During the holidays, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving, all good intentions and plans of trying to keep your nutrition on track is a lot easier than anticipated, especially when there is stuffing, gravy, and warm buttered rolls coming at you straight from the oven.
The holidays are a time for family and friends. Let’s face it, they only come once a year. It’s important, however, to realize the cost of delaying your normal routine, exercise and other for enjoying an extra serving of mashed potatoes and small slice of pumpkin pie.
According to many estimates and sources, Americans consume up to 4,500 calories during traditional holiday celebrations including Thanksgiving, office parties, Christmas and other Holiday events. If you’re a social butterfly, those extra calories can add up and you’ll be racking up a few extra pounds.
It’s not really an option not to attend those events, but keep in mind that those extra servings do come at a cost. We have to keep in mind that those extra pounds won’t melt as fast as the snow in the spring. But there are ways to shed those extra pounds before you have to shed the puffy winter jacket.
Here are a few ways to lose weight after holiday eating, that I even follow myself.
Cut Out the Sweet Stuff
Much research shows that sugar intake can be addicting and often lead to an unhealthy cycle of cravings and eating binges. This is largely due to insulin spikes that go hand in hand with foods that contain high sugar content. Researchers say that Insulin drops our blood sugar and causes storage of extra calories which result in fat, and causes a sugar crash later. This can make you irritable, sleepy, and is could be responsible for “food comas”. The sugar crash can furthermore cause sweet cravings in order to raise your blood sugar level, but inevitably results in another crash. This, in turn, causes a snowball phenomenon which can be difficult to get away from.
With many Holiday parties serving sugar cookies and other sweets, let’s all sing: ’tis the season of high levels of sugar and fat!
One suggestion is, after your last holiday dinner, make a vow to cut out ALL desserts for four to ten days. This won’t be easy and will certainly result in cravings. I know, I’ve been there. They will, however, relinquish over a few days. The other great thing is, while cravings decrease, your body will begin to prefer naturally sweet foods, including fruit and vegetables.
Shrink Your Stomach
Secondly, did you realize that your stomach is “elastic”—meaning it can shrink or get bigger based on the amount of food you eat? This is one of the main reasons that weight loss surgeries fail. If we think about it, even a tiny stomach created by surgery can adapt over time to larger amounts of food. Scary, isn’t it? Well, the opposite is also true, which is good news.
In other words, if you eat less over time, your stomach will shrink and you feel fuller on smaller amounts of food, making you eat less calories, keeping weight off. Try it. It’s worked for me multiple times.
Try this, while eating at home or out at a restaurant, take 1/3 off your plate, or put 1/3 less on. Reduce all temptation to finish your entire plate by putting some aside and don’t get seconds. You can also put it in a container or ask your server for a bag to go and save it for lunch the following day. By doing this, you can shrink your stomach and shred hudreds of calories from your daily intake.
Up Your Protein
Let’s do something all of us will enjoy doing. Up our protein! Much modern research suggests that protein itself promotes the feeling of fullness. Why: Simply put, it is more difficult to digest, leading to less of a spike in insulin, and foods that have protein are bulkier. As oppose to eating carbohydrates, if we eat a breakfast or lunch containing more protein, we are often less hungry at the next meal. Proteins also require your body to burn more calories to digest it.
Thus, sticking to low-fat protein sources like chicken, salmon, greek yogurt or thinly sliced turkey breast are just the ticket. Opt for protein during all meals, however, and you will cut out excessive eating that often happens when not feeling full.
Cut Back on the Drinks and Cocktails
All the spirits that we consumed over the Holidays can affect your health in many ways. Besides the sugar and fat, when it comes to the calories in alcohol, the stomach and brain do not perceive these liquids as they do with solids. Often we drink without even considering the added calories.
After the Holidays when thirsty you get thirsty, try low-calorie drinks. Tea (skim milk and sweetener), sparkling water, or a pitcher of fruit-infused cold water. Which we have some great recipes for. Often the brain mistakes thirst for hunger. In light of this, next time you feel like snacking, reach for a glass of first and wait 10 or 15. More often than not, false hunger will go disappear. Low-calorie drinks can also boost metabolism, curb hunger, and refresh with healthy antioxidants. Also, cutting back on the cocktails only will greatly help to lose that extra holiday bulge.
Step Up That Daily Exercise Routine
Last but not least, to lose the weight faster, increase your daily exercise. After the Holidays, resume, or start, a normal gym schedule. If you don’t already have a membership, try joining a nearby gym. Actually, some great deals and discounts start right after the Holidays. It also helps to sign up for a class you can’t cancel to get you on track and start your routine. If you’re already have a gym membership and are dedicated, try some light cardio or weight training on your days off.