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How To Avoid Fat Gain During Thanksgiving And Other Holidays

With the holidays on the horizon, you may be feeling excited about all the upcoming celebrations. You might also be worrying about how you will possibly be able to achieve or maintain your physique goals.

Fact checked by Nattha Wannissorn

Food is an essential aspect of culture and celebrations. We believe you should be able to enjoy holiday meals with loved ones and not sacrifice your goals. 

In this article, we harness our knowledge of fitness and nutrition not only to minimize fat gain and maximize its benefits.

1. Work On Gaining Muscles During The Holidays

couple doing crunches

As the weather begins to turn colder, your body wants to gain weight to prepare for winter, when food is more scarce. It’s normal to feel hungrier through a few different mechanisms:

  • Your body burns more calories in cold weather because it’s working harder to keep your core temperature up.
  • Less sun exposure leads to less vitamin D production. Vitamin D deficiency interferes with leptin, which tells you when you’re full.

When the days are shorter, and the weather is colder, you’re probably more tempted to stay in bed a little longer or curl up on the couch. However, because the cold weather makes you hungry for more calories, it’s a great time to harness the weight gain and extra calories for muscle gain. 

You can optimize muscle mass through weight lifting and eating enough proteins. Increasing your muscle mass speeds up your metabolism, allowing you to indulge more. Greater muscle mass also increases insulin sensitivity, preventing an unhealthy rise in blood sugar and minimizing fat gain.

2. Be Mindful Of The Calories

We know that it’s not just “calories in, calories out” when it comes to weight gain. When the excess calories come from carbohydrates or fat, you’re more likely to gain fat. Whereas it’s really difficult to gain fat if your extra calories come from lean proteins. 

Regardless if your physique goals are your priority, the overall number of calories still matters. You can eat more on some days, and less on others, as long as your overall calories within a week average within your goal range. One way to manage this and still enjoy days when you can indulge is through intermittent fasting or restricting your eating

There are a few different ways you could do this:

  • Intermittent fasting restricts your caloric intake by 60% or more 2-3 days a week or on alternate days.
  • Time-restricted eating limits your hours of eating to 8 to 10 hours or less on most days of the week. 
  • Intermittent restriction restricts your eating to either specific periods of the day or by increasing the time between meals.
  • Continuous restriction restricts your caloric intake by 15-60% daily.

A meta-analysis compared these four methods. All four methods produced the same amount of weight loss. You get to pick which method works best for you. 

Matt controls his overall calories by eating in a caloric deficit five days a week to enjoy eating two days a week. Some people simply enjoy one meal or fast 1 – 2 days a week.

You could also plan around when a holiday event is coming up that you know you’ll want to take advantage of. For example, if you know a party is coming up on Saturday, you could fast until the party or restrict your calories throughout the week, so you’re free to indulge on party day. 

Because there are multiple ways to do this, play around and see what works best for your body. 

3. Lift Weights, Especially With Legs

man using leg press

I already mentioned that increasing your muscle mass can decrease insulin resistance. It’s even more beneficial when you focus on your legs. 

In a study following 299 healthy adults over ten years, scientists compared thigh muscle mass to insulin resistance. Participants with a higher thigh muscle mass were more sensitive to insulin. Remember, higher insulin sensitivity means better blood glucose control and less chance of fat gain.

If you don’t have time to make it to the gym to work on your lower body, even a 15-minute walk before and after a big meal is better than nothing. 

In a study of 31 males with a BMI of 25 or higher, participants increased their walking by 1,000 steps daily. The increased walking improved participants’ insulin resistance and decreased their belly fat. The same is true for women.

Walking at a brisk pace for 15 minutes is roughly 2,000 steps. So, if you do that twice a day, you’ll not only be decreasing your insulin resistance and helping to prevent any weight gain, but you could also get rid of some belly fat.  

4. Optimize Your Blood Sugar Response

We’ve been discussing the importance of decreasing your insulin resistance. Is there an easy way to support your body even more? Definitely. Blood Sugar Breakthrough optimizes your body’s ability to use carbohydrates. It gets glucose to your muscles to be used as energy rather than turning into fat. 

The ten amazing ingredients that make this possible are:

  1. Bee Propolis is an ancient healer that supports healthy blood sugar control and insulin response.
  2. Glycostat® Bitter Melon helps bring glucose to the cells in your liver and muscles to use as energy while also helping your body retain nutrients.
  3. Glucovantage Berberine helps regulate blood glucose levels, supports healthy insulin response, and promotes healthy cholesterol profiles
  4. Cinnulin PF lowers body fat while increasing lean mass in response to the right nutrition and exercise. It also supports healthy blood sugar control and insulin response, especially in people with blood sugar issues.
  5. Chromium lowers your glucose and insulin while also improving your insulin response.
  6. Innoslim is a stimulant-free, plant-based way to reduce fat storage, increase insulin sensitivity, and promote healthy blood lipids.
  7. Benfotiamine plays a critical role in your energy metabolism by helping your body send carbs to the right cells.
  8. Alpha Lipoic Acid is necessary for optimal insulin sensitivity and muscle growth and is a powerful antioxidant
  9. Gymnema Sylvestre improves glucose synthesis and glycogen uptake in your liver and muscles, resulting in muscles that look and feel harder and less body fat gain.
  10. Banaba Leaf helps maintain a healthy sugar balance by moving blood sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells.

