Nov 182014
 

I was really hoping to have lost a decent amount of my honeymoon weight BEFORE the holidays hit this year.  Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I was plugging along, doing my best to eat properly, measuring my food, counting my calories (even the bites) and limiting the alcohol intake. I did okay throughout the latter part of October and most of November.

I was determined not to gain weight during the holiday season. It’s so easy to just say “oh well, I guess I’ll gain that Christmas 5″ but I didn’t want that to happen this year. As with most years when the holidays hit, my goal is to just MAINTAIN where I am. Bare minimum, stay where I’m at. That means I can still indulge here and there and I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of everything “fun.”  Check out this old post, an oldie but a goodie, on this very topic: Why Wednesday- Why You Don’t Quit for the Holidays.

The biggest thing I can do for this is limiting the liquid calories. Historically speaking I would stop drinking my calories (in all forms) starting the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve-ish. That has worked well for me in the past because it was calories I didn’t necessarily need so for 30 days I could abstain and that would keep the weight steady. Here are a few old posts about Thanksgiving:

Rebel Turkey Day

Setting a Skinny Table

Any Way You Slice That Pumpkin Pie

holiday-weight-loss-tips

Christmas is harder for me. There’s a lot of events–Michael’s work throws a big party that’s catered and has a full bar. My family always threw a big shindig with amazing food and my aunt’s famous eggnog. So much temptation!

Christmas Cookies – Part 1

Christmas Cookies – Part 2

Christmas Cheer

Then of course there is the hot cocoa, which usually satisfies my sweet tooth and is a good low-calorie dessert, but sometimes drinking cocoa makes me want a warm, yummy cookie to go along with it! Dammit more temptations!

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Losing during the holiday season is such a struggle. The social eating is what has always been my downfall. I try my best and I go into these situations with good intentions but then there’s always something on that buffet table that I find irresistible. So how do you stop that binge?

There are a few tricks I use. If I am going to a holiday party where I know there will be lots of good food, I make sure that I get my workout in first. If nothing else it gives the day balance. Next, I try to eat sensibly the rest of the day. That does not mean starving myself, but it also does not mean that the entire day is a waste and I should just eat whatever I want.

Sparkling water and diet soda do wonders. If you don’t want to spend your calories on alcohol, or want to limit the intake, this is a great trick. Sparkling zero calorie drinks can fill you up temporarily and you have something in your hand that you are drinking. So it’s not like you’re standing there like a scrooge while everyone is partying. In the past I did this at my family holiday party because was pretty much a whole day affair and that’s a LOT of calories if you just eat and drink the entire time. I pace myself. I start with water. I switch to diet soda. Then later in the evening I might indulge in an adult beverage or two.

Those adult beverages add a LOT of calories to your meal. Is it worth it? Usually not. Read this post if you haven’t: I Had a Drinking Problem.

Despite not making the dent in my weight loss that I had hoped before the holidays, I am going back to the “just try and maintain” method for the rest of 2014. That is my goal, along with maintaining my fitness routine. Some of my other goals: avoid holiday baking at home (there is plenty everywhere else, I don’t need to make any more!), try not to beat myself up about indulging here and there and most importantly: weigh myself once a week to CHECK IN. Stay on track!

Check out this link for some more tips: 32 Science-Backed Ways To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

How do you keep the weight gain at bay during the holidays?

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Nov 112014
 

When I decided it was time to get serious again about losing the vacation weight and getting back on track, I struggled. I was hungry all the time. If you missed the post I wrote addressing hunger, check it out: Always Hungry? Here’s Why. I knew I needed to make some changes to my diet — not just getting back to my normal calorie range and reducing the amount of sugar I eat. I needed to eat more protein.

