YES!  It is absolutely possible to maintain your weight during the holiday season!  Despite multiple holiday parties and good cheer, with a few simple tips and tricks you can put an end to those extra holiday pounds.  

What’s my secret weapon?  FASTING.

I know what you are thinking……. It is just NOT practical to fast during the holidays!!  But I promise, this can work. If you are new to fasting, it is easier than you think. Fasting is simply defined as taking periodic breaks from eating.  

You absolutely can reap the benefits of fasting, without depriving yourself.  There are many methods of fasting, but my favorite, and one of the most popular, is the 16/8.  In a 24 hour period, you fast for 16 hours and eat during 8 hours. In my world, that means skipping breakfast and not eating anything after dinner.  

During my research for The Galveston Diet, I was fascinated by the research on intermittent fasting.  I learned that this practice is extremely important in preventing obesity, lowering cardiovascular risk factors, improving insulin resistance, decreasing inflammation, and preserving learning and memory.  

With all of the treats that magically pop up around every corner during the holiday season, fasting helps you to calorically restrict yourself.  Allowing yourself to eat in blocks of time, gives you the opportunity to walk into a food filled gathering with the mentality of abundance (I can eat and not worry) rather than restriction (I’m on a diet and can’t eat much)!  You will gift yourself with the ability to enjoy yourself during the event without the guilt. A great study demonstrated that intermittent fasting was just as effective as continuous caloric restriction in women – and improved their biomarkers for disease!  

The holidays are also a time of high stress and burnout.  We often find ourselves in situations out of our routine, staying out later and sacrificing “me time” for “we time.”  Fasting can help keep your energy up during the holidays and other chaotic times of the year, when your schedule is packed and you’d rather stay in bed. When we fast for more than 12 hours, our bodies are burn through all of our available sugars for energy, then are forced to burn fat.  The ketone bodies produced by this process actually help us think clearer, problem solve better, and have more energy!

Too often during the holidays we may find ourselves eating lots of heavy, high-sugar or processed foods.  This is actually stressful for the body! But fasting can improve your ability to adapt to stress by changing the way certain cells and hormones work, meaning you’ll be able to better cope with the with sleep, exercise and dietary changes that often happen during the holidays. Fasting has even been shown to increase resistance against disease and to support the central nervous, digestive and cardiovascular systems.

How Do I Get Started With Intermittent Fasting?

First, make a decision that you are going to give this a real try!  The majority of Galveston Dieters say that intermittent fasting was the component of the program they worried about the most, but was actually the easiest to master and stick to!  This video expains more about the science of intermittent fasting and why it is such a key component of The Galveston Diet.  

Second, choose the type of fast that’s best for you. As I mentioned, there are several approaches to intermittent fasting, such as limiting your “eating window” to about 8 hours per day and fasting for up to 16 hours. You can also limit calorie intake every other day to just about 500 calories.

Third, makes sure that fasting is right for you.  Don’t start without talking to YOUR physician (I don’t count 🙂 if you have any of the following conditions:  diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease, an eating disorder, you’re already underweight, or you’re pregnant or nursing.