’t get in enough protein, well stop.
Going out of your way to eat more protein when you’ve already eaten plenty of food will just lead you to overeat in general. This is fine if your goal is to bulk up.
But for most of us, who can put on weight easily, especially over the holidays, it’s better to forget about hitting protein numbers and forget about perfect macros splits.
An added benefit is that a lower protein intake with high carbs and plenty of fat is associated with higher testosterone levels.
3.) You Should Enjoy A Nice Big Cup Of Coffee For Breakfast
I am a huge food lover, but probably an even bigger coffee lover. Nothing makes my day more than a nice big cup of black coffee to kickstart the day. Not to mention, coffee is associated with an increased metabolic rate and enhanced fat burning, this is enhanced when you’re in the fasted state.
By trading a morning meal for black coffee you blunt your appetite, boost your energy and elevate your mental focus. What’s more, you give yourself tons of room to eat big meals later in the day.
A common phenomenon for dieters that eat breakfast is that it’s 8 or 9pm and they’re starving. They’ve already hit their food intake for the day and eating more would mean going over.
So they suck it up and live a life filled with hungry evenings and going to sleep with empty stomach’s. Not a life for me!
Well the beautiful thing is that this phenomenon doesn’t exist for the intermittent fasters.
What’s more, the intermittent fasters don’t mind skipping breakfast. It’s actually enjoyable once you adapt to it.
I mean, it’s a heck of a lot easier to cut back on food in the morning than trying to cut back in the evening.
In the morning, most people are busy so they don’t even realize they’re not eating. So they don’t even have to exercise any will power or self restraint, it’s automatic, it’s effortless.
At night, most people usually have their evening to themselves, this makes not eating or barely eating, a heck of a lot harder! And if you’re worried about skipping breakfast crashing your metabolism or causing muscle loss, well don’t be.
You can learn the power of fasting and the truth of it by reading the Kinobody Fasting Guide.
4.) You Need To Keep Your First Meal Low In Calories & Filling
The big feast is at 7 or 8pm. You’re awake at 9am. Some people may want to try fasting until dinner, but for me, that’s just way too long! My appetite is non existent but usually around 5-6 hours after rising, it starts to ramp up.
Trying to push through for another 4 hours is simply not worth it. I’ll be uncomfortably hungry, and then i’ll probably compensate by eating way more for the dinner feast.
The solution is simple, eat just enough food for lunch to keep you satisfied all the way through till dinner. If I’m feasting big at night. My preference is to eat a couple apples at the end of my fast. These refill my depleted liver glycogen and do a brilliant job at staving off hunger.
Then I’ll have a lunch meal comprised of a big portion of veggies fried in a couple teaspoons of coconut oil. The veggies fried with some coconut oil is actually incredibly satiating for only a couple hundred calories.
I’ll also have a solid serving of lean protein. Perhaps some chicken breast or egg whites cooked with 1-2 whole eggs. This isn’t a massive meal, just enough to satisfy me all the way through to dinner. That way, when it’s time for dinner, I’m not going to eat enough food for a small village.
5.) You Need To Eat Only The Foods You Love
I get it, it’s holiday feast time and there’s more food options than you can fit on a plate (or two). And you know, you want to try some of everything, because, why not.
But here’s the deal, you don’t have to eat everything. Eating lots of different foods and recipes, especially the ones that are like ‘okay at best’, will just lead you to eat a lot more calories than you otherwise would.
My recommendation is to eat only the foods you love the most to avoid holiday weight gain. Start with some salad or veggies. Then find the meat you want the most and fill up on the carbs you want the most. And maybe try one or two other things, max.
You’ll end up automatically eating a lot less than you would have if you tried everything. And because you’re eating the foods you like the most, you’ll probably end up feeling more satisfied and content.
For my holiday feasts, my grandma makes these amazing fried potatoes. They’re crispy and delicious. And guess what, I eat a ton of them! But you know what I don’t eat, my aunts potato salad.
There’s just no sense in wasting calories on something that is loaded in calories but only marginally enjoyable. Doing so is a disservice to your six pack.
6.) Avoid Holiday Weight Gain By Saying No
Look, here’s the deal, no one’s losing any sleep because you didn’t try their infamous cookies or mashed potato recipe. In the moment, they might act like you insulted their haircut, but seconds later it’s all but forgotten.
Don’t succumb to mashed potato peer pressure. You’re better than that. Just say, I’m okay. And if they insist, then tell them you get farty and bloated from mashed potatoes. Or whatever food is being imposed on you heavily.
After that, if they see you making moves for their mashed potatoes, they will without hesitation insist that you put down the fork! Because after all, no one wants to be sitting at a table with a symphony of flatulence for two hours.
