The holidays are such a joyful, festive time and everybody just wants to relax and have a good time. You’re with your family and friends, opening gifts, singing songs and eating all the food in the world. And the food… Let’s just say Christmas is not the time you’ll make fat-free mashed potatoes. All of that food needs to go somewhere and people tend to gain quite a bit of weight over the holiday season. So what do you do once the holidays are over and you can’t fit into any of your jeans?
Don’t go too far
The best way to get to your pre-holiday weight and shape is to never lose it in the first place. You can still enjoy all of the food on the table without gaining 6 pounds in a week. The thing to keep in mind is intuition: your body is telling you when it’s had enough, and you need to listen to it. So put a little bit of everything on your plate, eat slowly, and enjoy every bite. Not because you’re restricting yourself from eating more, but because overeating will just make the whole experience less enjoyable. If you know you’re going to have a big meal in the evening with your family, try to keep the rest of the day on the lighter side – again, not so that you can overeat in the evening, but because of the nature of the holiday foods: they are full of fat and sugar. Now fat and sugar aren’t in any way bad, but when we eat a lot of them at once, they aren’t the healthiest thing, so consider a salad for lunch.
The fastest way to shake off some weight that you don’t naturally have is to move more. Our bodies have a way of regulating our optimal weight, but just like you override that system when you eat more than you need, you can do it again by moving more. Sure, you can hit the gym, go running or follow fitness videos at home, but why do that when there are so many amazing activities that you can only do in the winter, when it’s cold? Go ice skating and feel the burn in your calves, go skiing and snowboarding and have the time of your life or just go outdoors with the youngest family members. Have a snowball fight, build an igloo or a snowman, or just run around in the snow. Just being in the cold will make you burn more calories to stay warm and moving around the snow is more difficult than moving on dry land, so it’s great exercise.
The holidays are over, your New Year’s resolution is to eat better and there’s no better motivation than to get back the body you had just a few weeks ago. What you need is to focus on eating superfoods: foods that are so packed with nutrients that you’ll get a lot more of the good stuff without eating nearly as much as normal. You’ll probably learn about foods you’ve never heard of before, like Reishi extract, which is taken from the Reishi mushroom, and has everything from immunity boosters to anti-cancer properties. Of course, you want to be careful with dosing extracts like this, even if they are completely natural, because there can be some side effects. And remember that you don’t have to be on a superfoods-only diet. Just eat regular, clean meals at your usual times and avoid the holiday leftovers for in-between snacks.
Choose your sugars
Today our number one enemy is sugar – or so they say. We know that sugar is everywhere. There are only a handful of ingredients that don’t contain any sugar in them, but that doesn’t mean that everything else is bad. What you need to do is choose the kinds of sugar you’re eating. Your regular old white and brown sugar are simple sugars, ones that don’t give your body a lot of the good stuff, but break down and store in all the wrong places. Opposite of them, you have complex sugars, like the ones found in fruits, vegetables and nuts. The problem with ditching sugar is that we are all so used to eating the simple sugars, we feel like we won’t get our “fix” from eating an apple – but you will. Avoid things that have added sugar and focus more on meals in which the sugar comes from the raw foods that you are preparing.
Avoid dangerous fixes
After every Christmas, you’ll see commercials about weight loss shakes, teas, wraps and pills, all promising to make your weight melt away in days. Be aware: this is dangerous and doesn’t work. Most of these products are diuretics, which means that the “weight” you lose is water, and it will come back as soon as you are feeling healthy again and start drinking water. You can seriously damage your system by taking any of these, so avoid them at all costs. Remember the golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true – it is. Make sure that you are making all of the changes to your body in a healthy way. This is also your best chance of starting good habits, like everyday activity and avoiding high-sugar snacks, so don’t think of it as a one-stop shop for weight loss, but as setting yourself up for future success.
Remember that no matter how much you ate during the holidays, you shouldn’t starve or punish yourself afterwards. Simply go back to your normal eating habits and make daily healthy choices and your weight will slowly return to normal. Don’t worry if it’s not all gone by the second week of January. Our bodies take time to change and as long as you feel good and you know you’re making all the right choices, you’ll get there eventually. Don’t forget that most of the people around you are going through the same thing, so you can always find comfort, understanding and support in your friends and family.
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