Honestly, who can say NO to sweets?
Holidays are just around the corner, and so are the calorie bomb cookies.
For the average person Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving usually means FOOD, FOOD, FOOD!
Did you know that the most common New year’s resolution is to stay fit, healthy, and lose weight?
You’ve been carefully counting calories, working out, eating healthy and now all those efforts could disappear faster than you can say “cookie”.
Maintaining your progress is even harder because during cold winter times we tend to move less.
Believe me, this is all just a numbers game.
I always say to my clients, work on losing weight and improving the body shape from February to November. Focus on maintaining weight through December and January.
1 pound of fat = 3500 calories
So logically, in order to gain one pound of fat you’ll have to eat 3500 calories more than your body consumes. Which is not that hard since one piece of cake contains a whopping ~260 calories.
Before you say I want another piece of that marshmallow cookie, keep in mind that you’ll have to sweat in the gym for an hour to burn those calories.
To maintain current weight, women have to eat between 1600-2400 calories. This, off course, depends on many factors such as current body weight, how much you move through a day, sex, age, height etc.
Lets say your body requires 2000 calories per day to function properly.
If you eat 2500 calories every day, you’ll gain 1 pound of fat in 7 days.
The problem is that most people go to the extreme, they either eat too much and don’t exercise at all, or they refuse to eat every piece of delicious cake that Aunt Mary made 🙁
You don’t want to be “that” gal!
Balance is the key to maintaining good shape while still enjoying the sweet holiday treats.
Now that you know the math behind gaining weight, lets get to the fun part.
Without further ado let me share my top 11 proven tips to help you avoid weight gain during the holiday season.
1. Don’t stop moving
Well daaa! I’ve been working out for the past year.
Don’t stop now!
Winter is the perfect time to get all cozy and lazy.
If it’s too cold outside to go for a jog, then buy a cheap treadmill or a stationary bicycle and exercise at home.
Remember, your goal is to maintain what you achieved during the year.
Here are a few ideas on how to stay active during the holidays:
- Stand up while working – Standing burns 50 calories an hour
- Buy a Nintendo Wii
- Clean your house more frequently – it’s a win-win for the whole family 🙂
- Avoid elevators, use the stairs
- Go for ice skating – 1 hour can burn up to 500 calories
Don’t let the metabolism slow down!
2. Holidays are not marathons
I’ll start on Monday.
How many times have you delayed starting something just because it’s Saturday?
Instead of merging all holidays and weekends into a one big holiday, every day when it’s not an official holiday, you should get back to your healthy eating and workout habits.
3. Change your goals
Like I said earlier, your main focus during the winter holidays should be to maintain weight.
Put a big hold button on your fitness progress and reflect back to what you have achieved in the past 12 months. I like to look at my before and after pictures and make fitness plans and goals for the next year.
I found that this reduces burnout and makes you feel more motivated to start again later on.
4. Measure your body weight more often
Create, as I like to call it, a holiday weight journal.
Twice a week measure your body weight and waist circumference.
This will help you to timely adjust your workout intensity and eating habits.
By being aware of your current weight, you won’t feel surprised and stressed even if you put on a few pounds.
5. Keep track of what you eat
In that same journal write down how many calories you have consumed during a day.
An approximate guess is enough.
You can use a free app such as MyFitnessPal to keep count of calories and to find out how many calories each food has.
6. Say no to (lots of) alcohol
Lets be honest, there’s no way to completely avoid alcohol during the holidays.
Alcoholic beverages contain a lot of sugar, which also means more unwanted calories.
Relax. Enjoy a glass or two of high quality red wine.
Alcohol in small amounts can be good for you.
For example: Red wine contains a heart-friendly ingredient called resveratrol. Many studies have confirmed its beneficial effects on heart and longevity.
Excess consumption is where the problems lies.
1 (six ounce) glass of red wine contains around 150 calories.
1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories.
The higher the alcohol percentage, the more “empty” calories a drink has.
So choose wisely and drink in moderate quantities.
7. Avoid hunger cravings
There is a good chance that you will be surrounded by guilty pleasures all the time during the holidays.
Wherever you turn your head there will be a calorie bomb just waiting to be eaten.
If you are starving then it’s an easy choice.
Cut the problem at its source. Never be hungry.
Eat a lot of proteins and fibers.
8. Take it easy
Are you aware of the 20 minute rule?
It takes roughly 20 minutes from the moment we start eating for our brain to notice that we are full.
In that time frame, when our gut is actually full but our brain still sends starvation signals, is when we eat more than what our body needs.
Usually we eat like pigs.
Not that I have something against those cute animals.
But we often eat like there’s no tomorrow.
Take it slowly.
Enjoy every meal, every bite.
Chew your food 50 times before you take another bite.
As soon as you feel sense of fullness, stop eating.
9. Water is your best friend
Did you know that often times we confuse sense of starvation with sense of thirstiness?
Instead of processed fruit drinks and sugary sodas that contain nothing but empty calories, make sure to properly hydrate your body with plain old water.
Ok you don’t have to be so harsh on yourself. You can enjoy a glass or two of your favorite sugary drink. Sometime after a delicious meal it just feels right.
It’s New Year for crying out loud!
But here’s a great tip.
Because of its high sugar contents, sodas actually increase thirst.
So instead, first drink a glass of water and then enjoy a glass of ice cold soda. You’ll find that this little hack makes you less thirsty and that you’ll end up drinking less soda.
Again, don’t overdo it. Balance is the key.
I always carry a bottle of water in my purse.
10. Fasting before and after the holidays
If you are in weight loss mode before and after the holidays, then it’s no biggie. You’ll be back to your pre-holiday weight and shape in no time.
Numerous studies have confirmed health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Not only it slims you down, but it protects your brain, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, improves metabolism, keeps your heart healthy, improves blood sugar levels etc.
Fasting can lead to fast weight loss, although it can be risky for longer periods.
Experts advise to limit the fasting periods to no more than 3 days.
However, don’t take drastic measures as this is only a short term solution for losing weight quickly.
That’s why I use it only to lose a pound or two after the holidays and then continue with proper nutrition and healthy meal plans.
11. Portion size matters
Aunt Marry loves to serve its tasty food in beautiful big plates.
Well, science says that bigger plates make us eat more.
Simply ask your aunt for a smaller plate.
One study found that by reducing plate size by 2 inches (from 12 to 10) we typically eat 22% less calories.
That’s all folks!
Print this list and reflect back to it every morning.
If this is too much for you, no problem! Then after the holidays we’ll push it to the limit and burn that holiday muffin top!
I wish you all the best and happy holidays!
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