Weight gain numbers show that an average of only one to two pounds is accumulated each year during the holidays. While this does not sound like much, most will not lose these few pounds, and the reality is that it’s these which result in the 10lb plus increase per decade us adults are documented to experience. My years of clinical practice has shown that becoming a statistic by packing on extra pounds that don’t leave does not have to be the inevitable. These same years of research and experience have also lead me to accumulate several simple and effective suggestions to keep your energy high and to successfully navigate holiday events. Use this simple Seven Step plan BEFORE your holiday season gets into high swing:
1.Weigh yourself twice a week
While I, as well as many health experts, most often recommend weighing in only once a week, assessing twice a week during times like the holidays can often provide ample awareness to make sure you stay on track. This is not often enough, however, to remove your ability to enjoy the fun of your holidays or become overly focused on the number on the scale.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Tip: Get your benchmark and stay on track by stepping on the scale first thing in the morning, when your stomach is empty, and record the number two days a week.
2. Start your day with a bang!
This habit is especially beneficial to offset the morning after effects from a multi-course dinner, party, or indulgence. Before your breakfast, and after consuming only your coffee (with cream and cinnamon) bang out 20 to 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. If you are short on time, opt for 20 minutes of interval training. If you have more time, or are not as energetic, reduce the intensity but increase the length of a steady state cardio activity (such as walking on a treadmill at an incline of four and a speed of four miles per hour). Exercising on an empty stomach has been found to burn 15 to 18% percent more fat and it also stimulates fat burning until your first meal containing carbs. You can enhance the thermogenic (or fat burning effects) of your early morning workout with the use of a newly discovered supplement – Green Tea Vitality Formula Enhanced with Moringa from Greens First. This product provides a potent dose of green tea (one capsule equates three cups of green tea) and is enhanced with Moringa for additional blood sugar balancing and antioxidant effects. This product not only aids weight loss but prevents weight gain and maintenance of body composition after a weight loss diet. Those who desire weight loss should take two to three capsules per day, while one capsule per day is suitable for antioxidant, immune and overall health promotion.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Tip: Early morning cardio BEFORE breakfast and add two to three capsules of Green Tea Vitality Formula Enhanced with Moringa to your morning routine to aid weight loss and prevent weight gain. Juicing or juice cleanses are commonly marketed for weight loss and promoting health. While it is undeniable that most vegetable and fruit juices contain beneficial phytonutrients, vitamins, or antioxidants, most mainstream media and educational outlets fail to highlight the fact that juices primarily tend to provide a dietary source carbohydrates only and are devoid of fiber, fat, and protein. Upon consumption, therefore, most juices tend to increase blood sugars and subsequently, insulin release. As a result, this physiological reaction furthers weight gain, hunger, and hormonal imbalance. The better option for a liquid diet and cleanse in my opinion is bone broth. It’s perfect for the winter, for soothing a tired body, mind, or weakened immunity. Most bone broths also provide almost 100% pure protein, no fat, and no carbohydrates – so they are fantastic to aid fat loss, but have many other benefits including:
- Heal and “seal” your gut. A cup a day works miracles for healing your digestive system. The gelatin in the bone broth (found in the knuckles, feet, and other joints) helps seal up holes in intestines. This helps cure chronic diarrhea, constipation, and even some food intolerances.
- Protect your joints. Broth also includes a host of other goodies that help keep your joints happy, healthy, and pain-free. The glucosamine, amino acids and chondroitin sulfate in bone broth has been shown to help prevent osteoarthritis.
3. Look younger
Bone broth is a rich source of collagen. The glycine in bone broth has been shown in several studies to help people sleep better and improve memory. A Harvard study even showed that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, with some achieving a complete remission.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Day Tip: Cleanse your body – bone broth style.
Drink as much bone broth as you can for a whole day. Enjoy a protein rich meal in the afternoon or evening if you need to like roasted chicken, grilled salmon or an omelette. You can purchase bone broth at your local health food store in the freezer section or bottles on the shelf (for example, one from a company called Boryza) or you can make your own broth with this recipe:
- 4 quarts of water
- 1 tsp celtic or himalayan sea salt
- 4-5 whole peppercorns
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 large onion unpeeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- 3-4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 2-4 lbs of organic, grass fed meat or organic poultry bones
- Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on high.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes, and the more the bones break down – this is where all the magic happens!
- Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth or coffee filter into a large bowl. Discard the waste – you can keep the veggies and eat them as is, or make a tasty puree.
