How to get back on track after the holidays
Post-christmas bulge? No reason to feel guilty! We all ate and drank too much during the Christmas season. You’d have to be a super-human to resist all the cookies and Christmas treats. These tips will help you to get back on track and jump-start a healthy new year!
#1 Get rid of the unhealthy leftovers
Your kitchen is full of Christmas leftovers, cookies, sodas and chocolate? Ditch them, donate them or throw them away. Sounds hard, but this is the only way to get them out of your mind. Instead, fill up your fridge with healthy and fresh foods.
#2 Organization is everything
When you have some busy days ahead, prepare your food the night before. When you plan your meals and have them already prepped, you are less likely to make unhealthy choices. Also lay out your workout gear and pack your fitness bag, to make sure you have no excuses to skip the gym.
#3 Bring your gut health back
The health of our gut flora has been increasingly linked to obesity, diabetes or a slow metabolism. Our gut microbes were busy over the holidays breaking down the overload of fatty food, sugar and alcohol, and were also starved of the high-fibre foods that they rely on.
While probiotic foods and supplements are well known for helping to boost ‘good’ bacteria, research suggests adding more fibre to your diet can help too. Vegetables, whole grains and legumes can help create a gut environment that encourages the growth of “good“ bacteria.
#4 Find a workout Buddy
There’s nothing more motivating than knowing someone is waiting for you at the gym. Not only will a workout buddy help you avoid skipping exercise when you’re feeling unmotivated, but you will also work harder too.
A recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine proved that exercising with a partner improves weight-loss results, because you are less likely to give up too early. If you can’t find a friend to work out with, invest in a personal trainer.
#5 Exercise DAILY!
Of course there will be days where you have less time, but try to move as much as you can. Every movement counts! When you have no time to hit the gym, take the stairs, go for a walk or do a quick home-workout.
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#6 Give up alcohol for a while
Cutting out alcohol is one of the best ways to get fit again. Not only will you save the extra calories, your willpower will be stronger to resist unhealthy foods as well. Alcohol is notoriously full of empty calories. Some drinks, like a Long Island Ice Tea, have close to 800 calories (!!), more than a main meal. Plus: If you’ve ever gone 30-days booze-free, you’ll know the health benefits it brings: clearer skin, brighter eyes, more energy AND weight loss.
#7 Make sleep a priority
Too little sleep can throw everything out of order and affect your appetite and metabolism dramatically. Always try to sleep at least 7-8 hours per night. Start your bedtime relaxation routine earlier than usual to reset your internal clock. And get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
#8 Water. Water. Water.
Alcohol, sodas, caffeine and other holiday drinks are highly caloric and dehydrating. If you’re dehydrated, both your workouts and your results will suffer. Plus you will have more appetite than normal. Unfortunately, you don’t start to feel thirsty until you lose about two percent of your body weight in water. Get your body back to optimal water content by filling up that water bottle and keeping it with you all day long. Try to drink 2,5 to 3 liters a day.
#9 Sugar Detox
Cutting out sugary snacks and drinks is no weight-loss secret, but also try to avoid starchy, processed and high-carb foods, such as white bread, pasta or white rice. Refined carbs have been stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins and minerals. For this reason, they can be considered as “empty” calories. They are also digested quickly, and have a high glycemic index. This means that they lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after meals.
#10 Start with hot water and lemon
Start your days with hot water and fresh lemon juice – this will kick-start your metabolism and help to flush out the toxins of your body.
#11 Increase your protein intake
By replacing carbs and fat with protein, you reduce the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones.
This leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the main reason protein helps you lose weight. It can make you eat fewer calories automatically. Plus it can help you to build more muscle mass, which is also known to burn more calories (even while you sleep).
When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. The combination of cortisol and insulin triggers the body to store fat in preparation for possible starvation. Therefore it is absolutely essential to avoid long-term stress, if you want to lose weight. If your hectic lifestyle gets you down, try yoga, meditation, or simple breathing exercises.
#13 Be nicer to yourself
Just because you fell off track a bit during the holidays doesn’t make you a failure! Reward yourself with happy thoughts and positive encouragement every day. No one says you have to reach your goal without making mistakes along the way. Don’t be too hard on yourself! If you overeat, just get back on track again and focus on your goal. Tell yourself you can succeed in losing weight by taking things one step at a time and starting fresh whenever you slip up.