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Soheefit: A Strategic Approach To Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

Diet / Nutrition / Recipes / June 6, 2013


“The key in this recipe is the melted willpower – make sure it’s completely dissolved before you forge ahead! The taste of overenthusiasm can be a little overwhelming at times, but that’s what makes this so special. I love to pull this recipe out when we have many friends and family over; it’s one that everyone seems to like!” – Jane Doe


Makes 4 servings

Prep time: A fortnight
Cook time: 60-90 minutes


1tbsp zest of overenthusiasm
1oz active dry anxiety
1oz willpower
2 cups cravings, all purpose
1/2 cup lack of preparedness, semi-sweet
dash of hopes
dash of dreams, to taste

A Cupcake Named Disaster


1. In a large bowl, dissolve the willpower in warm water, then stir in active dry anxiety. Allow to proof until anxiety resembles a creamy foam.
2. Add hopes and dreams into the anxiety, then carefully sprinkle in overenthusiasm. Mix in cravings 1/2 cup at a time with lack of preparedness.
3. Knead mixture on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in well-oiled bowl, then cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until anxiety has caused dough to triple in size, about 10-14 days.
4. Punch dough down. Knead for 2-3 minutes, then divide in half. Shape into loaves and divide into 9×5-inch pans. Allow anxiety to rise for 3 hours, or until dough has risen 3 inches above pans. Sprinkle hopes and dreams on top.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes. Mixture is done when hopes and dreams are burnt to a crisp.

It’s a fact that hundreds and thousands of folks put on holiday weight over the winter season. After a few months, the ladies are looking slightly more well-endowed, the men are balancing their beer bottles on their bellies, and muffin tops are becoming the next fashion trend. Many folks will attempt to claim that the holidays cause weight gain – but you’ll find these are the same individuals who are shoveling sugar cookies into their mouths mid-sentence. Umm, right.

If you’ve been dieting, or if you’re thinking about starting your diet at this time, I want you to pause. No, I’m not giving you the go-ahead to pack on weight (“I’m bulking!“? nope, sorry); rather, I’m encouraging you to be realistic. Think about it: with the aroma of snickerdoodles wafting through the house, how much would it suck to have to say no to every single yummy treat? To turn down all the holiday parties? To duck away from the cookies and milk that your kids left out for Santa?

Unless you’re waist-deep in preparation for a photoshoot or a competition and it’s that important to you, I would strongly advise that you focus on simply maintaining your weight during the holidays. That seems a little more feasible, doesn’t it? Here are some tactics to keep under your belt to prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Lift heavy weights on the days you indulge. Holidays or not, I am adamantly against exercising solely for the purpose of “earning” your meal. It’s an unhealthy mindset and is a mere step away from the ominous cycle of attempting to workout for the sole purpose of burning calories, then overeating, then trying to torch it off (hint: it doesn’t work). This is an exercise in futility (woohoo, a pun! I’m soooo clever!).

But back to the point. While I don’t think that running for an hour the morning of your feast will do anything but piss off your knees, at least put the carb overload to good use. Get in a heavy full body or leg session during the day; your muscles will be screaming for carbs and will soak ‘em right up. Might as well shuttle the glucose to something useful, right?

Save your calories for the feast. There’s a lot to be said about planning ahead. If you know you’re going to a Thanksgiving get-together in the evening, then stick to lean protein and fibrous veggies during the day. Take advantage of the time you’re not being social – or at least not at an event that’s centered around food – to eat right. Don’t worry about counting macros or weighing out your veggies (the latter of which I don’t think you should ever be doing anyway); instead, consume your protein ad libitum. As many of you know, protein is the macronutrient that provides the most satiety, so fill up. The last thing you want is to head to a dinner absolutely famished – at best, you’ll still fill up on protein and veggies first; at worst, you’ll dive headfirst into the candied yams and flop onto the floor in a food coma. Don’t take your chances with this one.

Isolate your treat meals. There’s a big difference between one giant fat- and carb-laden meal consumed on Thursday night and a smearing of little goodies throughout the entire week. The former will spike your glycogen levels temporarily, yes, and you may put on some water weight, but otherwise diet-compliant behavior will ensure that the water weight comes right off. On the other hand, grazing on a steady diet of scones will only put you at a calorie surplus day after day, and that’s a recipe for fat gain. I know I’m not the only culprit here; we’ve all done it before. Work that willpower muscle and have the discipline to hold off on the snicky snacks until a designated time.

