It’s the Most Edible Time of the Year! Give yourself the gift of starting 2020 off at your ideal health and weight, rather than starting the new year with the added burden of losing the weight you gained over the holidays. Here are 8 tricks and tips to help:
- Commit to the (Fit) Bit
Sure it’s a busy time with parties or shopping after work—all the more reason to start your day with a workout. Whether you’re on the Peloton at home or attending an early morning Barre or Yoga class at the gym, revving up your metabolism from the get-go each morning goes a long way toward keeping you away from the calorie-laden drinks and second helping at the holiday dinner. Just knowing you made an effort to wake up early and exercise can provide the extra willpower to “just say no” to diet spoilers the rest of the day!
- Step on the scale twice each week
Don’t weigh yourself on December 1, and then dodge the scale until after the New Year. Keep track of your weight gain (or loss!) twice per week so you can judge whether you’re on track or need to pivot to dodge some calories and avoid unwanted weight gain. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty to get an accurate gauge of your weight.
- Don’t skip breakfast and lunch
While it can seem like a solid strategy, skipping meals all day so you can indulge at an evening party isn’t a recipe for success. It puts you in the mindset of being able to eat as much as you want all night, which is never a healthy option. Instead, eat lighter options of your regular meals with lots of high-fiber fruits and veggies, lean protein and whole grains. And don’t forget a big glass of water to help you get fuller faster.
- Be selective at the buffet
Don’t take a big helping of Aunt Thelma’s marshmallow-encrusted candied yams just to make her happy. Be very picky about what you include on your plate. Moderation is the key! Choose lean, healthy, high-protein foods (Turkey without the skin! Sushi! Steamed veggies!) over sauce-laden, high-calorie options. If there’s one dish you eagerly anticipate all year, have a reasonable helping of it – with the knowledge that nothing tastes as good as your first bite, so maybe only indulge in five total bites instead of twenty!
- Hack your workout
Even though you’re hitting the gym each morning (see No. 1, above), sometimes you can’t find time to fit in your entire workout or make your favorite Zumba class. That’s ok, here’s a hack for that: Fit in workouts throughout the day in 10- or 15-minute segments. For example, you can do a sequence of 20 lunges, 20 jumping jacks, 20 pushups and 20 burpees several times during the day. Or jump rope for 15 minutes at lunch. Or give yourself time to do your favorite yoga sequence before bed. Or all three!
- Chew mindfully
With so many delicious holiday foods at our fingertips all month, the tendency can be to pile up your plate and wolf it down. Instead, take smaller portions of your favorite dishes and enjoy them more as you chew slowly and mindfully. Close your eyes for a moment and concentrate on the flavorful, rich tastes and focus your enjoyment on a smaller amount for a longer time. Fewer calories and the same amount of holiday delight? Yes, please!
- Adopt the three-bite dessert rule
Don’t swear off your favorite desserts, but do adopt this simple rule that can help keep your caloric consumption down all year: Just enjoy three bites total. As we’ve mentioned, the first bite of anything you eat is always the best, so indulge and enjoy it. Next, have a second bite to savor the flavor again. Then set yourself up for the third, final, farewell bite. By minimizing your number of bites, you can still enjoy rich dessert treats with maximum impact, but on a smaller caloric scale that benefits your overall health.
- Water, water everywhere!
It’s hard to undersell the benefits of drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. Here’s why: sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty. So drink a glass of water first before having a snack.
- Water helps your digestive system work properly, flushing out waste and decreasing your risk for stomach ulcers and heartburn.
- Water helps your kidneys work properly and can reduce your likelihood of having a hangover.
- When substituted for caloric drinks like wine, eggnog or soda, water can help you lower caloric intake and lose weight!