Like many people, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while spending time with friends and family this past holiday season, but that also meant I overindulged. I’m not sure about you, but I probably ate my weight in cheese over the holidays, not to mention the delicious home-baked goods, and the bread. It’s January, and just like everyone, I’m thinking about shedding the few extra pounds that I gained.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that it’s quite healthy to enjoy the holidays guilt-free, but I also like to get back on track right after. Shedding the holiday weight gain can be as easy as adopting some small habits. If you are also thinking you want to get rid of holiday weight gain, here are some simple ways to get started. I’ve already adopted a few!
How To Lose Holiday Weight Gain: 10 Simple Steps
1. Pump Up the Physical Activity
Losing the extra bit of weight gained during the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean putting in long hours at the gym, but it does mean increasing your physical activity. Little changes can make a big difference, especially over time. Why not lengthen your workouts by 15 minutes? Or, try walking or biking to work instead of driving. Or, take the stairs, not the elevator. Every little bit counts towards keeping fit.
2. Reduce Sweets
A rather obvious point, but cutting back on sweets can quickly reverse unwanted weight again. In January, this should be easy. Why? Because the desserts, candy and holiday baking aren’t as readily accessible as they were in December. There is generally less socializing and less gift-exchanging, and a more health-conscious outlook in January. If you have sweets leftover, get them out of your house so there is no more temptation!
3. Abstain from Alcohol
Again, because January is far less social, there is now less alcohol flowing. I can tell you from experience that by cutting out booze, you can quickly cut back on the little extra weight put on throughout the fall. Just try cutting out wine and beer for 30 days; you’ll be surprised the difference you’ll see.
4. Start your Morning with Lemon Water
Drinking a refreshing glass of warm lemon water every morning provides many proven health benefits. Not only is it packed full of vitamin C, it contains antioxidants. People who drink lemon water on a daily basis often report feeling revitalized; many eventually cut out coffee. It’s a perfect healthy kick-start to your morning. There are 10 reasons to drink lemon water here.
5. Reduce Packaged Foods
Packaged foods always contain higher levels of salt, sugar and fats than good, old-fashioned whole fruits, vegetables and grains. A great way to reset your eating habits is to move away from packaged foods such as pre-made meals and junk food.
6. Start a Cleanse or Detox
January is a time for fresh starts and a new outlook on life, so why not reset your physical self as well? A short three- to five-day cleanse is a perfect way to flush out the toxins, reset your congested digestive tract and restimulate slow energy levels. There are any number of well-established cleanses on the market, including the ever-popular detox teas (which we talk about in-depth here) and juice-only cleanses.
7. Count to Ten
Just because you’ve decided to cut back on excess fats, sugars and junk foods doesn’t mean the cravings will merely go away. You’ve been feeding them all holiday season, after all, and now your cravings are yelling louder than ever! Research demonstrates that if you can wait out a craving for 10 minutes, more often than not it will go away. The next time your sweet tooth starts talking, why not hit the pause button for 10 minutes? I’m willing to bet that anyone can wait that long.
8. Set Reasonable Goals
One of the biggest issues with goal-setting and failed New Year’s resolutions is the fact that people set the bar too high. It’s easy to feel defeated three weeks into an extreme diet, trying to lose 30 pounds. Little goals are perfect ones because they are not only achievable, they motivate you to set the next one. Learn more ways to accomplish your goals here.
9. Chill Out
After the crazy whirlwind of the holidays, it’s time to relax. Why? Because stress slowly whittles away our willpower. I know that when I am stressed, I easily fall victim to eating junk food, giving into my cravings and staying on the couch rather than getting some exercise. By focusing on stress-relieving activities such as meditation and yoga, you can help reduce stress, build willpower and prevent diet-relapse.
10. Apply the Rule of Thirds
Its natural to want to finish your meal when eating out. After all, you paid good money for it, why not finish it? A good method to avoid over-consumption is always to set aside one-third of your meal for take away. Even ask for the takeaway box in advance if that makes it easier! Not only will you leave the restaurant feeling less over-stuffed, you’ll already have something ready for your lunch the next day.
The above suggestions are small ideas with big long-term impacts. Small steps are easy to implement, and most people find them comfortable to maintain over the long term. Nobody is perfect, and even if you indulge in a cocktail or cupcake, it doesn’t change a thing. Don’t beat yourself up over small slip-ups; take a deep breath and try again.