How to Enjoy the Holidays… And Not Gain a Pound.

Today we have a very special post from our own spokesmodel, Amber Lynn. Amber’s not only a star fitness competitor and rockin’ instructor – she’s also a black belt in Karate and trains in Muay Thai!

But even Amber plans on having some cheat meals this holiday season. She’s here with some tips for you to make sure you enjoy your own cheat meals… without gaining a pound.

Take it away, Amber!

Look, I don’t care how committed to health and fitness you are… how many times a week you work out… whether you know exactly how many calories you eat every day… or if you keep track of how many grams of protein you eat per hour…

The holidays are full of good food, and you should enjoy it!

But enjoying it doesn’t mean you have to walk away 5-10 pounds heavier. In fact, follow these tips below, and you should maintain your weight through this treacherous time.

1. Don’t skip meals!

Now your mom, your grandma, or whoever is cooking the big holiday meals might want you to starve yourself all day. That way you’ll be nice and hungry come dinner time.

Don’t do it! Eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Before leaving for the party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a handful of nuts to curb your appetite. You’ll be less tempted to over-indulge.

Over eating will be your biggest nemesis through the holidays. Enjoy your family’s cooking without eating to the point of stomach pain. When you step on the scale after New Years, you’ll give yourself a big “thank you”.

2. Go to the party with a plan.

So much food. So little time.

Check out the buffet first, and then decide what and how much you will eat. Balance your meals out: Don’t be tempted to fill up your plate with purely rich, calorie-laden food.

Instead, have a little of everything including fruits and vegetables. That way, you’ll still get to indulge as well as receive valuable nutrients and vitamins.

Here’s a tip for you too: eat a protein-rich food first. The texture of meats causes lots of chewing, which activates hormones triggering full-ness.

Meat digests slowly, too. So it’ll curb your appetite, letting you enjoy the rest of the meal without being in a food-induced frenzy (as fun as a food-induced frenzy might be).

3. Exercise!

Most people have a little extra time available over the holiday season when they’re not at work. Take this opportunity to exercise a bit more for the holidays. This will help you burn off the excess calories and fat you’ll consume.

Also: after the holiday dinners, take a brisk walk. It’ll jump-start your metabolism, helping you burn off some of those extra calories you took in. If you overate, it’ll help ease the pain too, and you’ll feel a little better inside knowing you at least got a bit of exercise in ;-).

4. Be wary of sugary foods!

Always remember that rich, sugary foods have a nasty habit of making us crave yet more rich and sugary foods. We’ve all been there…scarfing down cookies, cake, ice cream and anything else in sight…feeling bloated, sick, and swearing, “I’ll never do it again! I swear!”

…Then, a couple of hours later, you’re back for more.

It happens to the best of us. But, by limiting your intake of super-sweet foods, and by balancing them with lots of water intake, and fruits and veggies, you can nip this cycle in the bud.

5. Moderate your alcohol intake.

Don’t forget that alcohol is fattening too. That innocent-looking glass of sparkly wine or that small bottle of beer may look as though it will do no harm…

… but the carbs stack up.

If there’s no way you’re giving up getting a little tipsy (or very, very tipsy) at your holiday parties – just get ready for some extra gym time to burn that alcohol off.

But you might want to wait a couple days for that headache to clear before you hit the gym ;-).

6. Bring your own dish.

Make a super-healthy, tasty dish to bring to your parties. That way, you know you’re eating at least one dish that’s going to contribute to your fitness and weight loss goals.

Before you put anything else on your plate, put a healthy (pun intended) serving of it on your plate. That way you have less room for the unhealthy stuff.

7. Use a smaller plate.

Buffets that make you pay for food by the pound learned this trick a while ago: whatever size container you give people, they’ll fill it up and eat it. Therefore, give yourself a smaller plate.

Sure, you might look like a weirdo asking for a small plate, but when your abs are looking amazing, your friends and family will start to catch on.

You’d be surprised by how little you actually need to get full. Start with one small plate that’s balanced with protein, healthy fats, whole grain carbs and veggies. That might be all you need to get full for the night.

