Here comes Santa Claus….which also means here comes the added Christmas pounds. The holidays are a prime time of the year for added calories to sneak in, along with diminished workouts due to busy Christmas schedules. This season doesn’t have to be the same! Check out the following tips from Dr. Hennigar to help avoid those unwanted extra pounds.
Excess sugar means excess insulin, which means excess weight. The number one tip is to reduce sugar intake. Now I know you are thinking that sounds impossible, but sugar is the number one culprit over the holidays. While desserts may be the obvious location for hidden sugar, be sure to look into the following common culprits as well:
With the holidays comes a myriad of fruity, sugary, and alcoholic drinks. The best options for a drink, first and foremost, is always water. You can make your water a little more fun with berries, fresh mint, cucumbers, or citrus fruit. Sparkling water, so long as unflavoured, is also a great option, especially when looking for some fizz. Avoid juices as even fresh organic ones contain an exorbitant amount of unnecessary sugar. As far as alcohol goes, your best bet lies with dry red wines, vodka, or gin. For mix, stick with unflavoured sparkling water and the above suggestions (i.e. berries, vegetables, fresh herbs etc).
This is a place many don’t think to look. However, most processed (i.e. in a jar or container) sauces and dressings have some sort of sweetener added in. Be sure to read labels and look for any of the following terms which simply mean hidden sugar:
sucrose, fructose, cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup, barley malt, glucose, malt syrup, raw sugar, evaporated cane juice, golden syrup, caramel
Whenever possible make your own sauces and dressings from oil, vinegar, mustard, and fresh herbs.
These are the obvious ones for sugar. And while ideally I would love to say avoid at all costs, that just isn’t realistic for many over the holidays. Keeping your blood sugars balanced is a key aspect of avoiding the unwanted insulin spike and weight gain. This can be done by ensuring there is protein and fat with each snack, meal, or dessert. That means if you are going to eat that one treat, grab a handful of nuts first.
2. Treat exercise like a business meeting
When holiday schedules get busy the first thing to go is usually exercise. I challenge you to treat your workouts like business meetings through the holidays. Book them into your calendar as “important" to make sure you schedule around them accordingly. Exercise not only helps avoid those unwanted pounds, but it also helps reduce the stress that the holidays can bring.
3. Prioritize Sleep
Just like prioritizing exercise, I challenge you to prioritize sleep. Lack of sleep means an increase in cortisol, that pesky hormone leading to abdominal weight gain. Fatigue also means that ghrelin increases and leptin decreases. What does that mean? You feel more hungry and it is more difficult for you to feel satiated. Aim for no less than seven hours a night to help prevent weight gain through the holidays.
4. Vitamin D
This vitamin, which is actually more like a hormone, plays an important role in helping you feel full and decrease cravings. The bonus of vitamin D supplementation is that it also helps with the immune system, as well as boosts mood during the dark winter months. Book in with your ND to find out the proper dose and form you need to boost your vitamin D this holiday season.
For more information on weight loss feel free to book in with Dr. Hennigar by clicking on Book Now. As always, this post is not designed to diagnose or treat you but instead to give you something to think about. Please book a consult with a doctor prior to changing, starting, or stopping medications or protocols.
Aeberli, I. et al. (2011). Low to moderate sugar sweetened beverage consumption impairs glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes inflammation in healthy young men: an RCT. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 94 (2):479-485. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013540
Fernandes de Abreu, D.A., Elyes, D., & Feron, F. (2009). Vitamin D, a neuro-immunomodulator: Implications for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34 (1): S265-S277.
Gaby, A. (2011). Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing. Concord, N.H.