How we love the holiday season, enjoy spending time with friends and family, the sharing, the love, the joy and the togetherness. But also, how we eat far more than is good for us!
It starts of is the apéritif with the hors d’oeuvres, then comes the home made paté, the roast Turkey and potatoes, followed by the Christmas cake and the post dinner chocolates and all this served with a nice glass of wine.
The worst thing to do on the first of January is getting on a scale! But our curiosity gets the better of us and we just want to see how much extra weight we gained over the last couple of days. Big mistake! Even though we know that we aren’t going to like what we see, the truth is right there in front of us and it’s depressing!
Don’t feel guilty!
There is no need for stress; it takes 3500 calories to gain one pound of body fat! It is not like we do this on a regular basis, we should just not make a habit out of it.
The Christmas binge eating is about an excess of food and liquids in a short period. Once you get back on track with a healthy lifestyle, you will lose this weight relatively quickly.
Just enjoy these moments with your loved ones instead of counting the number of calories. How often do you get the chance to be sit all together around the table?
What NOT to do
First of all, don’t do a crash diet after the holiday season. Crash diets in general are bad for your health and do more damage than they do good for you. On the short term you might lose some pounds, but you suffer from a loss of energy, on the long term you increase your body fat mass whereas your muscle mass decreases, in fact your whole metabolic system has changed. This is the direct result of a crash diet; you lose weight very quickly, this weight consists of fat and muscles. But as this diet is so restricted, it is very hard to stay motivated, especially when you see that the weight loss goes slower and slower. Finally, you get frustrated and start eating normally again. This time however, you do not gain fat and muscles back, but just the fat. This will make you feel weaker, you have lower energy and feel bad about yourself. Until you try another crash diet, lose weight quickly, get frustrated and gain weight again. And so the famous yo-yo effect is taking place.
Then what should we do?
Here is my top 5 of most effective ways of losing weight after Christmas, but it can be of help at any other time of the year for that matter:
Drink plenty of water, at least 2 liters a day. Water has endless benefits for your health, we all know that we can do weeks without food, but only a couple of days without water. Besides the fact that our body needs water in order to function, it also increases our calorie burning, it helps to reduce our appetite as it gives a feeling of fullness, it helps our metabolism to be more efficient so that it can turn fat and calories into energy. Also, drinking enough water makes us look healthier, does wonders to our skin and flushes toxins from our body.
- Get rid of all the Christmas leftovers
You cannot eat it when it is not there! Give it to your neighbor, friends or parents, anyone but yourself. If you keep it, you will eat it! The temptation will be too big and throwing it away would be a shame. You can surely make someone happy with it!
- Try Dry January
Drinking no alcohol during the first month of the new year is something that many people have done for the last couple of years. This campaign was initiated by Alcohol Concern in the UK back in 2013. It helps make people aware of what alcohol does to your health. Stop drinking for a miónth will be of great benefit to your overall health, but it is also a way of detoxing your body after the excessive drinking of the last couple of weeks. It will help you sleep better and feel more energized. Also, with fewer nights out drinking too much, you look less puffy and you will also see an improvement on your skin as alcohol is known to leave you dehydrate. Last but not least, the urge of eating fat food or salty snacks decreases without alcohol!
- Eat healthy food
Do your cooking yourself so that you know what you use and avoid processed foods from cans, boxes and cellophane packages. Don’t skip any meals, eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day, especially the green leafy vegetables. Use less salt and sugar, this means also pastries, soft drinks, puddings and white bread or white or refined flour products. These should be consumed in small quantities only as they have lower content of fiber, vitamins and minerals than unrefined flour products. Tip: Take the time to make a meal and snack plan for the week, it will take you some prep time, but you will absolutely appreciate it later.
- Get active!
When January comes, the membership status of the gyms reach an all time high, everyone is determined to work off the extra pounds. Usually, around mid February, the membership rate drops to it’s normal level and everyone falls back into their old routines, until next year’s resolutions. The truth is that we do not necessarily need to sweat in the gym for hours and hours, it is far more important to do something that you like. Exercising on a regular basis, like 3 times a week for one hour, is more efficient than wearing yourself out once a week for three hours and doing nothing for the other six days. Your goal is to keep motivated!
We do the best we can!
Let’s relax and be kind to ourselves as well. It was not just the excessive eating and drinking that made us gain a couple of pounds, but probably the stress factor of finishing deadlines before the end of the year, taking care of the Christmas decoration, doing the gift shopping, etc. were not very helpful either. Now that the decoration is put away until next year and the Christmas tree is waiting to be picked up, it is time to relax again; take yourself a nice long bath, listen to some music, get a massage, just take care of yourself!
Hopefully these tips will help you get back on track and give you a great start into the new year! It can also help to share your ideas with your family and friends, get them involved and, why not, have them participate as well. Write down your goals as well as your progress, have a positive mindset and you will succeed!
Here’s to a healthy you!