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Merry and Bright or Puffy and Tight?

Point to Ponder:

Are you feeling the holiday fluff and puff?

Confession: I treated myself to a new pair of Lululemon shorts, just tried them on and they are tight. Yep, my butt and inner thighs have expanded, however rather than take the shorts back or change into something more flattering and comfortable, I’ve decided to keep it real, continue to wear them and do what I know works: hydrate, increase my protein, decrease my carbs and exercise. If you’re reading this and have found yourself in the same post-Thanksgiving spot, or just want to maintain your weight throughout the holidays, this will work for you too. Regardless of your age, diet or exercise history, if you consistently do these things (even for one week) you’ll feel a difference. The goal is to feel merry and bright vs puffy and tight.

Last year, Kathleen reminded us of these great facts: The average American gains an average of 5 pounds between now and the new year. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that many people never lose the weight they put on during the holidays. The study also added that the one or two pounds that you can gain over the holidays can stay with you forever--eek!

We know that indulging is part of the holiday tradition, but we can help counter the evening indulgences by starting our day with a high-protein breakfast, iGniting, hydrating, and eating a low carbs/increased protein diet throughout the day.

As iGnite Leader Kathleen Parker reminded us last year, we have to treat our workout time as any other obligation on the calendar. Write down your workouts on your daily calendar as if they are an appointment you cannot miss! When we exercise daily we naturally eat healthier, drink more water and have better bowel movements. Just sayin’! And, because the holidays can bring the blues… exercise, reduced carbohydrates and higher protein helps with happiness! Exercise increases our happiness endorphins and relationships with others is the number one predictor of health and happiness. Uh-humm..iGnite! (if you can't make it to class, check out our at-home Instagram workouts)

If you want to stay merry and bright rather than feel puffy with tight clothes, here’s why you'll want to decrease your carbs, increase your protein and stay hydrated. Sadly, exercise alone will not counter excess carbs or consistent over indulgences:

1. Protein- Think of protein as muscle food, and in order to burn fat and add lean muscle mass, eating protein is a must. Protein such as eggs, (whole eggs—we need the awesome fat in the yolk), turkey, chicken, lean beef, uncured bacon, pork, beans, fish, and high protein grains such as quinoa are all great. To rev up our metabolism and fire up our muscles, we need to eat a high-protein breakfast. A heavy carbohydrate breakfast will not only sustain us and it doesn’t feed our muscles. Eating protein at every meal and throughout the day is key.

2. Carbohydrates- Carbohydrates are not our enemy, rather the enemy is the amount we consume at one sitting, and time of day we consume them. Our arch-enemy is the heavy carb meal or the glass(es) of wine at night— when we are least active and become sedentary. When carbohydrates are unburned the carbohydrates convert to sugar which then turns to fat—hence the pesky abdominal fat and puffiness. We absolutely need carbohydrates for energy and ideally eating no more than 30 grams per meal is best. Of course the quality of carbohydrate is key too. Eating more complex carbohydrates, like our grains, fruits and veggies, rather than simple, such as breads and sweets, is helpful, but still, quantity and time of day is key. This time of year, high protein soups are great! I found some great recipes on Eat This Not That.

*Allergy, Cold and Flu Tip!* Remember, only 1 tsp of sugar can suppress our immune system for up to 5 hours, therefore when we keep our carbohydrates/sugars low, this will make a difference in how our body fights seasonal allergies, the cold and flu. Speaking from experience, when I keep my carbohydrates low I do not experience seasonal allergies and have much better energy. Sugar effects everything!

3. Hydration- For cleansing and increased energy, drink your morning hot lemon water and throughout the day drink our favorite cranberry water and/or water throughout the day. For convenience, make a pitcher and because sugar increases inflammation, to help reduce inflammation, toss in 1TBSP of apple cider vinegar.


Action Item

Make your daily exercise a priority, while increasing your hydration, decreasing your carbohydrates and increasing your protein.

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