Guilty of overeating during the holidays? Whether you blame it on those extra helpings of marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, or that extra serving of sweet potato pie, most people gain at least 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Don’t wait to start your New Year’s resolutions! Get fit and fab with these tips to shed the holiday fat.
Stay Hydrated! People often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume and weight to your meal, at least eight cups a day to eliminate extra bloat (and waste). Better yet, have a glass first thing in the morning (which can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent) and have another before any meal (which fills you up so you eat less overall). You should carry a water bottle around with you and always refill it when it’s empty to help you stay full. Staying properly hydrated will help you to burn calories and to lose fat.
Cut Down on Cocktails & Soda
So you had a few too many spiked eggnogs. Remember that alcohol is a source of calories, so the problem isn’t just the sugar and fat. The alcohol itself packs in 7 calories per gram and the stomach and brain don’t register liquid calories in the same way as solids, so it’s easy to go right on eating and drinking—without compensating for the added calories. A 12-ounce beer has 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85. A margarita packs a bigger caloric punch. Even worse offenders are creamy cocktails, such as mudslides — equivalent to drinking a rich dessert. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water. Drink Less Alcohol. Ditto for your nightcap. While a single vodka soda or glass of Cab won’t impede your weight-loss efforts, it’s all too easy for that one drink to lead to another. Stay away from sodas, as soft drinks are a major source of empty calories in the American diet. If you’re truly thirsty, reach for water instead of soda.
Eat More Often
People who have kept their weight off for more than a few years tend to eat an average of five times a day. Light, frequent meals curb your appetite, boost your energy, improve your mood and even speed your metabolism, since the process of digestion itself burns calories. If you’ve got the munchies between meals, try OWYN vegan-protein bars. They combine pumpkin seed, pea protein, and chia, so you can benefit from a complete profile of all 9 essential amino acids, which help in maintenance and development of muscle, hair, skin, and nails. OWYN bars range from 10-11 grams of protein – a perfect amount of protein to fuel all of your on-the-go needs whether pre-workout, post-workout, at work, or busy on-the-go.
Make Smart Substitutions
Look for nutritious low-calorie alternatives to sugary, high-fat treats. Try frozen grapes instead of candy. Use air-popped popcorn instead of oil-popped. Dip fresh strawberries in fat-free fudge sauce for a sensuous chocolaty treat. Swap one meal for salad, this way you get your daily dose of greens in and cut calories from your daily intake. Just make sure that your salad is more of the spinach and arugula variety—rather than the croutons and bacon bits kind. Including greens in your daily diet is imperative. Not in the mood for a plate full of veggies? Whip up a green juice to enjoy the same nutrients, such as vitamin C and magnesium.
Try getting just 15 minutes of exercise in, but make every minute count with some high intensity circuits. To put it into perspective, 15 minutes is about the same amount of time it takes for you to belt three Beyoncé songs. You’ll want to exercise at least 40 minutes per day, and it works best if you break it down into two 20-minute cardio sessions, perhaps one in the morning and one around the evening. The goal: boost the body’s metabolism and to keep that thermogenic process turned up so you can burn off all that holiday fat in a hurry.
By Kinya Claiborne, STYLE & SOCIETY