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Top Ten Nutritional Strategies To Help Shed That Holiday Weight!

The off-season is upon us and so are the tips to remind us of this time. Fortunately implementation of the following nutritional strategies will help tremendously and is easy to do. Learn more...

For many of us, the end of off-season has arrived and it is time to reinitiate focused training. Whether you are training for a century, a marathon, an Ironman triathlon, an adventure race, or would merely like to improve your fitness level in 2004, that excess body fat accumulated during the off-season and holidays can make that transition into training a bit harder.

Fortunately, implementation of the following ten nutritional strategies will help make for a smoother transition to what is bound to be one of your best years ever!

#10 - Maintain A Healthy Outlook On Eating.

    Remember that hunger is the worst enemy of any eating plan. Think of your new healthy eating patterns as a lifestyle change rather than a temporarily fix. When looking to shed body fat, you never want to restrict more than 1,000 calories per day.

    Beyond a 1,000 calorie restriction, catabolism of lean body (muscle) weight occurs, slowing our metabolism down and heightening risk for muscular injury as we train. Restriction of 500 calories per day is more realistic for most and leads to a 1- pound loss of body fat each week.

    To Estimate Your Daily Calorie Needs:

      Step #1: Take body weight in pounds and multiply by 10 calories

      150 pounds x 10 calories = 1,500 calories

      Step #2: Take half your body weight and add it to the number derived in step 1 to obtain your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn every day to breath, pump blood, and hold your pen at work).

      150 pounds/2 = 75 + 1,500 calories = 1,575 calories

      Step #3: If you engage in resistance training at least 2 hours per week, add an additional 100 calories.

      Step #4: For every 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise achieved, add an additional 100 calories.

      A 150 pound female who weight trains twice per week for an hour and does 30 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise needs an additional 400 calories for a total of 1,975 calories.

      Step #5: To adjust for fat loss:

      • For a 1-lb fat loss each week, subtract 500 calories each day.
      • For a 2-lb fat loss each week, subtract 1,000 calories each day.

      1975 calories - 500 calories = 1,475 calories for a 1-lb fat loss/week.

#9 - Do NOT Skip Meals.

    Active individuals need to eat every 3-4 hours as means to keep the calorie burningn engine running efficiently. Calorie or fuel deprivation will bring your metabolism and energy levels to a screeching halt. Furthermore, when blood sugars run low, immune function is depressed ultimately increasing risk for infection.

    In order to prevent low blood sugar and an inefficient metabolism, consume 4-6 mini meals throughout the day until total calorie intake equals your recommended amount. To figure out calories per meal, divide total calorie goal by your goal number of meals.

    1,475 calories / 5 meals = 295 calories per meal or snack.

#8 - Eat Your Largest Meal At Breakfast Or Lunchtime.

    Countless studies have shown that individuals consuming their largest meal in the morning or early afternoon lose weight quicker than those who raid the kitchen in the evening hours. Why?

    Most people are more active during the daytime hours, allowing them to effectively use those breakfast calories for energy rather than storage as fat. In the evening, our metabolism naturally slows down as we prepare ourselves for sleep; therefore, excess calories will be stored as fat.

    Which Meal Is Your Largest?


#7 - Focus On Creating A Colorful Meal Plate.

    50% of every meal plate should be filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies contain a high water content as well as a lot of bulk, which make them a great way to curb your appetite without a lot of unwanted calories.

    Furthermore, the pigment that makes a fruit colorful contains a multitude of health enhancing phytonutrients and antioxidants that will help keep us healthy as we reinitiate focused training.

    Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, trying to eat all the colors of the rainbow, each day. A serving equals 1 medium-size fruit (about the size of a tennis ball), 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked, or 1/2 cup juice.

    At lunch & dinner, make the most of your salad by including a variety of dark green lettuces, fresh cut vegetables, beans, and sprouts topped off with a dab of oil & vinegar dressing or just plain vinegar. Top off each meal by serving fruit as a healthy dessert alternative.

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#6 - Watch Portions Of Less Colorful Foods.

    Calories can add up fast in foods other than fruits & vegetables, especially with high fat foods such as pizza, fettuccini alfredo, and cheesecake. You can block that urge to overeat by offering yourself smaller portions.

