happyholidays2Greetings!  This is Sacramento, CA Nutritionist Dani Conway with my new edition of the Nutrition the Natural Way, Low Carb and Keto Nutrition Holiday Survival Guide.  Whether you’ve hit you’re goals and are maintaining them, or you’re struggling with things like weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, bloating or other digestive issues; or you’re just embarking on your nutrition and wellness journey, I guarantee this Holiday Survival Guide will come in handy over the next few weeks, and in the future!  Insulin resistant?  No problem.  These tips and tricks will also help minimize the spikes and drops of your blood sugar that are causing some of your weight loss resistance.

Some people look forward to the holiday season and others dread hearing those three famous little words, “Tis the season!”  We all know what the holidays mean.  Cookies, candies, chocolates, treats, treats and more TREATS!!  And what does this lead to… holiday weight gain!  UGH.  Avoiding holiday weight gain can be a challenge even for the most disciplined person.  The average person will put on anywhere from 2-6 lbs. during this time of year… a huge disappointment for those that have practiced so much discipline with fitness as well as in the kitchen with a good nutrition plan in the months leading up to December.

There are definitely ways to still enjoy the holidays, AND keep a speedy metabolism, without throwing away all of that hard work.  First and foremost, give yourself credit for how far you’ve come and where you are now in your health and wellness journey.  Remember, you have made a lot of good decisions to get here!  And, I absolutely know that you want to stay here so that come January 1st, you can excel forward into the New Year, not feeling like you’re starting over.  I am actually not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions.  I feel that if you want to set a goal, you can set out to achieve any goal at any time throughout the year.  Want some help achieving and exceeding those goals NOW?  CLICK HERE to download my eBook, “The Art of Eating Fat to Get Thin… #UNdiet for Life!” right away!

If you take the discipline you’ve had with your fitness routines and in the kitchen for the months leading up to December, and put that energy towards following these holiday suggestions, I assure that not only will you enjoy yourself and not stress out about the little things, you’ll have a successful and healthy season launching yourself into the new year way ahead of where you would have been come January 1st had you not utilized these healthy tips that we’re about to go over!

First thing’s first… BE REAL!  Trying to lose weight during the holidays can be unrealistic.  Make it your goal to maintain your CURRENT weight.  Save those big goals for next year!  In January, set a time to reevaluate and decide what’s going to work for you.  Sit down with a few friends and have a goal setting session and keep accountable with each other!

Self – conversation… one of my favorite tools!  Sounds crazy though it totally works.  When that temptation arises, take a couple seconds to ask yourself, “How will I feel after I eat this?”  “…is this something I’ll really enjoy or will I be sorry afterwards?”  It is really important to make a conscious vs. an unconscious choice.  Mindful eating instead of mindless eating.  (An example of mind-LESS eating would be that bag of popcorn in front of the TV and all of a sudden you reach in and your hand hits the bottom of the bag, not realizing how that happened!)  No one has to hear your conversation.  It literally only takes 30 or 40 seconds to yourself and could really help you from sabotaging all of your good efforts.  Should you then choose to “go for it,” then do that.  Have that treat, ENJOY IT, and move on with no guilt.

Stay mobile and stick to a schedule!  Stay mobile, what??  Yes keep your body MOVING!!  Exercise, lift weights, walk.  Just do something.  Schedule your workouts as a calendar appointment that is not changeable.  Get it done earlier in the morning so that nothing “comes up” and tempts you to skip it.  If you cannot get a full workout, go for a walk.  Park far away from your destination or from the mall if you’re shopping.  Take the stairs.  If you live in a 2-story house, use them to your advantage.  So many options here!

…Sticking to a schedule, especially with your exercise routine, will also help manage moods and emotions and keep you on track.  It will also help you make good choices, MOST of the time!  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  It basically means that if you do what you’re supposed to by eating clean and exercising 80% of the time, your body will absorb the other 20% and stay in balance.  This is something that should be utilized once you’ve reached your nutrition and fitness goals.  I find that with my clients in my Nutrition the Natural Way private practice, they’re able to utilize more of a 90/10 rule throughout their programs while they’re working on getting their bodies back into balance.  Once they reach their goals, they are successful with 80/20.  Sometimes the body just needs a little extra help and that extra 10% is the difference that allows my clients to hit their goals.  So, be sure to use the 80/20 rule during the holidays… what you eat in one day is not going to break a healthy routine, but overindulging for 2 months will!

