Happy Holidays friends! This time of year is filled with indulgences and foods we cannot turn a blind eye to! And this can leave you feeling awful in the process and especially starting January 1. Ugh! Let me help save you this anguish with a few wise tips that I’ve been following myself when I decide to indulge.
Tip #1: Eat carbs before bed
WHAT? Yep, you read that right. Eat carbs before bed! As a carboholic myself, this was the greatest thing I ever learned. Bu, that doesn’t mean you can stuff your face with potato chips and sour gummies. This tip actually comes with some stringent rules. The right carbs at the right times can be your best fat-loss friend. Here’s why: Carbs are especially important for healthy adrenal and thyroid function. Even several days of low carb intake can raise cortisol and lower your T3 levels. They’re also important for the proper functioning of your satiety hormone, leptin.
So what are the right carbs? Research shows eating healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, and yucca about 4 hours before bed increases time spent in deep sleep. When your body is in a state of deep sleep, growth hormone is released. This helps speed fat loss and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep.
This occurs because carbs are a strong precursor to tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter. When tryptophan is converted to serotonin, it also helps stimulate your sleep hormone, melatonin.
But what does sleep have to do with any of this?
Getting quality sleep may be the most important thing you can do to stop unnecessary weight gain and ensure great health since it regulates all your body’s circadian and hormonal rhythms.
In case you’ve been told not to eat carbs later in the day because they will get stored as fat, new research from Dr. Alan Christianson, in his Adrenal Reset Diet Book simply disproves that. As long as total calories remain equal, there’s no danger – only upside – to eating more of your carbs later in the day.
Tip #2: Make your muscles eating machines!
The best way to use up all of those extra calories is to make your muscles HUNGRY! When you exercise, you are utilizing your muscle’s stored form of glucose (glucose and glycogen). When this gets depleted, your muscles need to be refueled. So it’s just a matter of incorporating that workout at a perfect time to ensure any extra calories consumed will be “eaten” by your muscles, instead of being stored as fat.
How? It’s simple. Get in a mini workout before your big feast! If you don’t have time to work out, doing a few simple exercises by forcefully contracting your muscles should do the job. It’s actually one of the best ways to prime your muscles to soak up any incoming calories and nutrients.
For instance, do 10 to 20 squats, hold plank for 1 minute, or do 15 modified (or regular) push-ups no more than 1 hour before you eat. Though it may sound or look funny, make it a fun event by getting your family or friends involved! Your body (i.e., your muscles) are most receptive to nutrients after they’ve been called into action. That’s why your biggest meal should often come after a workout.
Tip #3: Follow your feast with a mini fast
Since you will be indulging with a huge meal (or three!) over the holidays, your body will have plenty of energy reserves to last you several days. This means you have extra fuel in your body—so you won’t starve! One way to allow your body to burn through more of that excess fuel (and potentially stored fat) is to follow a day of feasting with a day of fasting.
The good news is, part of your fast occurs throughout the night. And by morning, your body is beginning to rely on fat for its energy—that’s because the glycogen in your liver (from the carbohydrates you ate at your evening meal) is starting to deplete. As your glycogen stores are progressively exhausted, your body goes into fat-burning mode.
- Start your fast at night after your last large meal.
- When you wake up in the morning, half of your fast will be complete. YAY!
- If you can make it until about 1pm on lots of water and herbal tea, then you’ll have completed your intermittent fast.
- I like to break my fast with my Green Digestive Machine Smoothie at 1 p.m. to help my digestion kick start its gears.
Of all the health promoting and fat loss accelerating strategies, fasting is easily the cheapest and the most powerful.
Well, there you have it! 3 easy, no cost health tips to STOP that holiday weight gain! Happy holidays and happy feasting. See you in the New Year!