Did you know that 50% of peoples annual weight gain occurs over the Christmas holiday season? Christmas and New Year are loads of fun where we socialise, eat and drink and generally have a good time. Here are some simple nutrition and exercise hacks that can help prevent the post-prandial paunch.
- Eat a protein rich snack: Eat something rich in protein before you eat a high sugary or carbohydrate meal, snack or dessert as it can curb your appetite leading you to eat less. Protein will slow down the blood sugar response of the meal in your blood stream. Stabilising your blood sugar can keep your mood more stable and also curb your desire to snack more.
- Watch your alcohol intake: The main thing that affects fat storage, your gut microbiome, hormones and belly fat is alcohol! Your body readily burns alcohol for energy to avoid the toxicity effects of alcohol. Alcohol dampens the oxidation of fat, protein and carbohydrates, it increases your appetite in the short term, it decreases the production of hormones that cause fat loss, and it increases inflammation which shuts down the ability of fat cells to release fatty acids. If there is anything you’re going to do moderately during a binge, it would be alcohol. If you would like to learn more about how alcohol hinders fat loss CLICK HERE.
- HIIT or strength training prior to a big meal (or just get out and play with the family): If you love to work out doing something to improve the activity of your glucose transporters before a meal can assist in preventing weight gain. It can be a high intensity interval training (HIIT) or weight training session, either one works. You could do a HIIT set like a Tabata set or some strength training. A Tabata set could look like this: 20 seconds hard followed by 10 seconds rest for 3 minutes with 2 minutes of recovery then repeat 1-4 times, this can be performed on a bike, running or a combination of full body exercises. Strength training can consist of 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions of heavy deadlifts, squats, lunges or other exercises that use multiple joints and big muscles groups. An excellent fat burning workout can include mixing some HIIT with some strength such as squats followed by a 15-30 second sprint. If you are not a fan of structured training get out and play with your kids or play a game that involves some running around.
- Time a walk after you eat: The best time to walk when it comes to overeating is walking immediately after finishing your meal. Rather than waiting for an hour to walk after a meal, there is a significantly greater effect on insulin levels, on blood sugar, and on the prevention of weight gain if you walk immediately after the meal. Instead of flopping on the lounge chair or having an afternoon siesta after you finish your meal go for a 30 minute to 1 hour walk whilst you are in a glucose sensitive state and this will help to prevent the accumulation of belly fat. It is also a chance for you to continue to socialise in a positive way.
- Drink water: Ten minutes before consuming your meal drink plenty of water, this is not only a good idea to keep you hydrated but will also help to make you feel fuller leading you to eat less. Sometimes our body tells us we are hungry when in fact we are thirsty or dehydrated.
Try these 5 easy to implement hacks this Christmas and New Year to help you stay on track whilst still having a well-deserved good time!