I was poking around online trying to figure out how to change my diet and came across this article: 12 Signs You Need to Eat More Protein. A brief breakdown: You’re Always Hungry, You’re Cutting Calories, You’re Lifting Heavy Things, You’re Engaged in Chronic Cardio, You’ve Got Achy Joints, You’re Experiencing Chronic Stress. Those were the ones that spoke to me. Yep, yep, yep. While I’m not necessarily lifting heavy, I am trying to get back into the weight lifting routine. I am hungry a lot, I AM cutting my calories to lose the weight, and damn I’m always achy…

The answer: I need more protein.

Which I already knew. Eating healthy fats and good proteins are what will fill you up. Sure, you get hungry and grab a bagel or chips or other junk thinking it will curb the hunger but those empty calories and carby things don’t go the distance. At least not for me.

I’ve definitely got the dinner down. We eat a protein with a vegetable and a salad or quinoa. That’s a pretty typical dinner. We rotate between chicken breasts, salmon, shrimp, ground turkey, boneless pork chops, and steak. I don’t really need help sneaking in more protein at dinner, it’s the other meals.

veggie-protein

A typical breakfast for me has been eggs and gluten free toast. It works well for me. But lately I’ve tried to mix things up to see if I can get more mileage out of that breakfast. One example: when I was doing food prep for the week, I browned some spicy pork sausage to use for the week. For breakfast that week I scrambled two eggs and mixed in some of the pork sausage and topped it with avocado. It was a great breakfast! Tasty and filling and I wasn’t starving by the time my usual morning break came around.

One thing I decided to change: add egg whites. Two scrambled eggs are about 140 calories. Adding some egg whites only adds about 15-20 calories to that but it bulks up the scramble. Perfect. Adding veggies to the scramble is also a smart move. The vegetables add bulk in healthy ways. Some of my favorites that are higher in protein are spinach, kale and broccoli. Yum! Doing a Frittata/Quiche type dish for the week is a faster way to do breakfast and pack it with lots of high protein things. (Maybe I need to start doing these muffins for breakfast again.)

eggs

Back when Michael and I were doing the slow carb diet, we ate a TON of beans. You can get the food list here: Slow Carb Food List. Not really paleo-friendly, but I liked aspects of the slow-carb diet. Eating beans filled you up like you wouldn’t believe. Soybeans (edamame) are the highest protein but I am not a huge fan of eating soy so I try to limit that. Navy Beans have 15.8 grams of protein per serving; black beans have 15.2 grams; pinto beans have 14 grams per serving. Beans are really versatile, too. You can add them to eggs, burritos, wraps, salads, pretty much anything.

What about snacks? I think that’s where I need to get more protein. Typically I eat an apple for a morning snack. I am trying to add string cheese to that because the combination seems to be much more filling than either of those on their own. Here are some other ideas I came up with:

Peanut Butter with celery and raisins

Cottage Cheese (This is one of my favorite snacks because it doesn’t usually take much to satisfy me.)

Greek Yogurt (I prefer to use plain and then add nuts and fresh fruit to it)

Nuts (cashews and pistachios are my favorites)

Hard-boiled eggs

Beef Jerky 

Hummus with veggies

Veggie and meat wrap (I saw this on pinterest and it looks really good! Use lean deli meat like turkey)

Kefir (I love this stuff!)

Swiss cheese with fruit 

Almond Milk

Protein Bar (this is tricky because it can be high in sugar and carbs)

A protein shake is another tip I see online a lot. This is an iffy one for me. The problem is that most protein shakes don’t fill me up like food does. I’ve tried many times to supplement meals or snacks with a protein shake and I was hungry pretty quickly afterward. Another downside? Sugar. Protein shakes are often high in sugar. I like the Atkins protein shakes because they are low in calories and low in sugar/carbs. But again–it’s not filling me up like food does.

peanutbowl2

 

The trick is to find food that is high in protein but not high in calories! Nuts are very high in calories. Luckily I only have to eat a few of them to take the edge off my hunger and lately I’ve been pairing pistachios with a string cheese. That combination is pretty tasty, especially when I’m craving salty/crunchy foods.

I need some more ideas. What are your favorite ways to eat more protein?

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