- Place in mason jars. It will keep for a few days in the fridge, but you can also freeze and keep for future use in soups, stews, rice, quinoa.
Want collagen benefits without the broth? Purchase some of my very own Nova Scotia Marine Collagen – we have unflavoured which you can add to a shake OR even coffee in the morning OR berry flavored. This special formula is hydrolyzed marine collagen with added vitamin C which helps your body absorb the collagen!
4. Get Hot Baby!
Sleep deprivation and jet lag are proven to decrease our body temperature, most likely due to the stress and impact they have on the metabolic effects we enjoy from thyroid hormones. However, beyond the decrease in metabolism we can experience in these fatigued states, we also naturally experience an increase in appetite, particularly for comfort food. How can you prevent this desire to eat? It’s simple – turn up your body heat! Heat can help to control our weight by suppressing our appetite. An all-you-can-eat buffet certainly loses its appeal when we’re hot. You can do this by wearing extra layers, doing activities that increase body heat….like exercising or have a sauna or hot shower. Drinking hot liquids all day long is also a metabolic must and herbal teas are best for this occasion. Alcohol also increases our nighttime temperature, which could be another reason for its sleep-disrupting effects, besides its impact on our blood sugar and stress hormones. Researchers from France suggest this may also explain some clinical signs observed in alcoholic patients, including sleep and mood disorders. They go on to say that the negative effects of jet lag, shift work, and aging — all of which are known to alter our body temperature by influencing our hormones — can be aggravated by alcohol. These factors can, therefore, affect our waistline as well.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Tip: Stay warm….especially after those late nights or stress to prevent overeating….wear warm clothes, have a sauna; hot shower; do hot yoga for workout that day and always drink hot teas all day long. My favorite is a mixture of a fruit flavor tea with green tea. Treat yourself to an infrared sauna session at Clear Medicine. Click here for more details.
5. Do not bank calories all day for a party at night!
It’s best for your metabolism, energy and body weight to stay satiated all day. In fact, I recommend setting yourself up for success by switching your lunch meal with your on the go meal option you tend to have at 3 to 4 pm. I have been using this trick with my patients lately and found it has worked great for weight loss, appetite control and preventing over eating in the evening. So – don’t go for your smoothie for breakfast, but have solid food for breakfast, then enjoy your meal on the go option like a protein shake or protein bar around 11 to 12. Then have a salad with chicken, soup with turkey, or your typical lunch meal between 2 to 4pm.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Tip: Make your lunch time meal a protein packed meal on the go with a smoothie or B Up Bar from Yup Brands. These bars are amazing! They contain 20 grams of whey protein, 20 grams of fibre, all natural ingredients and are very low carb. They are one of only a few that meet my nutritional guidelines and recommendations. Not that into bars? Check out all our protein powders online here.
6. Get Alkaline
While many of us have heard of the benefits of an alkaline body pH – most of us have been informed to measure our pH in the morning. Go to bed alkaline…..we hear about testing pH in morning but before bed is what I think is key because of all the metabolic, repairing and detoxifying processes that naturally occur during sleep which cause an increase in body acidity. Boosting your body pH before bed can also help to maintain electrolyte balance, especially potassium, which drops water weight.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Tip: I love a product called PM Alkalizer from Greens First for restoring and maintaining night time body pH balance. It tastes great, contains whole food natural ingredients, aids bone density and provides a rich dose of antioxidants. Combine this with the green tea in the morning and you’ve created yourself a simple and effective daily routine to aid weight loss.
7. Cave in to cravings (Yay!)
Finally, a suggestion we can all get behind. It’s smart to acknowledge a few cravings instead of pushing them away completely. Caving to a craving—as long as it’s in moderation—can curb the desire to go at it like a kid in a candy store. Forbidding a specific food or food group during the holiday season may only make it more attractive.
Dr. Turner’s Holiday Seven Step Holiday Guide Tip: Smile and enjoy a treat. If you stick to these other things – you deserve it – and who wants to be cranky and deprived over the holidays?? Still want more of that apple pie after a couple of bites? Try thinking of your favorite holiday activity, like opening presents, watching Christmas movies, or playing in the snow. Research shows that daydreaming about pleasant activities or distracting yourself with just about any activity can reduce the intensity of food cravings. If that doesn’t work I suggest eating frozen fruit and to keep chewable vitamin C tabs on hand – these will give you a dose of sweet and an immune boost!