What did I do over the holidays? I ate the foods I love, but I tried to eat them in small portions. By not denying myself I noticed that I didn't overindulge nearly as much, and I definitely didn't binge - an even bigger bonus. Of course I did continue on my intermittent fasting lifestyle the best I could, but even that got thrown off with all the traveling from place to place visiting family.
I'm not going to say I didn't gain weight, but I only gained three pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years - which isn't bad considering I ate a lot of junk. So, how can you take off the extra (dreaded) pounds from all of those delicious holiday treats?
1. Drink water. Thirst is often mistaken as hunger, so the next time you feel like snacking around, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. I recommend trying to drink your 8 glasses a day (I use a cute app called Plant Nanny that helps me track) and sipping water just before sitting down to a meal. Make sure you continue drinking between bites!
2. Set realistic goals. One or two pounds a week maximum is doable. I set my goal to loosing three pounds a week, even though I know it'll be more like two. Setting a reasonable yet higher goal isn't right for everyone, but it helps get me motivated to workout more. Remember, the first 10 pounds are the easiest, and most weight-loss programs recommend stopping after losing ten then waiting to see if you can maintain it. Of course, most people don't follow that - we want that weight gone quicker without waiting!
3. Splurge a little. If you allow yourself to eat whatever you want for 2 meals out of every 21, you won't be inflicting enough damage to subvert your weight loss. The best part is you aren't feeling incredibly deprived, which can cut back on accidentally binging.
4. Count to 10. Studies suggest that the average craving lasts only about 10 minutes. So before caving in to your urge, set a metal (or even a real) timer for 10 minutes. Use this time to tackle something on your to-do list; it's best to choose one that will give you a sense of accomplishment.
5. Eat more often. This method isn't for everyone, but some people who have kept their weight off for more than a few years tend to eat an average of five times a day. Of course these meals are light, but are frequent enough to curb your appetite. These little meals also boost your energy, improve your mood and can even speed your metabolism.
However I maintain my views that it's not for everyone. After attempting this I felt sick, bloated, and I actual gained weight because it just didn't work with my body. Unfortunately sometimes you have to try several methods before finding one that really works for your body and lifestyle.
6. Make weekly resolutions. New year, new goals. Right? Don't make a huge goal, instead break it down. If you make too many changes at once you're likely to get frustrated and throw in the towel. Instead, make one change, such as eating at least two types of veggies daily, every week.
7. 10%. People who start their weight loss journey by focusing on achieving just 10% of their long-range weight-loss goal have the best chance of ultimate success. You'll feel more accomplished with each pound, and you're less likely to feel overwhelmed.
8. Make it spicy. Adding salsa or sirachi as a condiment instead of mayo can add plenty of flavor without all of the fat.
9. Take one-third off. When you eat dinner out, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one-thrid of your meal. Ask the server for a to-go box early in the meal and take it home for leftovers the next day. Try serving yourself one-third less at home as well. This simple tactic could subtract more than 500 calories a day!
10. Stay away from sodas. Soft drinks are a major source of empty calories. These fluids don't satisfy your appetite as well as solids. If you're craving something sweet, you're actually better off chewing it than drinking it because at least it can be somewhat filling in comparison. If you're truly thirsty, reach fro water or unsweetened ice tea.
11. Don't just eat - dine. Eating on the run or in front of the TV invites mindless munching. Instead, set the table every time you eat. Make a conscious choice to sit down and savor every bit. Placing a portion of chips on your best china helps focus your attention so you don't eat the whole bag.
12. Up your protein. Protein can prolong the feeling of fullness better than carbohydrates or fats do. Protein also requires few more calories to digest. Just don't go overboard. Stick to low-fat protein sources like low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat soy snacks, thinly sliced turkey breast, or try my favorite; Tanka Bars! Which you can get at natural grocers.
13. Learn how to measure. It's easy to misjudge portion sizes. Pull out the measuring spoons and cups, especially for full-fat salad dressings, dairy foods, and mayo. And remember, always read the serving size on the back of packages and keep in mind that most are based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet.
14. Make smart substitutions. Look for nutritious low-calorie alternatives to sugary, high-fat treats. You can trade candy for frozen grapes and swap oil-popped popcorn for healthier air-popped. If you're still craving something chocolate-y but don't want to feel guilty, check out Chocolate Covered Katie's healthy dessert blog - this woman is amazing and has some delicious recipes!
15. Have a "party plan." When attending a party, offer to bring a plate (it's only polite). Arriving armed with chopped fresh veggies and a low-fat dip -- or any healthy alternative snack -- insures that you'll have something to snack on without feeling guilty.
16. Think positively. Low self-esteem is a major cause of overeating. Train yourself to focus on your best points rather than your weak spots. Buy clothes that fit and flatter you at your current weight - if you know you'll be losing more weight and don't want to spend a lot on clothes, check out apps like Vinted where you can get cute clothes for more than half off! Updating your hairstyle or going for a makeup consultation can also give you a quick self-esteem boost.
17. Give yourself a break. Pretty much no one reaches their goals, and I'm not just talking weight-loss goals, without making a few mistakes along the way. Tell yourself that you can succeed in losing weight by taking things one step at a time and starting fresh whenever you slip up. If you overeat one night, just get back on track in the morning. If you gain a few pounds, find what you can change that will help you on your journey.
Whether it's an extra 10 or 100 pounds, know that you can do it. Weight gain can happen quickly, but losing it isn't so quick - it's going to be a journey, but you'll be thankful you made the trek. Sometimes life happens and we gain or we lose too much, but that doesn't change who we are inside.