THE BLOG
12/30/2013 03:51 pm ET | Updated Mar 01, 2014

3 Simple Steps to Stay Slim and SANE During the Holidays

Why can some of your friends eat all the holiday treats they want and stay slim while you start to look like Santa by smelling a fruit cake? And what if you could make your body work more like the body of these naturally thin people? Here's some simple science to get you started.

Your Body Balances Calories for You

Our genetics and hormones combine to create a sort of "set-point" weight that our bodies work to keep us at regardless of how much we eat or exercise. This is why studies show that starvation diets fail for over 95 percent of us and why we don't end up weighing 2,000 pounds no matter how much we eat. [1] [2] [3] Everyone's body works to keep them in balance automatically; it's just that some of our bodies balance us at a more Santa-like set-point thanks to our genetics and hormones. The good news is that scientists have proven that we can change our hormones and get our bodies to work towards a slimmer set-point by changing the quality of the food we eat.

 

Get Your Body to Balance You at a Less Santa-Like Set-Point Hundreds of studies have shown which foods help make our bodies work more like the body of a naturally thin person. I call these SANE foods, SANE because they are:
  • Satisfying -- They fill us up quickly and keep us full for a long time.
  • unAggressive -- They don't rush into our blood stream and cause hormonal chaos.
  • Nutritious -- They provide us with many nutrients per calorie.
  • inEfficient - -They are not easily converted into body fat.

SANE foods are rich in water, fiber, and protein and move us towards a slimmer set-point because they make us too full to overeat (Satisfying), do not trigger a fat storing hormonal response (unAggressive), prevent our bodies from detecting starvation and dropping our metabolism and muscle (Nutritious), and are difficult to convert into body fat (inEfficient). Here's how to shed a Santa-like set-point while eating more -- but smarter.

 

How to Have a SANE Set-Point Lowering Holiday
Research reveals that the key to staying slim "automatically" like your naturally slender friends this holiday season is to eat as much as you want, whenever you want, as long as it's SANE. [4-19] Eating more-but SANEr-is simple during the holidays because water, fiber, and protein rich SANE foods abound.

 

Stack Ranked List of SANE Foods
  1. Non-Starchy Vegetables -- vegetables you can eat raw and generally find in salads such as spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, any green leafy vegetable, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, etc.
  2. Nutrient Dense Protein -- any seafood, organ meats/sweet breads, grass fed beef, free range poultry, eggs, lean conventional beef, lean conventional poultry, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
  3. Whole Food Natural Fats -- almonds, walnuts, pecans, flax, chia, coconut, macadamias, cocoa, etc. (nuts and seeds)
  4. Low-Sugar Fruits -- berries and citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruits)
So while spreading your holiday cheer, enjoy a double serving of a high-protein SANE main dish, accompany that with a triple serving of a non-starchy vegetables, and top it off by savoring whole food natural fats and low sugar fruits. Here's three simple steps to help you stay SANE and slim when Santa comes calling.

 

Step 1: Protect Your SANEity
inSANE starches and sweets are everywhere during the holidays. The office is crammed with cookies. Cakes clutter the counters. Eggnog overflows. We can all preserve our SANEity by keeping ourselves so satisfied with SANE food that we are too full for these sugar bombs -- or at least can enjoy a bite or two and walk away smiling. By going out of our way to eat more non-starchy vegetables, nutrient dense protein, and whole food natural fats, we can "full" ourselves into slimness. We can always -- or at least most of the time -- be too full for dessert. Know you're about to step into an inSANE situation? Eat. Eat a lot, but simply eat SANEly *before* you get to the party or walk into the lounge.

 

Step 2: Splurge SANEly
The holiday season comes but once a year and it's fine to splurge occasionally. The good news is we can splurge SANEly by focusing on fatty rather than sugary or starchy treats. If you have to pick something off of the cheese and meat platter or the cookie platter, splurge on the fatty cheeses and meats. Natural fats are a wonderful treat as they fill us up while keeping our fat-storing hormones at bay. Sugary starches do just the opposite. They make us hungrier while sending our fat-storing hormones soaring. Splurge on fat to avoid storing fat.

 

Step 3: SANEitize Your Plate
Most holiday spreads offer an array of veggies, fruits, cheeses, meats, seafood, nuts, starches, and sweets. Perfect! Fill half your plate up with veggies, most of the other half with seafood and meat, fill in the gap with fruits and cheeses, and enjoy. Still hungry? Repeat the first plate. Still craving the starches and sweets? Go back for thirds. Seriously. The key to long-term SANEity and slimness isn't avoiding food. Hunger isn't healthy. The key is enjoying so much satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious, and inefficient food that you're too full for starchy fillers and diabetes-inducing desserts. The holidays are all about positivity and your eating strategy is no different: Pursue the positive rather than attacking the negative. Starvation isn't sustainable. Skip it. Go SANE instead.

 

...

Combine SANE science with these simple steps and you will be 100 percent satisfied, full of holiday cheer, and improve your biology instead of starving or fighting it. Topping it off, you will receive an amazing holiday gift: the ability to eat a lot of food and then to burn a lot of fat like your naturally thin friends.

Yours in replacing calorie myths with proven science,

-- Jonathan Bailor

Author, THE CALORIE MYTH

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