Food and the holiday season are not mutually exclusive. Yes, you can have a bounty of food without a holiday on the calendar (and, boy, do we know that), but the holidays are not without their bone-warming, sugar coma-inducing, mulled, baked, and, if we’re being honest, guilt-ridden eats. But come Christmas and New Years, there’s a collective mindset change, and we shift from eating our weight in cookies to googling how to successfully go on a cleanse. It’s a cyclical demon each year!
But, before you pledge to drop all the weight you gained and more right away, listen up, and take it one step at a time. Use these steps if you don’t want to fall into adding another five pounds of weight due to quick withdrawal syndrome.
Flush Away Bloat
Looking at the weight gain that we put on throughout the holiday season – some of it is bloat, because it takes a lot of calories to put on fat. So, if we stay hydrated, we can easily flush some of the extra sodium and bloat from our body. If we drink a lot of water, we don’t get those false hunger cues. Also, water is very important for our metabolism, which is important for weight loss.
It’s as simple as this: Every time you eat a meal, incorporate some fresh plants, too. Start your day with veggies with your eggs, or have a salad at lunch, or at least one vegetable at dinner. It’s important to have veggies throughout the day – they’re really high in fiber, which will help keep you full, and they’re really low in calories. They also have prebiotics, which are a fiber, to help you stay satiated, and to help keep your gut flora going. I always say to fill half your plate with vegetables.
Skip the Empty Calories and Simple Carbs
When choosing post-holiday foods, stay away from items that have low nutritional value, like simple carbs and empty calories. These types of foods include cookies, cakes, bagels, baked goods, breakfast cereal, syrups, and soda. Instead,
Keep Your Drinks Clean
Skip all of those festive holiday coffee drinks and cocktails. Those all have hidden sugars in them. It’s cold out, so people are still looking for things that are going to warm them up or for comfort food, but those pumpkin spice lattes and all of those fancy coffee drinks are loaded with sugar. If you’re itching for a drink that’ll still give you that warm and fuzzy feeling, try naturally flavored teas. Give yourself a break from drinking. Cutting alcohol is a really easy way to cut calories, and if you’re not ready to cut alcohol, then at least cut the mixers. Try and keep it clean.
Think Before Going Gluten-Free
If you’re just looking to lose weight, gluten-free isn’t necessarily going to help you. In fact, it could hinder your weight-loss goals. Gluten-free is great if you don’t know how to cut out the carbs that are in your life, but the tricky thing about that is there are a lot of gluten-free substitutes that are full of garbage, and sometimes have more calories than a regular gluten packaged food.
Don’t Forget Strength Training
Don’t skip this crucial form of exercise. Many people, women in particular, neglect resistance exercise. Women tend to stick to aerobic machines or group exercise classes. Weight training is crucial for women, in order to prevent muscle and bone loss that occurs with age. More muscle mass also helps women to better manage their weight, maintain joint flexibility, and improve endurance.
It’s okay to snack when needed, and more if you exercise or have blood sugar imbalances. Snacking during the day can help keep blood sugar levels steady and energy up – if you do it properly. Skip the processed and packaged snack foods, as these have a lot of sugar, salt, and additives. Instead, plan snacks ahead of time and choose fresh or dried fruit, cheese, cut-up raw vegetables, nuts or nut butter, hard-boiled eggs, whole grain crackers, and hummus.