Skipping meals and saving up calories in anticipation of a big meal, actually makes you gain weight.
Ahh, December. The tree goes up, the advent calendars come out, Christmas carols greet us in all the shops and the flow of treats begins.
It seems like whether you're at work, stopping by a friend's place or just doing a quick Costco run, the treats are out in full force. In fact, earlier this week I hosted a bake exchange with the ladies in my neighbourhood. Depending on now you looked at it, it could have been a fun evening with the ladies, or an incredible test of willpower to resist temptation.
Those who see the fun, friends and the baking time saved are typically seen as perfect, having an amazing amount of self-control when it comes to the holidays, looked up to by those who dive right into the cookie jar, then spend the rest of the day either skipping meals to help balance out what they ate, or feeling guilty and miserable about all the “bad” things they had just consumed.
I don't know about you but longing for perfection while beating yourself up and feeling guilty over having a Christmas cookie does not sound like an enjoyable holiday season to me. Just in case you're wondering, there is a way to have fun, eat the cookie without guilt, or starve yourself afterwards and avoid having to let your belt out a notch at the end of December.
First, let's just clear something up. Food isn't “good” or “bad”.
Sure, some foods have a higher nutrient content than others, but all food is simply a protein, a fat or a carb. Food either fuels your body, or it fuels your soul and we need both if we're going to enjoy our food, feel comfortable in our own skin and love our lives.
So as we dive into December with all the boxes of chocolates on staff room tables, holiday parties and Christmas dinner, let's talk about how to enjoy your treats, including alcohol, while avoiding that holiday 10 to 15 pounds that is the catalyst for all those New Year's weight loss resolutions.
Whether you feel you have weight to lose or not, maintaining where you currently are now is a huge win. If you are one who is looking at the best way to lose weight in the New Year, maintaining now is tantamount to losing that 10 to 15 pounds in January. You're ahead of the game.
The best way to do that will likely be the opposite of what you've done in the past in order to keep the weight off over Christmas. You need to eat.
I know, you're probably thinking, “She's crazy! I'm trying to not gain extra weight. How does she think eating is going to help me do that?”
Stick with me for a minute and you'll see. Typically, when the parties start and the treats show up, many people are doing the math with their food. They're counting calories, thinking, “If I'm going out for dinner tonight, I'd better not eat too much during the day so I can save up those calories.” Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
By skipping meals, or only eating a few bites here and there throughout the day, you're allowing your blood sugar to drop. When blood sugar drops, your body hold onto fat and burns your muscle.
Your brain never shuts off so it needs a consistent supply of protein to turn into glucose to send up to the brain. When you don't feed it, your body takes it from the only protein source it has, your muscle. So that gnawing hunger you're feeling on the way to the party is your body literally feeding off it's own muscle.
Then, because you've restricted and starved yourself all day, you arrive at the dinner party ready to eat your arm off and grab the first thing you see which is typically chips, pretzels, crackers etc., sometimes even wondering why you're even eating it. When blood sugar is out of balance, hormones are also out of balance, causing those cravings and urges designed to bring blood sugar back up.
The problem is, blood sugar doesn't just come back up to normal, it spikes. And every time it spikes, your body stores fat. This causes your metabolism to slow down as well, making it even more difficult to lose weight.
Starving yourself and saving up calories literally does the opposite of what you were hoping to accomplish.
On the flip side, fuelling with a protein, a fat and a carb (yes, even carbs!) in the right portions, in the right frequencies throughout the day – especially on those holiday party days – keeps your blood sugar stablized.
When blood sugar is stable, hormones are also balanced, metabolism is turned on and your body will release stored fat.
Even if you have a cup of cheer or a holiday treat. So before you head out to that holiday party, making sure to fuel your body, before your fuel your soul will go a long way to keep you from putting on those extra pounds this Christmas season. Sounds like a much better option, right?
If you're ready to stop dieting, love your body and live with food freedom, email [email protected] and book your free consult today.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.