    Start by taking the smallest plate available, which will help make the portions appear larger. Also, dish up petiteservings-a dab of this and a pinch of that. You'll spare yourself unwanted calories but still taste the foods you love.

#5 - Yes, Carbohydrates Are Still Essential.
Just Make Sure To Choose The Right Kind!!!

    Look for protein & fiber content when picking out carbohydrates for your meal plate.

    On the base of the food guide pyramid are your breads, cereals, and grains; look for products that contain at least 3 grams of dietary fiber and less than 12 grams of added sugar per serving.

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    Fiber not only has disease-fighting qualities, it also gives us a feeling of satiety without a lot of calories making addition of this nutrient in your diet a great weight loss tool.

    High-fiber examples from the base of the pyramid include:

    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat Details
    Brown rice 363 8% 84% 7% [ VIEW ]
    Old fashioned oatmeal 389 17% 68% 16% [ VIEW ]
    Wheat bread 361 13% 80% 4% [ VIEW ]
    Whole wheat pasta
    Bran cereals
    Over 6200 Foods In A Searchable Database!

    Fruits, vegetables, and beans also contain significant amounts of fiber content for increased staying power.

    In addition, some foods have a combination of carbohydrate and protein. Protein, like fiber, keeps our blood sugars stable and provides us with a feeling of satiety. Examples include:

    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat Details
    Nonfat yogurt 102 17% 75% 10% [ VIEW ]
    Skim milk 35 39% 55% 5% [ VIEW ]
    Lowfat cottage cheese 72 69% 15% 13% [ VIEW ]

#4 - Eat Heavy Foods.

    Appetite-control - Researchers have found that your brain may monitor how much you eat based on the weight of your food. One study discovered that people automatically stop eating when they consume a particular weight of food, regardless of the amount of fat or calories.

    If the food was light, but high in calories, they could easily consume 1,000 calories without feeling satisfied. But they stopped eating heavier low calorie foods after just a few hundred calories.

    For example, for 300 calories, you could either have a couple handfuls of chips or 5 whole oranges. So instead of eating lightweight foods such as :

    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat Details
    Chips 558 4% 37% 62% [ VIEW ]
    Crackers 473 7% 55% 39% [ VIEW ]
    Rice cakes 387 8% 84% 7% [ VIEW ]
    Popcorn 382 13% 82% 10% [ VIEW ]

    Choose heavier foods such as:

    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat Details
    Apples 59 1% 103% 5% [ VIEW ]
    Bananas 92 4% 102% 5% [ VIEW ]
    Broccoli 28 43% 75% 11% [ VIEW ]
    Carrots 43 10% 94% 4% [ VIEW ]

#3 - Do NOT Go Fat Free.

    Including small portions of such healthy fat sources as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, and fish oils at each meal/snack stimulates the production of a hormone called CCK , which gives us a feeling of satiety and ultimately prevents us from overeating throughout the day.

    Lable Meaning
    Sugar Free Means that it has less than 0.5g per serving.
    Calorie Free Means that the product is fewer than 5 calories per serving.
    Fat Free Is less than 0.5g of fat per serving.
    Saturated Fat Free Tells you that the product con-tains less than 0.5g per serving and the level of trans fatty acids is no more than 1% of the total fat.
    Low Fat Is 3g or less of fat per serving and if the serv-ing is 30g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, per 50g of the product.
    Reduced Or Less Fat Can be used on the label if at least 25 percent less per serving than the original ref-erence food.

#2 - Stay Hydrated.

    Water is the medium for all metabolic activity; without adequate amounts of fluids throughout the day, you will be less efficient at burning calories. Aim at 1/2 your body weight (lbs) in fluid ounces on a daily basis.

    Fluids containing caffeine or carbonation should not be included as part of your fluid intake. In addition, aim at drinking 5-12 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes during your workout and another 16-24 ounces for every pound you lose during a workout.


#1 - Move Before Munching.

    Slip in a quick, vigorous workout before you eat a large meal. Not only does the exercise rev up your metabolism so you are burning calories more efficiently, it also tends to reduce appetite so you end up eating less.

    Is your holiday weight gain making it hard to transition back into training? Are you constantly struggling to maintain an optimal body composition?

Author Bio

Kim Brown, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who provides nutrition counseling and meal planning to active individuals worldwide.

Contact Kim today at to schedule your complimentary initial consultation today! Weight loss specific programs as well as customized meal planning are also available.