Ramen Noodles with Greens

Happy Holiday’s Stronger U Family!  

If you’re like me, your Spotify playlist is pumping you up right now: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, “There’s no place like home for the holidays”, and “Next year all our troubles will be out of sight!” But if you’re on a mission to lose weight, those Christmas carols can sound more like siren songs, pulling you towards the shipwreck cliffs of over-stressing, overdoing it on alcohol, and overeating cookies and peppermint bark. So, do you choose fun this holiday season or do you white knuckle it through and keep dieting? Is it possible to do both? Can you have a great holiday season and still make progress towards your weight loss goals? Yes, you can, and it’s important you believe that. Belief will keep you out of the either/or mindset trap, and keep you searching for the “and still” solutions. 

The best solution? How about a soup-lution!

But first, how many of you can relate to this?

Hey Coach,

I have dinner at my mother-in-law’s on Christmas Eve. She makes a mean lasagna, which I love, and she’s mean if anyone doesn’t eat it. There will be wine, cheese, crackers, and pumpkin pie. My MIL stresses me out, and you know me, I tend to stress eat. I want to enjoy myself, and the food, but I also don’t want to lose track of my goal. I would love to hear your thoughts on how I can pull this off. Any ideas, tips or tricks are appreciated!

Yours Truly,

Every Stronger U Member Ever. 

 I have a gift for you… 

… the gift you’ve always wanted. A diet trick! The trick? Soup. That’s right: soup!

As Bee Wilson writes in her book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, “If you want to trick your body into feeling fuller longer, one of the best ways is to eat soup.” In the chapter on Hunger, Wilson references several research studies demonstrating that soup has remarkable effects on satiety compared to more calorie dense foods. Let that ring in your ears like sleigh bells! Anytime you can feel more full on less calories, staying in a calorie deficit becomes less painful. Food temptation is one thing, but food temptation combined with ravenous hunger is a whole different story, and–spoiler alert!–it doesn’t have a happy ending. 

Eating a macro friendly soup for lunch is a pre-party trick that can help you limit the damage of the lasagna night or any holiday event. It also has tremendous potential for the bigger post-holidays picture of winter which looms for 89 days from December 21st through March 20th. Your long term success doesn’t hinge on the 3 or 5 holiday parties you will attend between now and January 1st; it depends on the systems you build into daily life. Three meals a day is 267 meals this winter. The more often you choose soup for lunch, the more the benefits multiply and compound. Soup can neutralize situations that pose a high risk for weight gain and maximize your weight loss while minimizing any hunger pains on all the regular days along the way! 

Surviving Lasagna Night

It helps to arrive feeling confident and  accomplished, with a maximal macro allowance at your disposal–whether you plan to track or not. Avoid the “I just won’t eat all day” trap because you’ll end up starving, your mother-in-law will do something to set you off, and the spinach dip will be calling your name. Instead, eat wisely all day using a low calorie, high food volume plan that’s centered around soup for lunch. 

In addition to soup, other helpful strategies include:

  • Drinking lots of water from the moment you wake up.
  • Using caffeine early to get you going and be productive. (also an appetite suppressant)
  • Have a low calorie breakfast or pre workout meal such as nonfat greek yogurt, low carb fruits like blueberries and strawberries, and PB2.
  • Working out and  reinforcing all your identity and mindset beliefs. You are the type of person who works out and the type of person who can balance  indulgence and restraint at a party!
  • NEAT. Keep moving all day and get as many steps as possible.

Soup is the backbone of this strategy: it’s hot, it’s comforting, and it slows you down and forces you to be present while you eat. But a quick warning: all soups are not created equal. Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder aren’t the same as a soup that is broth based and includes chicken and veggies or one like minestrone. Let your macros guide your decisions. Check out some Progresso Light canned soups like their Roasted Chicken Noodle. They have cans of soup with only 130 calories that will keep you full for longer than you will believe! As you get more confident and your love for soup grows, make your own. 

From Surviving to Thriving

Even after the holidays are over, turn the soup trick into a soup system or ritual. Most of us run into trouble with their eating at night, so why not save macros for the evening like you did on Lasagna night every night? It’s common for members to eat everything as planned and then end up going back to the fridge or freezer and eating extra things they didn’t plan for. If you’re eating a sandwich that’s 500 calories everyday for lunch, and you sub that out with a soup and half a sandwich, you can save 150 calories and then add a treat to the end of your evening instead. This treat can make you feel like you’re not on a diet at all. Of course, everyone has different macro budgets, so work with your coach to figure out how much and what other foods will pair well with your soup lunch each day! 

What About Sodium?

It’s true that canned soup can be high in sodium, and leave some people feeling bloated and retaining water. The solution to this is to stay hydrated to flush that sodium. Remember, if your weight is up a bit because you had canned soup for lunch, this is different than if your weight is up because you ate a “small slice” of 4 different pies. Look for low sodium soups, and low sodium bases and stocks if you’re making your own soup. Homemade bone broth is extra credit! 

That’s a wrap! 

If you try this soup trick before a holiday party and it works for you, I hope you’ll consider turning into a whole soup system to get you through this winter. You never know: you may wake up and realize it’s suddenly spring, you’ve become a soup connoisseur and you lost a lot of weight over these cold months. 

Happy Holidays!  And may all your New Year’s Dreams come true! 


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