Posted on by Cleverona Kitchen

The holidays may only come once a year, but all good intentions of trying to keep your health and nutrition on track are a lot easier said than done, especially when there is a feast coming for you hot from the oven. According to some estimates, Americans consume up to 4,500 calories during the holidays, which translates to pounds gained. The accumulation of these pounds unfortunately won’t go away so easily. But there are ways you can lose those extra pounds before spring.

If you’re one of those people who gained a few pounds during the holiday season, you're not alone. And the good news is that you can lose the holiday weight gain with these 5 simple rules.

After gaining a few holiday pounds, you may feel like skipping meals entirely just to get back in shape as soon as possible. But doing so will only make you hungrier which would make you eat a lot more than usual on your next meal. This will make it more difficult to stick with a healthy eating program.

What you can do is eat slower. A lot of people eat their food too quickly and carelessly leading to weight gain and other health issues. And those who eat fast tend to weigh more than those who don’t. In fact, fast eaters are up to 115% more likely to be obese than slower eaters  That’s because eating too quickly leads to overeating, as your brain doesn’t have enough time to figure out that you are already full. It takes a certain amount of time for the signal to reach your brain that you’ve had enough. This process takes about 20 minutes, so slowing down gives your brain the time it needs to receive these signals. By eating slowly you’ll reach fullness without having to overeat.

It’s also recommended to consume more of your daily calories at breakfast and fewer at dinner can help you drop more pounds. Eating a larger, healthy breakfast can jump-start your metabolism, stop you from feeling hungry during the day, and give you more time to burn off the calories.

The extent of your activities during the holidays may have been limited to walking to the kitchen and back to the bedroom, but it's important to get moving and more active now. Exercise, while not required to lose weight, can help you lose weight more quickly. It not only burns calories but also puts you in a positive mindset, which can help you make smarter food choices.

But being active doesn’t always translate to exercise. House chores can give you the same result as a 15-minute yoga session. Shoveling snow for one can burn nearly 500 calories. Cleaning the house can burn as many calories and do the same as going up and down the stairs. There are plenty of activities to do around the house that will have the same effect as exercising.

Working from home doesn't help much either. The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Make a point of being on your feet for at least two hours every day, and you could slash an extra 560 calories by the end of the week. Taking frequent breaks can also help prevent your risk of developing anxiety, heart disease, or certain cancers. All of which are potential side effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

If you want to do more to stay active, check out this list of indoor sports you can do this winter.

Drinking enough water is essential to feeling energized and not overeating. It’s also one of the easiest habits to implement. And many health authorities recommend drinking eight, 8-oz glasses of water per day. 

Skip the soda, energy or sports drinks, cocktails, and other sweet drinks that usually contain a lot of added sugar and are usually high in calories. And because water contains no calories, drinking it instead of higher-calorie alternatives can reduce your overall liquid calorie intake. It is also especially important to encourage children to drink water, as it can help prevent them from becoming overweight or obese.

Drinking water may also help you reduce your appetite. When you realize you're hungry, the first thing you might do is to look for food. But you may not be even hungry at all. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger by the brain and it’s more likely that a glass of water is all your body wants. What's more, drinking water before a meal can promote satiation because it passes through the system quickly, stretching the stomach. In other words, drinking water before eating or with food may lead to a reduction of food consumed and thus lead to weight loss. Drinking water in the hour before eating a meal may allow time for your brain to receive signals of fullness leading to less appetite by the time you start eating.

Planning your own meals will allow you to see how much you’re actually eating. This also prevents you from overeating at restaurants, which tend to serve a way bigger portion than you should actually be eating. They also make sure you build up an appetite right before your meal to encourage you to eat more and maybe order dessert.

When we’re too busy to cook, the first thing we do is reach for the phone and order delivery. But caloric takeout coupled with an increase in sweets and alcohol during the holidays isn’t so good for your weight loss plan. Opt for a fast homecooked meal. Though it might come off as tedious, a home-cooked meal doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Have a few easy 15-minute recipes on hand just in case you need a fast meal. 

Meal planning makes sure you have a balanced meal at your fingertips, filled with nutrient-dense food prepped and ready to go. A lot of times unhealthy foods are chosen because of convenience. If we take time to plan our meals, a healthy balanced meal will always be easily available.

To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to eat less food. You can create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories and feel the same fulness afterward.

While it’s true that fruits and vegetables are lower in calories than many other foods, they still do contain some calories. If you simply start eating fruits and vegetables in addition to what you usually eat, you’re just adding calories and may gain more weight instead of losing it. The key is substitution. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of some other higher-calorie food.

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