The holidays are over, and you have surely been bingeing on cocktails, cookies, and high caloric sugar intensive foods, and as a result you have emerged a few pounds heavier and not all your clothes seem flattering. And the first thing most of us do is “google” how to lose weight quickly. You can call this a cyclical demon and you are not alone!
Before mentioning the easiest and safest ways to lose holiday weight quickly, it is important that we know the difference between losing weight and losing inches.
You lose inches when your body burns excess fat around areas such as hips, waist, and thighs. On the other hand, when your body burns more calories than what you eat there is a reduction in the total body mass in the form of water/ fluids, body fat and even muscle. Therefore, inch loss is considered, to be a healthier way to lose weight.
There are a lot of myths, “fad diets” and “fad exercises” floating in the market. You will always hear people advising you to do unrealistic things to lose weight. These things might help you shed those extra pounds rapidly, but it would most certainly leave you feeling starved and deprived. However, the recommended way is to lose weight slowly.
It is known that one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, which means if you manage to lose 500 calories a day by both-tweaking your diet and exercise, you can easily lose a pound in a week.
Now back to losing the holiday weight- here are some effective and safe ways to lose that holiday weight quickly and safely.
1 – Watch your diet
Yes, the truth. Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise, there is no debate here. It is of utmost importance that you make a note of your daily calorie intake. You can either do this by maintaining a journal (I know it can be annoying) or put it all down in a spreadsheet. Either way, adopting this method will make it easier for you to ‘create a deficit’. You can also use an online calorie tracker in case you need assistance.
You can speed up the weight loss by adopting a Low Carb High Fat diet or Keto diet along with Intermittent Fasting. Here, for Keto, it needs to be mentioned that you might have to contend with a condition called the “ Keto Flu” but it is transient, and you need not be hassled.
These tend to give quick results. One of the fastest ways to lose holiday weight is to cut down the carbs as they tend to retain approximately three times the water as compared to any other form of macronutrient. This simply means that if you cut down carbs your body doesn’t retain water.
And in case if you find yourself unable to keep at it, again have a look at your calorie intake and adjust accordingly depending on your physical activities so that you don’t regain the lost pounds.
2 – Get Moving
When we talk/think about weight loss, exercise is the first thing that crosses our mind. In fact, relying only on exercise is futile. Combing exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose the holiday weight than relying on exercise alone.
Aerobic activities like running, jogging, dancing, cycling, swimming or even taking up a sport are excellent ways to kick start your weight loss routine. But that isn’t enough. Rather, combining these activities with resistance training is proven to give quick and effective results.
Lifting weights burns more calories and revs up the metabolism along with increasing your lean muscle mass. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, resistance trainers have shown greater weight loss than cardio bunnies.
Hit the weights at least 3 or 5 days a week, depending on your capacity for the same and then gradually increase the weights. This prevents injuries and unwanted pain. It is known that resistance training depletes glycogen (a form of sugar) makes space for the carbs you eat rather than converting them into fat by storing it as excess energy.
And just in case you want some change and want to beat the boredom, take the stairs instead of the elevator, use the stairs while carrying groceries, partake in housework like mopping the floor while doing a duck walk (an excellent upper and lower body workout).
3 – Say a hello to HIIT
Many people feel that they do not find enough time to work out; and if this sounds like you then it is time you befriend HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). HIIT basically means doing short bursts of exercise where you raise your heart rate (hitting up to 80% of your maximum heart rate) and then cool down for a few minutes and then repeat. Here the advantage is that you can get maximal benefits in minimal time. So, you can expend the same number of calories in a shorter span of time.
Certain HIIT exercises- Burpees (especially the ones that involve a push-up and a leap in the air), Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Mountain Climbers, Push-ups, Lunge Jumps, TRX pull ups.
A word of caution: HIIT might have higher risk of injuries and might not be suitable for everyone.
4 – What should your diet look like?
In case you are not up for following a particular diet then you can simply replace the items on your plate (which means avoiding everything you ate-drank during the Holidays)-
- Up your protein intake like lean meat, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese. This leaves you feeling fuller for a longer time as proteins take time to break down. If you find yourself struggling to get enough protein in your diet, opt to supplement your protein intake with whey protein. It is mostly available online and in health stores.
- Lots of vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grain crackers. Try eating your veggies as many times you can as they are high in fibre, low in calories and can keep you full for longer. If you find yourself craving for something sweet, then fresh fruits and nuts are the best option as they could satisfy cravings as well as provide a plenty of nutrition.
- If you can’t stay away from carbs then make sure to choose complex carbs such as whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice and farro. These take longer to break down once ingested and keep you satiated for longer.
- Frequently hydrate yourself. This will help flush out some of the extra sodium and some of the bloat. According to Alissa Rumsey, a nutrition therapist and a certified intuitive eating counsellor, few foods that could help reduce bloating are- Pineapple, Yogurt, Protein, Sauerkraut and Bananas.
- Totally avoid simple carbs and empty calories. This probably sounds more painful than resistance training; but no pain, no gain- we know that, don’t we?
In retrospect, one has to concede that nothing comes easy in life and there are no free lunches. So if you enjoyed that Christmas dinner a little too much, or had a row of those sugar laden cocktails while celebrating the New Years, there is certainly going to be a price to pay. But, by following the tips mentioned above, you might well be on your way to bringing things back on the right track.