November 14, 2018

Nutrition Basics: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 4:03 am

Nutrition Basics: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Jim Beaumont CSC, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Certified Sport Nutrition Specialist, Primal Blueprint Heath Coach, Tactical Athlete Kettlebell Instructor. Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning(208) 412-6079

Holiday weight gain is about more than just eating more food and a few holiday parties.
It’s no secret that many people put on extra layers of fat during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Yes, some of it is due to eating more and it is harder to make good food choices when co-workers, friends, and family carefully and lovingly prepare special treats. It definitely comes from a good place in their hearts, but you are in control of what you put in your mouth.

But, it’s not just a plate of cookies here and there or a few holiday parties that do the damage. It’s almost a perfect storm of factors that are enough to sabotage health and fitness goals.

Exercise is 10% of a strength or fitness goal. Nutrition is 80% of that goal. Sleep and stress levels are the remaining 10% Today, we are focusing on how that last 10% relate to the other two, and how there are special considerations during this time of year. And no, “just eat less and move more” is not the answer.

Poor Sleep
Lack of sleep and poor sleep hygiene is a problem for most people at all times of year, but it is especially problematic for those of us in climates that see significantly less sunlight during winter months.
Deep sleep cycles stimulate the release of growth hormone (GH). Repeated nights of poor sleep severely compromise insulin and leptin sensitivity and elevate cortisol levels. This places you in a constantly stressed condition and interferes with blood sugar levels. This contributes to poor food choices and makes fat storage your body’s preference. Understand that a poor night of sleep might make you more susceptible to poor food choices.

Optimize Your Sleep:
•Sleep in a completely dark, cool room. This includes alarm clocks phones, etc.
•Avoid screen time and bright light prior to bed. This interferes with DLMO (dim-light melatonin onset). Melatonin and GH are closely related.
•Get exposure to blue light in the morning and daytime, but avoid at night.
•Install F.lux on your computer (or a similar program for phones).
•Wear “blue blocker” glasses after sundown (3 hours before bedtime).
•Get more thiamine and taurine. These come from things like eating organ meats.
•Get adequate zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins. Take ZMA.
•Take melatonin (but my advice is to do so sparingly).
•Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine.
•Take vitamin C after training and in the evenings.
•Foam roll or stretch before bed and practice deep breathing.
•Naps are your friend.
•Bi-phasic sleep is normal and natural.
•Yes, you do need more sleep in the winter.
•Shift work can cause special problems. Safeguard your sleep like your life depends on it.
Avoid Acute and Chronic Stressors:
•The effect a stressor has upon you is directly related to how much awareness and control you have over the situation.
•We can’t control all sources of stress, but we can control our behaviors surrounding the situation.
•“Stress eating” and “comfort foods.” These are responses to heightened cortisol levels.
•Financial stress
•Family stress.
•Social pressure. Be a little selfish sometimes. Ask yourself what will make you the happiest and what is the most important to you and your health.
•Social media and news. Follow Jim’s “25 Year Rule.”

Action Items:

1. Remove corn, wheat, and soy from your diet (review from previous class).

2. Evaluate your sleep hygiene.

3. Identify behaviors/situations that “trigger” poor eating choices.

4. Control what you can. Manage what you cannot. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim-of-circumstance. You have 100% control over what you put in your mouth.

5. Focus on what makes you the happiest.

6. Eliminate people, news, and social media sources that don’t have a direct and positive effect on your life.

7. Look at ancestral food options for holiday feasts. Check out what was on the table for the first Thanksgiving.

8. Take time to enjoy the moment. Be grateful. We live in the best county in the world, in probably the best area of that country. We are safe, relatively free of environmental catastrophe, have enough to eat, and have the potential to be the healthiest we’ve ever been.

9. Donate to a cause you believe in. Don’t tell a soul about it. Keep it a secret.

10. Remember: No matter what else, you can change your health starting with your next meal, next night of sleep, and next training session. Progress, not perfection.

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