Holiday weight gain is no mystery. At the holidays we love to eat, and that extra fuel means extra padding. Now that the holidays have wrapped up, what can you do about that extra weight? Plenty. Here are some tips for getting rid of those extra pounds and getting back on track with your weight loss goals.
Pull That Sweet Tooth
We have a natural inclination to crave sweets. From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense: our bodies need energy, and sugars supply a ready source. Back when our ancestors lived in trees, easy-to-access energy sources were hard to come by, and going without food was all too common, so our bodies adapted. If our ancestors found a source of food that gave them a substantial dose of energy, they went after it with gusto to ensure they were ready for the hungry days. That rare beehive or ripe fruit tree was a real helpful treat… back then.
Today the problem has reversed itself: sugary foods are far too plentiful. So the first thing you need to do is break your craving for sugar. Add vegetables including dark green leafy vegetables to your plate. Add fiber also. Strawberries contain sugars, but they also contain substantial quantities of fiber. Seek out foods including vegetables and nuts that are high in fiber and nutrients, but low in calories. Keep your fruit intake reasonable, and try to avoid low fiber fruits such as watermelon while you’re focused on losing weight.
Work Those Holiday Weight Pounds Off
Get moving. Regular exercise is vital to complement the changes in your diet and get that holiday weight off. You may find that you crave sweets and junk food less when you exercise.
You don’t need to launch in to a heavy workout. Adding a walk each morning before work is a great way to start including exercise. It is often easier to add exercise when it isn’t an ancillary part of your day, so rather than adding a gym membership (which can feel as though you are having to go out of your way on busy days to get exercise), try adding exercise to your daily routine. If you can walk or bicycle to work, this can be an excellent way to get moving. Also, if you walk or bicycle to work in the morning when you’re enthusiastic, you’ll find that at the end of the day when you really don’t feel like exercise – you won’t have a choice since you have left your car at home!
Make Yourself Accountable
Discuss your weight loss plans with our spouse. Tell your friends. Keep a record of what you eat or when you exercise. All of these help keep you accountable. Even something as simple as placing a check mark on a calendar for each day you exercise can help because you may become acutely aware of the times when you haven’t gotten that daily walk.
Control Your Portions
Eat less. Not a lot less – you aren’t trying to starve yourself. Crash dieting is unhealthy and may cause you to binge-eat and gain weight after you go off the diet. So start by cutting down the amount you put on your plate. Once you’re comfortable with that amount, cut it again.
Going the Distance
Losing weight isn’t a matter of depriving yourself of the foods you love until you reach your desired weight; this will cause you to fall off the wagon very soon after you finish your diet – assuming you get that far. Losing that holiday weight is a marathon, not a sprint. Research suggests the safe amount of weight to lose is one to two pounds per week. Plan on taking your time and get some help if you’re struggling.