Keep in mind that exercise will not quickly burn off all excess holiday indulgences and **remember, Thanksgiving and Christmas are 2 DAYS, NOT 2 months!! 

Next… “Overcrowd” those meals and snacks with Real Food in the proper combination for YOUR individual metabolism.  (…more on eating for your individual metabolism a bit later!)  What is Real Food?!  My definition of Real Food is “Foods in their original state, how nature intended, with their nutrients and enzymes intact so they impact the body energetically and physiologically to positively support all body systems.  *Remember, Real Food regulates mood, hunger & behavior.”

…  “Overcrowding” and balancing your meals with Real Food Proteins, Fats & Choice Carbs will stabilize blood sugar while keeping you satisfied and keep those food and sugar cravings at bay.  These are the types of macronutrients your body and metabolism need to keep energy up and stress down during the holiday season!

Never skip meals, ESPECIALLY BREAKFAST, or eat “only” fruit in order to “save your calories for later… both will cause blood sugar to spike and so will your appetite!  And especially, don’t skip the good fats just because you might be thinking that something you’re going to eat later will also make up for it.  Good fats reduce cravings… good fats help you burn fat!! 

Speaking of never skipping meals… leave the house with a “happy tummy” on your way to a social gathering!  I know we’ve all heard “don’t go hungry.”  But seriously, DON’T GO HUNGRY!!  Eat a snack, preferably with protein and fat, before leaving or even on the way if time is tight, to cut down on cravings as well as reducing those feelings of “I’m starving!” especially if you’re unsure of the selection of food at your destination.

And, speaking of reducing hunger… WATER, WATER, WATER!  Drink up!  Drink a bottle of water on your drive to the party; you will be assured not to confuse hunger with dehydration.  In the bigger picture though, find ways to be sure you’re getting your water all the time.  Avoid waiting until you feel thirsty.  Add fresh lemon or lime to your water, try warm lemon water in the mornings, or even set a timer throughout the day if necessary.  I know for me, it’s always harder to get the amount I need during the colder season.  Water, in the right amount, will help keep you balanced, regular and detoxing and flushing out any unwanted toxins from foods you might not be used to eating year round. 

Speaking of drinking up… OR NOT.  Limit your caloric intake from beverages and try to eat, preferably protein, BEFORE you consume alcohol.  A drink typically averages 150-450 calories… now multiply that by 2-4 drinks.  YIKES, I can’t even count that high!!  J/K  Seriously though, that alone can send you over the edge for your daily caloric consumption.  Not to mention grams of sugar.

…If you choose a beverage, eat a rich protein and/ or some good fats, even just some nuts, FIRST.  This will help to limit the negative response alcohol has on blood sugar and the body.  Drinking beforehand will cause cravings, increase hunger & will spike the blood sugar resulting in severe over-indulgence!  (Disclaimer: this is not permission to drink.  Drink at your own risk and be sure you have a designated driver.)

Customized nutrition & eating for your individual metabolism… I love this one!  This can make all the difference in the world!  I use a customized system with my clients at Nutrition the Natural Way so we can figure out the exact percentages of Proteins, Fats and Choice Carbs that they personally need for their body so they can lose weight, have more energy, stabilize moods, strengthen immunity and digestion – and so much more.  Once you know what this is for your body and metabolism, there is no more guessing on what you should and should not eat.

Are you someone who needs more fat and protein?   Or are you someone who needs more carbohydrates?  Do you struggle with being hungry all the time and never feeling satisfied?  What about food or sugar cravings?  All of these uncomfortable symptoms are indications that your macronutrient ratios of Proteins, Fats and Choice Carbs is not quite right.  Feel free to CONTACT ME TODAY to learn how to get that dialed in with no guesswork.  Until then though, just do some experimenting.  Try a few meals heavier with proteins and fats and then try a few meals heavier in carbs.  Be sure to log your responses.  Feel free to let me know if you have questions!

If you’re going to a potluck, be sure to bring something to share that is healthful, delicious and will help you be successful!  Knowing your ideal ratios will make it so much easier to make food choices at a party or even at a restaurant.  Same goes if you have specific dietary needs.  Even if it is not a pot-luck, talk with the host about your needs and agree on something you can bring that will work for you so you can relax and know there will be something available for you to enjoy as well.

