Cracking Your Holiday Calorie Code

Gaining weight during the holiday season has become as much an American tradition as the holidays themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way though. I will explain here the fundamental reason this weight gain happens, and your way out of this vicious pattern.

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 First, I want to suggest that you change your approach and how you talk to yourself about holiday eating. Most people say the following things to themselves and/or others, or something similar:
  • “I don’t want to gain weight during the holidays this year.”
  • “I hope I don’t gain as much weight as I did last year.”
  • “Here it comes again. Foods I can’t resist, and the resulting weight gain.”
  • “I just love those holiday foods too much to resist. My willpower goes out the window during the holidays.”
  • “My darn family makes me go off my good eating habits and drags me down to their level.”

What ever message you tell yourself, even if it’s not listed above, it’s probably similar in some way and is a big part of why the holiday season is such a weight struggle for you.

Want to know why? Just read on.

Recent brain science has discovered that your subconscious mind doesn’t understand “Negations.” It doesn’t really understand any words at all, so not only does it not hear words like, “don’t,” It doesn’t hear the other words either.

Why is it so important that the subconscious be programmed properly, you ask? Well, it’s because your subconscious is the boss of you, and whatever identity it adopts is the one it will create for you. Its job is to remain consistent with that identity, so it will cause you to make conscious and unconscious decisions that support it.

Have you ever lost weight, and then witnessed your self sabotaging that progress by giving in to uncontrollable cravings? Your hand is picking up the food you shouldn’t be eating and placing it in your mouth, all the while your conscious mind is saying “stop,” but your hand doesn’t seem to hear that command. This is a good example of the subconscious mind being more powerful than the conscious mind and overruling it. The subconscious mind (the boss) still has the image of the old you programmed in, and the conscious mind (the Vice President) is being overruled even though it has a different idea of the image you are and should be.

So you might ask, “Then what does the subconscious hear, and how is it programmed?” The conscious brain (mainly the prefrontal cortex) does indeed program the subconscious brain, but not through words, because the subconscious mind can only understand images and emotions.

So the important point here is that it’s not all about focusing on the words you say with your conscious brain, but the images and emotions that result from the words you say.

When you think or say something like, “I don’t want to gain weight during the holidays this year,” the images that are created in your mind are of a fatter you and negative emotions of course go along with them. Those images end up being submitted to your subconscious and the emotions that accompany them cause the subconscious to except them easier. The more you think about not gaining weight and being upset about it, the deeper that scenario is driven into your subconscious, and presto! Now your “boss” is programmed to make sure that happens. And it will. And you will just blame it on a lack of willpower, family influence, busy schedule, etc., just like last year and every year prior.

Yes, affirmations work, but only if they are worded to create the right images and only if those images produce sufficient emotion. This is why so many affirmation coaches suggest saying your affirmation as emphatically as possible. Your subconscious brain operates at about the level of the three-year-old, so even if you’re faking the emotion and as long as you are a good enough actor, it will be adopted into the subconscious almost as effectively as if you really mean it – just like a 3 year old can be fooled (to a point). This creates a snowball effect and an upward spiral, because with enough repetition the subconscious believes it before it can catch on that you are faking it and then it starts to take over and make that message happen.

Your subconscious will act on the majority of the messages it receives. If your subconscious gets the right messages 51% of the time, then it will be programmed in the right direction (albeit slowly). The more the percentage goes up, the faster it gets programmed, until it turns into a snowball effect because it has adopted the new message. Once it has adopted the new message, then it acts on that new identity for you and things get a lot easier. After that, only maintenance is required.

The reason that I talk about “faking it,” is because when most people start this programming process, they don’t even believe their own words because the identity already adopted in the subconscious is so strong.

Here are some good examples of rewording the above affirmations to reprogram your subconscious to help you through the holiday food temptations:

  • “I’m excited to watch my weight stay level or decrease during the holidays this year.”
  • “It will be great to stay leaner this year.”
  • “My food choices this year are healthy and delicious.”
  • “I crave real food. Processed food and sugar are repulsive to me.”
  • “My family wants the best for me and will offer support for my healthy choices.”

Don’t expect to be perfect in this process. You are human after all, so when you fail, just put it behind you, forgive yourself immediately, refocus forward, and keep moving on towards your goals.

There is some recent research that indicates vitamin supplements may help with cravings, because when your cells get all the nutrients they need, they don’t tell you their hungry and make you scrounge for more food. When cells aren’t getting their nutrients, they don’t specifically tell you which nutrient they need, they just tell you to eat more food. That’s why fast food and processed food is only satisfying for a short time, and then it’s actually hunger provoking, because there is no nutrient value in that food. Your stomach might have filled up, and your bloodstream might have gotten a sugar hit, but your cells didn’t get what they need, so they will tell you to go back for more.

Proper and consistent hydration also drastically helps with cravings and hunger levels. When you drink the right amount of water and spread that out evenly through the day, you are allowing your body to get its hydration from the proper place. When you are dehydrated (and over 80% of Americans are), your body has to learn to extract water from the food you eat. When you teach it this nasty little trick, it tells you it’s hungry when it needs hydration. If you’re properly hydrated on the other hand, the body knows it can get it’s hydration from water, so it tells you it’s thirsty to get you to drink more water, instead of telling you it’s hungry to get you to eat more food so it can extract the water out of it.

How much water should you drink? The easiest way to calculate is take your body weight in pounds, divide that by two, and drink that many ounces spread evenly through the day. This formula works great for adults between 100 and 250 pounds. Adults under 100 pounds should still drink 50 ounces or more per day and adults over 250 pounds don’t need to drink more than 125 ounces per day.

Another great technique for controlling your appetite and food cravings is high intensity exercise. This reduces hunger for up to three hours and makes your cravings tend toward healthier food. The best high-intensity exercise is of course the style we do at X Gym. This style is also a great fat burning technique, because you’re fat burning metabolism is elevated for at least four hours after your X Gym workout. The combination of appetite suppressant and fat metabolism increase is a double whammy to help you burn fat and get leaner.

If all else fails, and the candy is irresistible when you’re shopping at the store, then go ahead and buy that candy. You heard me. But don’t eat it just yet. Use that candy to do this video instead: