Guilty of overeating during the holidays? Now is the best time to lose those post-holiday weight gain. The holidays are…
The holidays are often a time of indulgence. With all the lavish family meals, social events, and lots of holiday snacks (packed with salt, fat, and sugar) around, it can be hard to stay on track with diet and exercise. If you’ve fallen out of your fitness routine this holiday season, you’re not alone.
The weight you gain during the holidays has a tendency to stick around longer than intended, according to a 2014 study published in Physiology and Behavior. Making a few changes as to how you eat, and exercise may help you lose those extra holiday pounds and keep them off. Be sure to consult your doctor before embarking on your post-holiday weight-loss journey.
Related: Why Your Weight Loss Diet Fails
If you’ve been overdoing it throughout the holidays you may be tempted to go to extreme measures to undo the damage, but the truth is a few smart, reasonable adjustments you can actually stick with can loosen up those too-tight jeans.
After a hiatus from exercise, the body naturally deconditions itself. Regardless of the intensity of your previous workout regimes, remember that it will take time to get back into working out after any break. Don’t push too hard from the start because you will risk injury. Instead, reinstate your workouts slowly. Begin with shorter and lighter exercises, increasing time and intensity in small increments when you feel ready.
Success comes gradually and sometimes slowly but small victories are still victories. Making goals for yourself can help you stay on track as you get back into the swing of working out and eating right. Set a series of small, attainable goals, this can help keep up your fitness momentum and motivation. You will not lose 100lbs in one month nor will you go from walking a mile in 25 minutes to running a mile in 6 minutes. When you meet a goal, reward yourself with a rest day or fun surprise to avoid overexerting yourself.
Related: Stay Motivated to Achieve your Fitness Goals
Each day, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and eat again every 3 to 5 hours. Starting your day with a healthy meal and enjoying evenly spaced meals will maximize your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, and level out your appetite. I know it may be tempting to cut way back, but starving yourself completely backfires.
Eating too little forces your body to switch into conservation mode and burn fewer calories, which means you’re more likely to hang onto body fat. And undereating can cause your body to break down muscle mass for fuel, which also causes a metabolic slow down.
Unless you want to wind up thinner but flabbier, eating enough and at regular times is key.
Guzzle water every morning, throughout the day, and before bed. Pure water helps flush out toxins and helps your body eliminate waste.
Water does support optimal metabolism and some research shows it may naturally curb your appetite, but it can also help you feel better fast.Drinking more water flushes out excess sodium to help you quickly de-bloat, and it gets things moving in your digestive system to relieve constipation. Aim for 2 to 2.5 liters a day (about 8 to 10 cups).
Stretching, especially when returning from a period of inactivity, is crucial to avoid injury when working out. Taking 10 to 15 minutes before your workout to stretch can not only help you avoid injury but also maximize your performance. After periods of inactivity, muscles are often tighter than usual. Stretching is a great way to loosen up your muscles before a workout.
While what you eat is an important part of your holiday weight-loss plan, exercise helps tip the weight-loss equation in the direction you want.
At a minimum, you should be getting 30 minutes of daily exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk around the mall or a swim at the local pool, each day. But if you want to lose, you need to bump up your daily activity to 60 minutes a day or up the intensity by turning your walk into a run.
To help offset a decrease in your body’s calorie burning as you lose the weight, add strength training twice a week, such as lifting weights or using weight machines, to limit muscle loss.
Related: How to Choose the Right Workout
As always, success in fitness depends upon knowing and respecting your body’s limits. When trying to get back in shape, pay close attention to how your body responds to exercise.
If you experience strains or sprains or even a stress fracture, seek medical evaluation prior to continuing to work out. Inappropriate management or assessment of injuries can lead to a more severe injury, a longer recovery, and problems in the future.
Remember that getting back on track is even harder than starting a brand new routine because when you begin again, you remember how you used to feel.
No one says you have to reach your goal without making mistakes along the way. Tell yourself you can succeed in losing weight by taking things one step at a time and starting fresh whenever you slip up.