And if it’s not? No worries, go back for another small plate. Two small plates are likely still less calories than one mega plate.

Got some tips of your own to share? Or questions? Scroll down and leave Amber a comment below!

Amber will be glad to answer any questions you might have. So don’t be shy now! Scroll down and leave us your thoughts.

Thanks, Amber, for the awesome info. If you can get away with cheat meals and look how you do – then we all can, right?

Amber Lynn of


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4 Replies to “How to Enjoy the Holidays… And Not Gain a Pound.”

  1. This is FANTASTIC – great reminder and motivation : )
    Question about workout time: I tend to work out in the morning, but everyone wants to eat around 5/6pm at night. Should I switch my workout till later or still do a morning workout but add in a brisk walk?

    Also, I’ve read that its healthier to have lunch as the biggest meal of the day rather than dinner. This year, I’ve actually managed to persuade the fam to do Christmas lunch (like around 2pm) instead of Christmas dinner. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      You should stick with your regular morning work out and add your brisk walk after dinner. Keep that metabolism going!

      I don’t agree with not eating after 5:00 because I eat up until I go to bed even at midnight. It keeps the metabolism going while you sleep. Now, I don’t recommend eating just anything at this time, so I stick with casein proteins like yogurt, protein pudding, or cottage cheese.

      I think Christmas or holiday dinners/lunches are a time to enjoy the foods you love; that day. So make it a “cheat day” and savor that piece of pie, or brownie. You don’t have to go crazy, but enjoy a piece. You are not going to gain fat in one day. 🙂 However, if you indulge every day leading up to the holiday, well that is a different story.

      So, get your work out in that morning, enjoy the dinner and a dessert with your family, take a brisk walk, and have a great holiday!! 🙂

  2. Thank you Amber for the tips. I recently have lost 57lbs kickboxing. My problem is that I am fearful to dine out at restaurants or eat a treat or two. Very afraid of the extra calories and gaining the weight back. I know dining out has extra calories and so aftraid if I go back to allowing treats I will binge on them. How do you live in balance and moderation? How often do you dine out or allow the occasional sweet? I love sweets! I have not had them in a year but don’t want to deprive myself any longer as it could lead to a binge. I need to find a way to live in the middle ground. Any advice?

    1. Hi Kim,

      First, congrats on your losing 57 lbs from!! You should be very proud of yourself. Keep up the good work! 🙂

      As far as dining out; which I do quite often when traveling, you should opt for healthier choices on the menu; grilled chicken salad, lean beef, or fish. I usually get a side salad or steamed veggies if something comes with fries.

      For example; today I had a sirloin burger and instead of the bun, I had it in a lettuce wrap. I asked them to put lettuce on the bottom and top of the burger and opted out the fries for sautéed spinach with no butter. I added tomato, grilled onions, mushrooms, and avocado.

      So basically at any restaurant you can get something pretty much healthy. Even at Subway, I had them make me egg whites on a plate and I added spinach, avocado, and tomato on top. The guy even said they should put that on the menu. LOL

      As far as splurging, I do it once a week. It’s called Cheat Day! And it makes me so very happy…until my belly hurts. But it’s so worth it! So DO NOT deprive yourself of goodies. Pick a day and splurge away. You will go insane if you don’t cheat with goodies once a week.

      I like to use this analogy…it’s like if you have too much alcohol on a Friday night and the next day or even that night you say to yourself “I’m never drinking again”. But, the following weekend, what do you do? Perhaps have a drink or two. It’s like that with cheat meals and eating clean all week. Your body is so used to the good foods that when you do finally have that yummy cheat meal your stomach is like “what is this stuff?” You may feel a little queazy, but it felt good going down. Then you say “ugh, I’m never doing that again”. But the next weekend you totally want it again. 🙂

      Anyway, opt for the healthy choices when going out to eat, and treat yourself to something good one day a week. You can even do it a healthier way and have frozen yogurt at one of those Orange Leaf or Pinkberry places and load it up with fruits and maybe something a little extra like cookie bites. 😉 Enjoy it, you deserve it after your hard work of training all week!!

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