Reversing Holiday Weight Gain
By Sara Bennett, BSN RN
The holiday season is challenging for anyone who wants to stay on track with a sensible eating plan—especially if your willpower is less than superhuman. But after you’ve indulged yourself, we all know that excess weight doesn’t just disappear after the holidays are over.
But, it turns out that you can indulge in tasty foods during the holidays and stay the same size or less. Even better, you can even lose those extra pounds you may have gained after sending your sensible eating routine into hibernation. Here are a few tips to help:
Have a plan. Plan accordingly if you know you are going to be limited on the foods you can eat at holiday parties. Bring some healthy snacks to the party or eat a light meal before going to curb your appetite. Sample the foods at the party, rather than eating a plateful of each dish. If it is a party where you bring a dish, bring something that you know you can eat and enjoy. Remember...plan to succeed or plan to fail.
Drink more water. First, stop drinking your calories. Lay off the juice, smoothies, coffee drinks, soda, and alcohol. Instead, fill up on water, green tea, and herbal teas. Staying hydrated will increase your metabolism, help your liver with its detox, and prevent you from feeling hungry. Keep a bottle with you at all times – in your purse, gym bag, car, and on your desk. Remove all those other things. Keep in mind: out of sight is out of mind.
Eat more fruits and veggies. You’ve heard this one before – eat more fruits and veggies. It shouldn’t require much explanation, but fruits and veggies are low in calories and high in fiber and disease fighting antioxidants. To really speed up the weight loss, eat more veggies than fruit throughout the day.
Get moving, with a purpose. Lace up your tennis shoes and get your body moving to burn calories and increase your metabolism. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do – just pick something you like and do it regularly. Walk, run, cross train, bike, or swim. You can also try tennis, yoga, Pilates, cross fit, boot camp, or weight train. They will all give you great results if you are consistent and work hard enough to challenge yourself.
Get plenty of sleep. Getting enough sleep is key to successful weight loss. Aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night; which is easy to do if you create an environment that is conducive to sleep. That means shutting off all electronics (TV, computer, iPad, smart phone) at least 1 hour before bed so that your brain can produce the melatonin necessary to make you feel sleepy. Lower the lights and do some slow, deep breathing for about 5 minutes before bed. Then dab a little pure lavender oil on your pillow—and off to dreamland you’ll go.
Forgive yourself and move on. Don’t let the thought of overindulging during one holiday keep you from moving forward in your weight loss goals for the rest of the holiday season and into the new year. Take every day as a new day and a fresh opportunity to get closer to your goal.