It’s a fatal, unavoidable equation. Food, a big part of the Christmas festivities, plus lack of time to work out equals holiday weight gain. No wonder a person gains an average of one pound after the holidays. So how do we get rid of that unwanted, unhealthy weight? Here are 5 secrets to losing holiday weight:
1. Set SMART Goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Setting unrealistic goals is like setting yourself up for failure. It can be the first step to a vicious cycle of discouragement, frustration, and, worse, binge-eating to make yourself forget the feeling of failure. So, try to aim for realistic goals and write them all down. Keep track of what you ate and when you ate. Write down your schedule and plan meals ahead to avoid overeating when you’re busy.
2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Get rid of all the temptations. Hide unhealthy food from plain sight so it is harder for you to give in to that craving. Cravings for greasy or sweet food usually last about 10 minutes. Having to spend the effort instead of experiencing instant gratification will give you time to decide if you really are hungry–and if you are, opt for healthier choices. Replace cookies and cake with fruit that will not only satisfy your hunger but are also packed with vitamins and nutrients. Also, the amount of energy you have to spend standing up and getting to the candy and chocolates will contribute to calories burnt!
3. Drink Lots of Water
A lot of the times we think we’re hungry, when if fact we could actually be just thirsty. Water is good for our bodies because it makes us feel “full” without the calories, and it also flushes out all the bad stuff you have been consuming over the holidays. Avoid soda. Keep coffee simple; cut out the whipped cream and stick to skim or non-fat milk.
4. Go for Healthy Food
You may feel like skipping meals to compensate for overindulging over the holidays, but this will do you more harm than good. Skipping meals will only make you hungrier and more prone to binge eating. Replace unhealthy snacks (processed foods, french fries, and chips) with fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Healthy food provide nutrients without the heavy caloric impact. Avoid skipping breakfast. Eating breakfast will give you an energy boost to enable you to engage in more physical activity, which is another key to weight loss. Instead of cutting calories, people who skip breakfast tend to nibble unconsciously and binge during lunch and dinner. Portion control could be as easy as switching your 12-inch dinner plate for a slightly smaller 10-inch one and filling half of the plate with fruits and vegetables.
5. Move! Move! Move!
Avoiding additional gastos this year? Well, here’s good news: you don’t have to enroll in a gym to lose calories! Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, so swim, dance, bowl, take the dog for a walk, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a break from a sedentary lifestyle by being on your feet at least two hours a day.
Achieving weight loss and better overall fitness should be viewed as a long-term lifestyle choice. It is a process that requires commitment and does not happen overnight. These easy, simple steps should help you lose the holiday pounds and keep them off permanently.