Overcome Holiday Weight & Cook Your Way to Weight Loss

by Ankur Garg
Overcome Holiday Weight & Cook Your Way to Weight Loss

If you are like me, you have a ton of holiday parties going on this time of the year.  So far I’ve already been to two, and I have another four coming up, not to mention Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day activities AND New Years Eve and New Years Day.  It’s such a busy time of the year with above average temptations.

 “Wellllll I can only have these yummy little treats this time of the year.”

 “But the eggnog at this party is always the best eggnog I’ve ever had in my life.” 

“I can’t go out to my husband’s work party without having at least one glass of wine.”

 Any of these sound like you?

 I totally get it.  I am obsessed with the food on Christmas day.  The amount of sugar and butter in the French toast casserole is probably more than the combined total of sugar and butter I eat in a year.  You guys all know I’m not going to my man’s company party without a glass of wine.  But I am not willing to give up my fitness goals just because of my social life and temptations around me. Being lean, healthy and strong are all things very important to me, so I have to create a plan of attack to get through the holiday season without any weight gain!!  So I’m going to fill you guys in on how I’m going to do it so you can create your own holiday fat loss plan too!


  1.  Get out your calendar.  Mark down your party dates in green.  Green is such a fun, social color anyway.  Now, write down your workout dates in red.  Red is bold and cannot be ignored.  No matter what, you must stick to these workout dates.  Some should be strategically marked in the morning after some of your parties, so that way you can’t have too much holiday spirit – that would make your workout pretty miserable.


  1.  Now that you have your workouts scheduled in RED INK, let’s talk about how you are going to handle yourself at these parties.  If you know that the head of HR makes the BEST SUGAR COOKIES YOU HAVE EVER HAD IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, then yes, you should have ONE.  Take one.  Truly enjoy and savor every bite.  Don’t scarf it down.  Sit down, take each bite slowly and enjoy it.  But that is it.  Spend the rest of the party socializing, snacking on the veggie plate and sipping seltzer.


  1.  Bring your own dish.  It’s courteous and you can impress people with your amazing cooking skills.  It will be really healthy so it will give you something to eat while you are at the party, but no one else even needs to know how healthy it is.  I like to bring angelic deviled eggs or spinach and artichoke dip.


  1.  Wear something sexy.  You wanna look good and feel good right?  Well this actually has a pretty big psychological impact and can keep you from overdoing it.  Last Saturday I wore this tight little number, and I certainly didn’t want to overdo it or my belly was gonna stick out!  Get my point?


  1.  Save it for the parties.  If you know that Friday night is going to be a big night, don’t have your wine or chocolate on a Wednesday “just because.”  That’s the thing about the holidays and the reason most people gain weight this time of the year.  We get into the habit of having things mid-week “just because,” and then when you have something going on every single weekend for a month, and you indulge there too, you now have an excess of “sometimes foods.”


Keep it clean and be a little strict during the week.  I’m sorry but a handful of your kid’s goldfish crackers or a doughnut with your coffee really do count right now because you are going to be taking in more on the weekends than usual.  By the time the weekend or your party rolls around you will feel so much better about yourself and the extras that you have won’t hurt so bad.


  1. Choose your drinks wisely.  Red wine is the best choice, vodka or tequila come second.  You can sip a couple of glasses of wine or vodka sodas in a night without doing too much damage.  Beware of any pre-mixed drinks and anything with syrup or cream.  Remember no matter what, you must stick to your water goal.  So for me. before I leave my house I must have drank my entire gallon before I can move on to the big girl drinks.


  1. If you are hosting, send your friends home with food.  Don’t let anyone’s fatty foods stick around your house.  If you have a ton of uneaten food, donate it to a local shelter or toss it right away.  Don’t think about it, don’t let it sit there on your counter, speaking to you like the pile of money with eyeballs in the Geico commercial.


  1.  Keep in mind that the morning after too much alcohol, you are serious fat storing mode.  Your metabolism is slower than ever and your body is craving carbs. Tell your brain to shut it, and go have a sweet potato with your eggs.  Sweet potatoes have a ton of electrolytes which will help you rehydrate.  This is also a healthy carb.  A couple of hours later in your next meal, have a banana.  Coconut water is another great electrolyte replenisher as well.  The point is you need to eat healthy foods that will help subside your cravings, foods that are going to be difficult to store as fat.  And get up and move.  Even if it’s just going for a walk.  Anything to help speed up your metabolism!


Now that we are all armed with such a great plan of attack, avoiding weight gain during the holiday season should not be a problem at all.  Heck, some of us may even LOSE body fat during the holiday season!


Just remember, it is so possible to stay on top of your goals this time of the year.


You get through the holidays, But what about the New Year?