Eat strategically. You have an empty plate in hand and you’re ready to pile on the food. Be careful: studies have shown that having more food choices available can increase the number of calories consumed. A little bit collard greens, a generous helping of stuffing, a side of cranberries, mashed potatoes drowning in gravy, biscuits galore… the list goes on. It can be scary. Half your plate should consist of some kind of protein source (turkey, pork, beef). Try to go light on the sauce, but don’t freak out if there’s some already in the food. Next, pile some fresh veggies on there – and no, green beans dripping in butter don’t count. Leave about a quarter plate’s worth of space for the “fun” stuff. Want seconds? Start the process over.

Ditch the guilt. OK, so you had a slice of pecan pie. And by a slice, I mean three. And by three, I mean three slices of pecan pie and a liberal serving of ice cream. Omg, I’m so fat, I’m a pig, I have no discipline – this kind of self trash-talk needs to stop now. So what if you overindulged a little bit? It’s the holidays. How often does Thanksgiving or Christmas come around, and on what other occasions do you have an opportunity to gather your entire extended family together under one roof? Make sure you enjoy every single bite of food you eat and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about it. Don’t forget that the purpose of the holidays is far more than just to devour sweets.

Remember, it’s not the holiday food; it’s you. You’re the one in control of the food, and as soon as you realize that – and as soon as you stop seeing holiday goodies as the enemy – you’ll come out the other end unscathed come springtime. (And as soon as the festivities are over, clear your house of any temptation lest you cave and faceplant into another pie. Seriously.)

Who will prevail, you or the cookies? Heed my words and and you will emerge victorious.

But hey, it’s just advise.


About Sohee Lee

Hi there and welcome – I’m so excited you’ve made it here! My name is Sohee Lee and I’m a formerly California-, now NYC-based fitness buff. I recently graduated in June of 2012 with a BA in Human Biology (concentration in Psychosocial and Biological Determinants of Health) from Stanford University. I’m also a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor (though my opinion on competing at this point is pretty mehh) and am currently studying to become a Precision Nutrition certified nutritionist and obtain my NSCA-CSCS.

If you don’t feel like reading everything below (which I completely understand – I mean sometimes I don’t shut up), then here’s a bullet-point version of me in a nutshell:

  • eating disorder for 8 years, discovered weightlifting and fell in love
  • shipped off to Stanford thinking I would study sports medicine, but discovered that fitness was my true calling
  • graduated in June 2012 and spent the summer interning at Cressey Performance, the nation’s elite baseball training facility
  • currently working in Connecticut as a strength coach
  • also an online training and nutrition consultant and a contributing writer to (woohoooooo!!)

How I Got Into Fitness

I’ve been physically active my entire life, starting with swimming at the age of 2. I’ve since participated in gymnastics, tap dancing (yeah, really), cheerleading, baseball, track, soccer, swimming, and cross country. I was an endurance athlete and, at one point, dipped into some dangerous territories. Read more about my battle with my eating disorder here and how I climbed my way out of the abyss.

My Take on Training

I believe in prioritizing the compound movements and saving the accessory movements for later, if at all. I believe in lifting heavy, regardless of whether you’re leaning out or trying to build mass. I believe that training should complement your diet, not compensate for your crappy nutrition. I believe that pink dumbbells should be used for rehab purposes only (ladies, I’m looking at you), and that nothing is quite more badass and sexy than a man or woman who can dominate in the weight room.

My Take on Nutrition

Hearing the following statements make me cringe:

  • Too much protein will damage your kidneys.
  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you skip it, you. Will. Die.
  • Small, frequent feedings keep your metabolism up and everybody should eat this way.
  • Not eating for more than 4 hours at a time will cause your muscles to atrophy.
  • You should never, never eat junk food lest the calories race straight to your hips, ass, and face. And stay there forever.
  • You can say goodbye to alcohol.

Why I Created This Site

I made this site for you, dear reader. For years, I’ve spent every minute of my free time absorbing everything I could about fitness. I’ve worked with a number of trainers, learned what worked and what didn’t, and stumbled through many roadblocks to get to where I am now. Also, I like to write, and I want to share my stories with you. I have many.

I’m a lover of all things psychology (hence my academic area of focus); I’m intrigued by everything that makes us who we are as humans. Social relationships, the psychology behind our decisions… they all play into making us unique individuals.

When it comes down to it, fitness in and of itself is not what I’m passionate about; it’s you and what’s inside that noggin of yours. It’s what exists between me and you – this thing called a connection. A bond. I get such a high off of nurturing something so intangible and watching as we help each other in some way. How can you help me? You can start by helping me help you. Ask me questions, prod my brain, contact me! I’m here to make your life better. Whether that’s by providing you with a thought-provoking or entertaining blog post in the morning as you sip your heavenly java or by working with you as your training and nutrition consultant to transform your physique, I’m here, and I’m ready.

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Natalie Minh

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