And, when it comes to potluck style gatherings, we all know there is no doubt that there will be desserts there.  In fact, have you ever been to a potluck and it seems like that’s all that people bring?!  This can be extremely frustrating!  So, choose a protein-based dish to bring as its safe to assume that there will already be a dessert there!  **Foods to be aware of: fried items, crackers/ chips & dip, pastry items, heavy desserts & sugary/ sweetened drinks.

Ok now for all of you world travelers!!  I know what you’re thinking… “this is all great stuff but I’m flying to another state to visit family and some of these suggestions are not feasible…”  So, first and foremost, take a deep breath!  I bet that a lot more of this is useful than you’re probably thinking.  Definitely take some “non-perishable” type snacks with you for the trip whether you’re traveling near or far… nuts, homemade trail mix, healthy bar, etc.  Maybe even a protein powder that you like and a shaker cup.  Don’t get stuck somewhere without food as this is sure to sabotage all of your efforts.  Especially if you’re going by plane!  Weather, flight issues or other unexpected delays are always a possibility so be prepared!  Also though, take some extra of this stuff that can be used throughout your trip.  Use these Real Food items for the times where you need a quick energy-boosting snack, instead of the sugary stuff that might be the alternative.  Use the “self conversation” tip and talk to yourself about how much better you’ll feel utilizing these nutrient dense, Real Food, options.

Get your ZZZZZZZs!  Rest, sleep… and breathe.  We all know that sleep is important.  As if all of the sweet treat temptations during the holidays aren’t enough, the holiday season can bring on other stressors that we’re not used to.  Family stuff, traveling, pressure with shopping/ gifts, entertaining, etc etc.  Going back to what I said earlier as far as keeping a workout schedule, it’s also best to keep your sleep schedule intact as well.  Don’t get caught up staying up later than usual to get things done; you’ll actually end up being less productive the following day.  Lack of sleep will contribute to feelings of overwhelm, fatigue, lowered immunity and quite frankly, even weight gain!!  Get your rest so that you can successfully manage all of the excitement happening during the holidays.

Are you entertaining?  Give your favorite holiday recipe(s) a makeover without sacrificing flavor!  Start reducing the sugar by ¼ in any baking recipe.  Did you know that with most recipes you can actually reduce it by at least half and not even notice a difference?  I often reduce sugar down to at least ½ of what the recipe actually calls for without changing or sacrificing flavor!  You can actually use 1/3 c. light brown sugar for every 1 cup of white sugar in a recipe.

Even better… today in health food stores as well as grocery stores and online, there are LOTS of healthier alternative sweeteners as well as other ingredients to use… nut and healthy grain flours, natural sweeteners, healthy oils, etc. etc.

I know, some of you are creatures of habit.  I totally get it.  And you’re asking, “why use alternatives, its just once a year?!”  Here is some food for thought:

  • Decrease your chances of sugar/ insulin spike… stay balanced!
  • These types of ingredients are more nutrient dense and have a better nutrient profile.
  • Many of you are dealing with food sensitivities and having some allergy friendly alternatives will help you not feel deprived or like you’re missing something!
  • Avoid toxic food substances… “Sugar is poison.” –Dr. Lustig, author of The Bitter Truth
  • You’re already struggling with digestive issues… don’t make them worse! When you combine sugar’s ability to knock down immunity with an already impaired digestive system, this is a recipe for disaster!

What are the “alternative sweeteners?”  Stevia, Xylitol, Erythritol, Coconut Nectar, Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar to name a few.  They’re very easy to use and Xylitol in particular can be used in 1:1 ratio for white sugar.  Others might require a bit of taste and tolerance testing depending on the brands and products you choose to use.

In conclusion, the holiday season can be a really amazing time!  The key to health and wellness during this time, and quite frankly, throughout the rest of the year is BALANCE!!  If you’re feeling out of balance (weight gain, fatigue, bloating, gas, depression, insomnia… or ??) and you’re struggling to get your body back to where you think you should be, I’d love to help!

Feeling out of balance can cause all kinds of symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, irritability or moodiness, insomnia, depression and anxiety; to digestive issues such as bloating, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, and so much more.

Who wants to live with all of this JUNK?  If these have become “normal” for your every day life, you don’t have to deal with these “symptoms” anymore!  They’re just symptoms of a bigger problem that is likely fixable without a quick fix!

CLICK HERE to contact me today or send me an email direct to Dani@NutritiontheNaturalWay.com to find out how you can get rid of these challenging symptoms once and for all!  Make next year your BEST YEAR YET!

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