The holidays are fun! Parties at work, parties with friends, and parties with family! And then more parties, more fun, more booze, and more good food! Uh oh —holiday weight gain…
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that the last thing I want is for you to have a boring life. But I know how stressed many of you get about adding pounds during the holidays. So, let me do what I do best: help you take good care of your most precious possession, your health, by giving you some health tips.
Three ways to avoid overeating at those holiday feasts, and the accompanying weight gain, are:
1. Eat some fat first
2. Drink some bone broth before you go
3. Volunteer to help the host
Eating fat first? Let me explain. Do you fast to “save” your stomach for the holiday feast? This behavior revs up your hunger hormone, ghrelin. Ghrelin is an evolutionary adaptation; once upon a time, our survival depended on hunger-driven behaviors and the production of ghrelin promoted within us a strong motivation to hunt and gather edible substances. With lots of ghrelin coursing through your bloodstream, your body is ready to consume every calorie it sees and store every calorie it consumes. So what do you think is going to happen when you sit down, starving, for your holiday feast? You will overeat.
But that hunger hormone can be tamed by eating a small amount of something fatty. Fat is an excellent ghrelin suppressor AND an appetite suppressor. Make sure to eat good fats — saturated fats from clean, organically-grown animals, dairy fats, tropical-oil fats, nut fats, and others. But do NOT consume trans fats and the omega-6 fats found in processed foods.
So eat some good fat before you go to that holiday celebration. A small handful of high-in-fat macadamia nuts, a piece of bacon, or a piece of bread abundantly soaked in olive oil will do just fine.
Tip number two: drink a cup of good bone or meat broth before you go to holiday dinner. You have heard me talking about the health benefits of bone broth.
A homemade bone broth heals and seals your intestinal lining and has anti-inflammatory effects on your gut, which is good for you on two counts. First, modern bellies often have “leaky guts.” If you haven’t heard this term before, it means that the intestinal lining has become more porous and developed larger pores than it should, with the result that the intestines’ screening process does not function properly, allowing toxins and wastes into your blood stream. Second, more and more diseases, both of a chronic and acute nature, are linked to weak guts. “All diseases start in the gut,” Hippocrates claimed, and we now see how right he was.
So make and freeze some of this healing miracle—bone broth— at home. Commercial broth cubes and canned soups are mostly processed food; they will do you no good. Make your own bone broth from organic animal bones. And before you go to that holiday party, unfreeze and drink a cup of bone broth. This will coat and protect your digestive tract lining and help prevent leaky-gut problems, thereby avoiding potentially unpleasant metabolic consequences including storing more calories than intended.
Today’s final tip is to volunteer to help the host. I often encourage you to move your body as much as possible. One hour at the gym won’t compensate for your many hours of sitting. Natural movements throughout the day are arguably more important than one intense hour per week at the gym. By volunteering to help at the party, you will be in nearly constant motion. These movements, seemingly inconsequential, will keep your metabolism in an active state, which is exactly what you need.
Do these things and enjoy that extra glass of wine or two – or three or four – without thinking about how many calories you’re ingesting. Happy Holidays! 🙂
So very truly yours,