With the Holiday season upon us, it is that time of year for all the things that matter most in life; friends, family, selflessness and delicious food! Although most of us look forward to it, most of us also regret it come the new year. The holiday induced carb overload high that we all become addicted to is exactly that, an addiction. It’s true! Carbohydrates have physically and mentally addictive effects and the more you have the more you want. So, here are 5 tips that will help you diminish your carb cravings this holiday season so that come next summer, you are not dreading the thought of getting back into your bathing suit.
- Eat More Frequently: By eating more often, particularly when eating foods that are low in sugars and other carbohydrates, you will prevent drastic fluctuations in your insulin levels. This is not only important for long term health and for lowering your risk of developing Type II diabetes, but also for minimizing the carb cravings that we experience as a result of steep fluctuations in those insulin levels.
- Drink More Hot Beverages: Time to get cozy by the fire with your favorite cup of tea or coffee (as long as you are not adding a bunch of sweetener)! Sipping on hot tea or even coffee can help suppress your appetite while boosting energy levels, allowing you to eat less and do more. Drinking hot tea in particular can significantly assist in maintaining proper hydration which can prevent the hungry feeling that we often experience as a result of being under hydrated not under fed.
- Stay On The Go: With the holiday season comes ample opportunity to visit with friends and family! If we are being totally honest, the majority of the unnecessary holiday eating that we do, we do because we are bored. Keeping yourself busy will prevent your idle hands from shoving those comforting carbs into your mouth.
- Do More Resistance Training and Less Cardio: By performing more modestly paced resistance training instead of higher paced cardio, you will be able to avoid the post cardio carb binge that so many people fall victim to. The issue with relying on cardio alone to reach your fitness goals is that it only modestly elevates your metabolism for the short term and can drastically increase your appetite for carb rich foods. So instead of the treadmill, hit the weights this holiday season.
- Eat Your Fats: What? Yep, you read that right. Eat your fats! Focus on consuming less of your calories in the form of carbs and more of your calories in the form of healthy fats. Foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds and oils can help you to experience more consistent insulin levels and fewer carb cravings. Protein sources that are a little higher in healthy fats such as salmon, are also excellent options for keeping your waist line in check this holiday season.
If you implement these five tips this holiday season, I promise that you will be prepared to drastically reduce the number of cookies, pieces of pie and servings of mashed potatoes that you eat between now and the end of the year. Happy Holidays!
By: Vic M.
B.S. Exercise Science, NSCA-CSCS Certified