Tips for losing weight over the holidays:
• Don’t go to parties on an empty stomach: Have a light snack before you leave, like a salad with fat free dressing. You are less likely to binge when you get to the party because you won't feel as if you are famished and could eat a horse! Most appetizers have an alarming amount of fat and calories for such a small portion, so arrive prepared, and DON’T stand around the food table. You will be more prone to mindless snacking on those chips!
• Don’t neglect your exercise: There is no “I can do it later”. Every day is important to reaching your goal. Dark and cold days got you down? Go to the gym and get those endorphins pumping! You’ll feel energized and ready to get on with your day. Can’t make it to the gym? Even Christmas shopping presents opportunities for exercising. Opt to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Pick up the pace and walk a little faster when you’re shopping. Ankle weights are also a good investment for burning a few extra calories over the holidays.
• Drink plenty of water: Your body needs H2O in order to break down fats. If your body doesn’t get enough water, it will retain as much water as it can and cause you to bloat and gain water weight. Herbal and green tea (without sugar or cream) is also a good option as the hot water aids digestion and will keep you warm! Aim for 8 cups a day plus, at least, an extra cup for every half hour you exercise. Avoid alcohol as best you can as it will cause you to become dehydrated and will lower your inhibitions. Suddenly, that big chocolate cake looks so amazing you have to have a big piece!
• Write down what you eat: One of the best strategies for weight loss is to write down everything you put in your mouth. That includes all the tasty treats and snacks over the holidays. If you have to stay accountable, you are less likely to mindless snack on what is in front of you and think about how that food will help you reach your healthy goal.
• Take action now: Don’t wait until January for something you can start today! Take baby steps. Start by replacing sodas and sugary juices with plain water. Walk a block or climb a set of stairs, and then increase your activity level periodically. Don’t decide one day that you’re going to get up every morning at 4am and go out for a 5km run, cut out all sugars and carbs, and lose 45 lbs in a month. You will set yourself up for failure and disappointment. If you’ve never run in your life, start by taking walks and incorporate jogging intervals of 1-2 minutes. If you restrict your body from all the things it is used to having, you will get some serious cravings that may lead to binges. Be mindful of portions when eating and look for the healthy alternative to keep you satisfied. Trade a big bowl of ice cream for ½ c frozen yogurt, or a bag of greasy potato chips for a 20g mini-bag of baked Lays chips, if you’ve been good. Healthy weight loss is measured in 1-2lbs per week. Set a reasonable goal of 5-10 lbs in a month.
• Stay positive: Humans are not machines. You will have good days and not so good days. So you only lost one pound last week and you were hoping for more? Celebrate that one pound! It is an accomplishment. Kick its butt out the door and tell it to never come back! Set reasonable monthly goals, like working out “X” number of times each week and if at the end of the month you have met your goal, reward yourself with a manicure or a facial. Something non-food related. There is a long road ahead of you and there are bound to be a few potholes. If you keep working hard, the weight will come off.
• Have fun: Work out with a friend. Read up on inspirational stories of people who lost weight and kept it off. Go to that Christmas or New Years party, but don’t stress. Eat in moderation and keep exercising, even if you don’t want to. You will thank yourself later for it. Buy a new dress and show it off! People notice if you feel confident. You only live once, so be sure to enjoy it!