Each year, many people gear their New Year’s resolution around becoming healthier; whether that is losing weight, getting in the gym more, eating better, etc. Often times, people will decide to follow what I like to call “fad diets”, diets that follow a specific program design. Now, Let me begin by saying, if this works for you, by no means is it bad and keep up the great work! However, there is a vast difference between a diet and a lifestyle change. So, which one is THE best? Both will work! Diets allow you to accomplish short-term goals while a lifestyle change is more permanent. As an individual, you have unique goals and it is important that you choose what is best for you and your situation.

Now let’s talk diets and establishing your unique approach for success.

First, when trying to figure out the best place is to start it is important you have a specific goal in mind. Do you want to lose a certain amount of weight? Do you want to work on portion control? Do you want to replace junk food with more vegetables? The options are endless! It is important to start at a place that provides the greatest opportunity for success. What do I mean by that? I mean it is ok to start slow; you do not have to go from 0 to 100 on New Years Day. You don’t want your resolution to seem like a chore, but something you look forward to because you are taking positive steps to a healthier you.

If you are choosing to follow a specific diet program, I have word of advice: MODERATION! Diet plans can be very strict and set you up for failure. Because of the strict structure of a “diet plan”, I see a lot of people who, after the diet regimen is complete and they incorporate everyday foods again, begin to “yo-yo”. “Yo-yo” dieting is when you are constantly going on and off diets. Your body gets short-term results from the “diet plan” and then gains it all back at the end of the plan. With that being said, allow yourself to have the food you may be craving during your plan. Remember, MODERATION is a vital key to success and will protect you from binges.

A recent diet trend is the paleo approach. This paleo diet is gaining popularity and success because it is well balanced in all nutrient areas. Read here for more
Next, set yourself up for success. If you are reducing the amount the unhealthy food you regularly consume, remove it from your pantry and refrigerator. Change is hard and temptations of old habits do not make it easier, especially when the cabinet and refrigerator are screaming your name every day. If you plan to exercise more, set a time each day that you KNOW you can make happen. Do not say, “I will do it later” or “I will go tomorrow”, “later” and “tomorrow” never happen.

Be prepared! Start by implementing meal preps into your weekly plan. In the beginning, meal prep can be a difficult step, as you search for healthy foods you enjoy and how to cook them, but trust me, the process becomes easy and actually enjoyable! Turn on some music, put on your apron and whip up some good meals for the week. A vital step in meal prep includes your snacks as well. Convenience stores are called convenient for a reason and are typically a hub for unhealthy options that serve your midday hunger. Healthy is easy; reach for nuts, a piece of fruit, carrots and hummus and of course, any of the nutritious, ABOUTTIME products.

Finally, to make your change the most successful, you must master the most difficult part of the process: Belief in yourself. This characteristic is going to drive you and your level of change. You will not make it to the gym if you do not believe you have the strength to engage in a workout. You will not go to the grocery to get healthy food if you do not believe you will like new, healthy foods. You will not change, unless you can believe you can. You set this resolution with at least a small part of you that does believe you can do it! Go in being realistic. Expect that working out and changing your eating habits is going to be difficult, but not impossible. It is a new year, it is 2016, it is ABOUTTIME to do the new, healthy you!



Batch Cooking Must Haves:

Here are my top five items you MUST have to successfully batch cook every week!  And no, time is not on that list :)

  1. Tupperware.Some folks like glass.  I like the ones that come from the dollar store.  Either way, you need a lot of tupperware in all different shapes and sizes.  I like the flat, square ones for my chicken and vegetables and your basic leftovers.  I prefer the rectangular, deeper sizes for my oats.  And I like small cups for smaller portions like sweet potato or fruit.  Whether you prefer glass or plastic, make sure it’s clear, dishwasher and microwave safe!
  2. Food scale.You absolutely must measure your foods to know your portion sizes.  A food scale will tell you if you’ve got the 3.5 ounces you need or if your eyes are bigger than your stomach (or the size you envision it to be.)  No guestimating – no eyeballing – you gotta be point point and the food scale will help you out!
  3. Measuring cups.You can’t always weigh your portions – sometimes you need to scoop out the right amount.  For example if your portion is 1/4 of oatmeal or 1/2 cup of brown rice.  Having all of the measuring cups on hand is vital to getting the portions right.
  4. George Foreman grill.I had never owned one of these until last year, the night I was prepping my food to leave for my show, my oven and stove stopped working, and it was too cold to grill outside.  So I borrowed a George Foreman grill and it was a life-saver!  You can cook turkey burgers, veggies and all of your chicken on this thing in just a few minutes!
  5. Lunch bag.What’s the point of prepping all your food if you can’t bring it with you? I bought a hot pink lunch bag from Target for $1.  But some folks swear by their Six Pack Bag.  Even if you just use the Lulu Lemon bag you got yesterday when buying your Scuba Hoodieit’s all good!
by Ankur Garg


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