7.) You Need To Stop Rushing And Eat Slowly
Yeah, yeah, yeah we’ve all been told to eat slower. Nothing inherently new. But the idea is a little different here. Instead of putting the entire focus on the food, put it on having a great time and enjoying yourself and revelling with your wacky family, friends and loved ones.
It’s like, some people go out and it’s all about getting drunk and hammered. They usually drink a dangerous amount of alcohol, act like idiots and feel horrible the very next day, or even that night.
Other people go out to have fun. And yes, of course, they drink alcohol. But the alcohol is part of the party, it’s not THE party. Well what does this have to do with holiday eating?
Some people focus way too much on the food and what this does is it gets them to hyper focus on eating. So they end up elevating their hunger and cravings and desire for food.
They also don’t experience the same level of reward from enjoying time with their family and friends. They’re looking at the food as the entire reward trigger. This is very dangerous. This is what leads to eating beyond your needs and instead eating for the desires of your mind.
So instead, you should think of holiday meals as a chance to enjoy yourself, get together with your family and friends and have a great time.
Enjoy the food by all means, but don’t look to the food to make you feel better and make you happy.
8.) You Need To Pick Your Poison
So at this point you’ve had a smaller lunch meal and a big portion of meat and carbs for the dinner feast. Eating a generous portion of dessert followed by an even more generous servings of alcohol will likely lead to fat gain.
My recommendation is to pick your poison, alcohol or dessert. For me, alcohol is usually the obvious choice. And once I start drinking, I don’t feel compelled to consume sweets.
Usually the desire for dessert after a big meal is not hunger based. People eat dessert because they want to feel good. And after all, the pleasure from dessert is short lived.
You feel great for a few minutes and then you want more. Kinda like cocaine. Screw that noise. But hey, if you love dessert and you just need one moderate serving to make your day, then go for it!
But for me, I don’t really need it. But once I start eating it, I never feel truly satisfied until I feel like I’m about to give birth to a cake baby.
For this reason, I prefer to enjoy plenty of potatoes and whiskey and leave the dessert out of the equation.
9.) You Need To Stop Eating Afterwards
After you’ve finished your meal and you’re deeply full and satisfied then let it be. No more grazing on foods around the house. Your body has been given tons of food, eating more will give you nothing else.
If you have a hard time being able to stop eating, sometimes it helps to get away from the food for 20-30 minutes. Going for a walk, playing some games or doing something fun can help tremendously.
It’s just that brief period of time after eating when those valves are still open and it can be difficult to stop. So take your attention off food and onto something else. The more you obsess about food the longer it will take to reach that point of content.
10.) You Need To Stop Worrying About Getting Fat
Skinny people believe they can’t gain weight for the life of them. Fat people believe that looking at a pie will cause them to gain weight.
Often times the beliefs we hold inside our head, our internal reality, is then reflected externally.
So just by telling yourself that you have a slow metabolism, that you can’t eat carbs without gaining weight… Or whatever self limiting belief it is that you have, you’re actually making it more true.
You’ve decided that you’re cursed with a slow metabolism, and so you will go out of your way, consciously or unconsciously to prove it to be true. Maybe this means eating more food when other people aren’t around.
Sitting on your butt more than you should. Or a million other ways to get yourself to eat more calories than you burn. We need to kill these unproductive thoughts.
Instead tell yourself that you’re a fat burning machine. That you can eat whatever want while getting leaner, slimmer and more defined. Just by implanting these beliefs into your subconscious, you’ll feel better and you will probably eat less than you otherwise would.
Sounds counter productive, but it’s true. As a little test, before eating a huge meal, repeat these affirming statements. “I’m a fat burning machine, I’m getting leaner and leaner everyday. I can eat as much as I want and fat continues to melt off my body”.
Then forget about it, and enjoy eating. It’s amazing at what happens on an unconscious level to keep your identity intact. You may even get fuller faster, fidget and move around more, thus burning more calories.
It really is that powerful! And there’s a million and two other ways you can apply this exercise. Just evaluate and look at anything negative you tell yourself. Maybe you tell yourself you have a horrible memory, you are weak or girls don’t like you.
The reality is that, by holding these beliefs in your mind and making them a part of you identity and self image, you are defined by them. And will continue to experience exactly what it is you believe you should.
This Is The True Benefit Of Following These Strategies
If you adhere to the above ten rules, no question you’ll enjoy your holiday feasts more than ever before, only this time you won’t feel stuffed, bloated and fatter the next day.
These ten strategies aren’t exclusive to holiday feasts. You can use these same strategies for dinner parties and eating out big at your favorite restaurant.
When you get this strategy down, you can fully enjoy yourself without undoing your progress. This is a beautiful thing.
Last but not least, I have created a Kinobody Physique Survey. After you spend all of the 13 seconds it takes to fill it out, I show you exactly what you need to focus on (given your current physique and goals) to look your absolute best.