Friday, November 26, 2010

How to Stay Thin During the Holidays

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying time with your family, friends, and college football. We all know that between Thanksgiving and New Year's, people tend to put on a ton of weight. It is difficult to avoid it. Eating is very social. We stuff ourselves every chance we get, and there is more dessert than we know what to do with. Not only that, but there are ALWAYS leftovers.

The best way to avoid gaining weight during the holidays is to stop eating so much during every sitting and to avoid all those pastries. For most of us, however, that is not likely going to happen due to a combination of social pressure, convenience, and amazingly tasty treats.

So, I wanted to write this quick blog post today to share with you an experimental technique that I think will do wonders for people who just can't seem to avoid eating all the cake, pie, cookies, and brownies in sight during the holidays. Before you read this simple trick, you might need to educate yourself a little bit by reading this post on post-workout nutrition. If you don't, it won't make as much sense.

I must emphasize that there is no research as far as I know that will support that this technique will work or show how effective it will be. It is just speculation and a theory that I have developed. However, at the very least, it will do no harm. It really only can help.

So you know that the only time you really should be consuming fast-acting sugar is after a workout. Doing so will drive glucose directly to your muscles rather than keeping it in your bloodstream where it will stick around until your body can convert it to fat. Your body's insulin sensitivity is also the highest right after a workout, so consuming sugar at that point will not cause giant insulin and blood sugar highs and lows. All this is good.

Now, how does this apply to the holiday season? Train before you eat that cake or that cookie!

I know, I know. You don't have time to work out before every meal or snack. You barely have time to train at all during the holidays! Everybody is so busy! Let me ask you this...

Do you have 2-4 minutes? It is my hypothesis that 2-4 minutes of physical activity will be enough to allow you to significantly curb the negative effects of eating so much sugar. So the next time you see that apple pie and want a slice, force yourself to earn it.

Here's what to do:

1. Put together a circuit of body weight exercises
2. Grab a watch or stand by a clock
3. Perform your circuit continuously for up to 4 minutes
4. Catch your breath
5. Reward yourself (or even better, decide that you are too tired to eat)

The following circuits should be effective.Three are listed. Pick the one that best fits your training level.

Note: Perform each exercise for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat as necessary. Try not to take any breaks.

-Pushups (any style you can do)
-Reverse Lunges
-Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope

-Squat Jumps
-Reverse Lunges
-Mountain Climbers

-Maximum Effort Vertical Leaps
-Clap (or plyo) pushups
-Jump Lunges (switch foot mid-air)
-Jumping Jacks (will serve as much needed active rest time)

There you have it. It might seem a little odd if your friends and family see you doing this all the time... so you can...

1) Explain to them what you are doing and why you are doing it
2) Convince someone to do it with you (social support is great)
3) Do this where nobody can possibly see you and judge you

Now, I wouldn't recommend this technique year round because that will just lead to bad habits and really really poor nutrition decisions, but for the holidays, it is far better than the alternative of just eating everything and saying that you'll lose the weight later. Be proactive. Have a great holiday season!


  1. This question is not exactly related to this post, but I was wondering what your take was on the effect of laxatives on a person's metabolism and workout routine? For example, someone having to take Dulcolax on a regular basis.

  2. Honestly, I have no idea. I do not know anything at all about laxatives. Sorry I couldn't help!


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