The ingredients in Blood Sugar Breakthrough also improve mitochondrial uncoupling. Mitochondria are the energy factories of your cells. When uncoupling occurs, it increases the calories you burn as heat, which can help with weight loss by increasing calorie expenditure.

Thanksgiving family dinner, cutting a turkey

5. Support Your Digestion

Holiday meals don’t have to come with a heavy stomach and the discomfort of overeating.  Efficient digestion helps you feel better and allows your body to use nutrients optimally. Poor digestion and unhealthy gut flora can be inflammatory and predispose you to fat gain. 

Consider supporting your digestion with the following, especially around holiday meals: 


Probiotics are a great way to support your digestion. They support your digestive regularity and produce enzymes that help you digest your food. 

Probiotics also support your gut health. Having an unhealthy gut can lead to inflammation. Having increased amounts of inflammation can contribute to unhealthy weight gain.

A recent meta-analysis examined 27 studies on the effects of probiotics on weight loss and obesity. Twenty-three of these studies showed a positive effect. Therefore, probiotics can help with weight loss and weight control.

Probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum), in particular, may reduce body weight, BMI, and weight circumference, especially in combination with a caloric deficit and exercise.  You can find a great source of this probiotic in P3-OM

Digestive Enzymes

Taking digestive enzymes helps break down your food to maximize digestion and make more nutrients available. The stress of the holidays can deplete your enzyme reserves. While they don’t directly burn fat, they can improve your energy levels, supporting your drive to work out. 

Different enzymes exist for proteins, sugars, fats, starches, and fibers. MassZymes includes plant-based digestive enzymes to break down any food you might encounter. It also has specific enzymes to break down fibers and sugars that are difficult to digest.  

As a bonus, MassZymes include systemic protein digestive enzymes easily absorbed into the bloodstream. When you do find the time to get to the gym during the holidays, it can improve your strength gains and recovery.  

Betaine HCL

Your stomach is filled with hydrochloric acid tasked with breaking down food, digesting proteins, and killing bacteria. 

Betaine HCL is about 76% betaine and 24% HCL by weight. Some clinical studies found that betaine may work as a fat burner, although the dosages typically used in these studies can be between 2 – 6 grams, which is much higher than what you’d get from taking 1 – 2 capsules of a betaine HCL supplement. 

In a meta-analysis of six placebo-controlled studies, 195 participants took betaine supplements ranging from 10 days to 24 weeks. Participants had lower body fat and fat percentages than the placebo group. Therefore, betaine can be effective at reducing body fat. 

So, not only can betaine HCL help you feel more comfortable as you eat your holiday meals, but it can also help you burn fat. An excellent source of betaine HCL is HCL Breakthrough. 

Gluten Digestive Enzymes

So many of the iconic dishes we eat around the holidays, like stuffing, are heavy on gluten. If you’re gluten-sensitive or intolerant, making the gluten-free version is still best. But if you’re concerned about potential small amounts of gluten contamination, Gluten Guardian is a great way to support your gut. 

For anyone else with minor sensitivity or who wishes to avoid gluten, Gluten Guardian can allow you to occasionally enjoy your favorite gluten-containing foods. As a bonus, it also helps break down casein, a hard-to-digest protein in dairy that often causes minor food reactions.

6. Watch Out For Alcohol

girl group drinking beer

If you’re not paying attention, you can drink too many calories and unintentionally gain weight. When you consume alcohol, you tend to make poor meal decisions and may eat more calories and fat than you intended.

A scientific review examined the effects of alcohol on food intake. Drinking alcohol before eating just makes you eat more. Alcohol inhibits leptin, the hormone responsible for telling your brain when you are full, leading to overeating.

Alcohol also affects how you store fat. When you drink, your body is unable to break down fat properly. Longterm, this can lead to fatty liver and higher body fat.

Avoid alcohol altogether, or if you’re looking for a low-calorie (115 cal/1.5oz or less) option, reach for one of the following:

  • Vodka
  • Whisky
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Brandy

7. Avoid Engaging In Emotional Eating

When emotions run high through the holidays, which they tend to do, some people often try to eat away their feelings. You can imagine the repercussions of weight gain. 

Rather than overeating as a response to emotions, deal with them in a positive way. Some strategies include:

  • Practicing Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is a proven way to decrease feelings of emotional unrest, discomfort, and cravings. It increases feelings of happiness while improving your cortisol and blood pressure. 
  • Exercising can protect you against additional weight gain and reduce feelings of stress and mental health challenges. 

Once your emotions are under control, take the time and space to enjoy your food rather than punish yourself. You can do this through mindful eating. When you eat mindfully, you take the time to eat slowly, use your senses, and appreciate the food you put into your body.

Your Free Pass

If you know you’re going to indulge without the digestive misery and throwing off your physique goals too much, be sure to continue to train well into the holidays. Also, use the right digestive and blood sugar support. We’ve got the perfect stack for you. Vacation and Cheat Day Stack and Blood Sugar Breakthrough are just what you need to support your digestion and put as many calories as possible into your muscles, not fat cells.  

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