How to remain healthy and fit though the Holidays and even more reasons to eat Dark Chocolate

November 29 antioxidants, chocolate, cocoa, darkchocolate, eatclean, fitness, health, minneapolis, nutrition, superfood, workout Comment

Our K'ul friend Becka Swanson,  a IFPA Professional athlete in Fitness/Bodybuilding, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness professional, holistic nutrition coach of 20 years, and a mother of two beautiful girls shares the experience how to get us fit and healthy through the Holiday season!


The Holidays are a time of celebration, family, friends and food. For many it wreaks havoc on the waist line. So how do we enjoy the food and still remain healthy and fit? 

The average person gains 5-10lbs between Halloween and New Years and spends New Year's through Halloween trying to lose that weight, just to start the vicious cycle all over again.

So how can one avoid the holiday weight gain? Are you ready to be shocked?.... Healthy food choices and more exercise. You probably knew I was going to say that. Easier said than done, right? Plus everyone know that to lose weight you need to exercise more and eat more healthy foods and less unhealthy foods.

The secrets of the fit body do not just come from time spent exercising; it is what you do the rest of the time. Healthy individuals have the ability to burn both fats and sugar for energy.  Poor food choices can put your hormones and the whole balance of your body out of whack. When the system is unbalanced, we lose the ability to burn fat as energy. Sugar takes precedence over fat as a source of energy in many of the metabolic processes, and fats remain stored. As a result a very important hormone will be pushed out of balance: Leptin. This hormone tells the brain how much body fat is stored and communicates to the brain when it’s full. As a result of leptin misbalance, the message to stop eating can no longer can be heard. The body will slow metabolism down to conserve fuel, then tell you to eat more and send signals to the brain in the form of hormones and chemicals that trigger less movement. The situation is even worse if there is a cortisol, a stress hormone, which increases blood sugar levels and stimulates the drive to eat nutrient - poor, carbohydrate dense food; the comfort foods that temporarily make us feel good.

The good news is, that even after years of poor choices and weight gain, our body is still very resilient and can bounce back. We have to start looking at our food and at our lifestyle as a control center for the hormones. It is not about how many calories you burn on the treadmill that matters but the combination of correct exercise and proper diet in order to stabilize our hormones in an optimum state. For our body to be healthy as it is meant to be and be stay fit in the long term, we have to gain this balance. And keep it even through Holiday season!

5 Tips to keep fat off during the Holidays:

1. Have healthy snacks available.
Eat a healthy snack to curb your appetite before a party. Your blood sugar will be stabilized and will be less likely to eat unhealthy foods.

2. Don't slack on exercise
Strength training is a huge key in increase your fat burning capability. Having more muscle makes it less resistant to gain weight. When you hit the weights heavy, you will be burning fat hours after you are done. Plus, when you have more lean muscle tissue you are burning more fat at rest vs if you had less muscle.  Do not exercise to burn calories, exercise to build muscle, strength, power and speed. Weight lose happens in the kitchen, getting fit happens in the gym.
Plan exercise before a holiday big meal.  You will feel amazing before eating and subconsciously your mindset is already set on making healthier choices.

3. Hydrate
Being hydrated helps the body's ability to utilize fat as fuel.
Being hydrated eliminates wastes products, and toxins and helps to transport nutrients.

4. Start a fitness tradition
There are 28 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and 35 days to New Years. It's a great time to set a goal, get your family and friends involved  and make it a tradition every year. Some examples might be nailing your push-ups, learning new yoga poses, drinking more water, eating more raw, fresh vegetables, or increase the miles run or walking. It's always more fun when you get more people involved, plus you have accountability partners to keep each other on track.

5. Avoid the all or nothing mindset
Tomorrow never comes. Small, consistent action daily towards your goal will add up to huge results. If you end up over indulging in holiday treats, avoid the mindset that the rest of your day is ruined. That just gives yourself another excuse to put your health off to the next day. Don't beat yourself up; refocus and make the next meal healthier.

The Dark Chocolate in Fit Foodie Life

One of the greatest “before party” and “on-the-go” healthy snacks is dark chocolate. I always include it in nutrition and meal planning for my customers. It is packed with antioxidants and flavanols, vitamins and nutrients, but here is less known science-backed reasons to indulge in dark chocolate every day. The modern study proves that benefits of modest frequent chocolate intake might extend to reduced fat deposition, potentially offsetting the added calories.

And, the last but not least - anandamide, found in dark chocolate, is a neurotransmitter that elevates the mood and boost happiness.

Eat to stay fit!

Yours truly in health

- Coach Becka
Creating Health Through Nutrition and Lifesty




Posted by K'ul Team

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