The holiday time often brings overindulgence. With parties and sweets, it’s hard to keep up with your fitness and nutrition goals. With colder weather the couch or a warm bed seem so much more inviting than working out in the gym. During the holidays people feel they have so much to do there is no time left to make healthy eating choices and exercise. The good news is it’s easy to get back on track after the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you.
Get Back Into A Schedule
Getting back into a schedule is challenging. You are probably feeling sluggish after your post-holiday indulgence and may not feel up to hitting the gym. If you’ve gotten used to eating at all hours of the day while enjoying big meals and snacking, it’s important that you get back to basics. This means to start eating on a schedule again. Kick start your metabolism by starting your day with a healthy meal and avoid mindless snacking.
If you’ve been skimping on your workout routines due to the holiday season, now is the time to get back into gear. If you’re struggling with where to start, try doing short workout segments at home to ease your body back into being active again. There have been studies that show that short intense workouts can replace long slow workouts. Try to find time to fit in a short but effective 4 minute workout to help get you started.
Drink a large glass of water 20 – 30 minutes before having a meal. This will naturally help you to avoid overeating and get back into regular eating patterns. Water will also help you burn more fat as a study shows that around 10 minutes after drinking water, your body’s resting energy expenditure has been shown to increase by 24%-30%. What this means is your body burns more calories just to keep itself functioning. To understand this, think of your body like an idling car. If the engine runs slowly it will burn a small amount of fuel. If you rev it a little, the engine will run faster and burn more fuel. Studies have also shown that people who drink mostly water rather than other beverages have up to a 9% lower calorie intake.
When you are eating a meal take your time. Chew each mouthful 20 – 30 times. This surprising trick will have an effect on your weight. This works because it takes about 20 minutes for your body to feel full after eating. If you eat too quickly your body will not signal to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. If you eat slowly however you will begin to feel full during your meals, helping you to avoid overeating. A study was done where a group of people were given two and a half scoops of ice cream on two different occasions. The first time they ate the ice cream really quickly. The second time they ate slowly. Blood tests showed that when they ate slowly their appetite lowering hormones had increased by 25% to 30%.
During the holiday season it is not unusual to miss out on sleep. Studies show that when people are sleep deprived their appetites tend to increase. To understand this we have to understand two hormones that our bodies produce. Ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes us feel hunger. Ghrelin is increased when your stomach is empty and decreased after you have eaten. Leptin is the hormone that suppresses hunger and makes us feel satisfied once you have eaten. When you are sleep deprived your body will produce more ghrelin and less leptin making you feel more hungry than normal which makes it difficult to stick to weight goals.
A great strategy to get back on track with getting to bed on time, is to stay away from your devices half an hour before bed. We know it’s hard to resist the urge to grab your phone and scroll away the hours until you feel sleepy, but the truth is, this will simply have the reverse effect you’re hoping for.
It’s Not All or Nothing
It’s easy to overindulge during the holiday season, but don’t let this temporary setback derail your health goals. Forgive yourself and start fresh tomorrow.
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year 2019!