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How to Drop the Holiday Weight Gain

Oops, you did it again. And again, and again. No matter how well you managed your diet throughout the year or how well-meaning your intentions to keep your eating in check, the holiday season once again blew in and sabotaged you with its abundance of delicious treats and savory eats. Now as you take down the decorations and stand in line to return ill-fitting sweaters, you're staring down the new year with an extra pound, or ten, to contend with.

Know that you're not the only one and that you can take it away as quickly as the shopping season went by. It's also important to know that this weight never comes on over night and it certainly isn't ideal to try and take it off over night.

So we've got a few ways that will actually help you shed the holiday weight in a healthy and effective way.

1. No Quick-Fixes. That means no miracle diet pills, no fad diets, no detoxes and nothing that comes with over-hyped promises of being a size four by Super Bowl. These products might help you temporarily shed an impressive number on the scale, but little of that is actually body fat and more times than not that weight will return as soon as you stop using the magic juice/cookie/pill. Do the work the real way and you will greatly benefit.

2. Set an Attainable Goal. Is it ten pounds you want to lose? Great. Want to wear the skinny jeans that fit at Halloween? Perfect. Want to lose 50 pounds by Valentine's? No way. When you make goals and work toward them at a reasonable pace they are much more attainable and you maintain your motivation. Goals that are too lofty or overwhelming can feel defeating when we aren't immediately gratified with results, a common culprit for stopping before the finish line.

3. Don't Starve Yourself. If your plan is to just go hungry for a few days, or weeks, then stop right there. This is definitely not a healthy weight loss approach; in fact, it's quite unhealthy. Kind of like it takes money to make money, your body needs calories to burn them. So don't skip meals, especially breakfast as this fuels your body and awakens your metabolism for the rest of the day. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day, with about 200-300 calories each time. This will help you avoid hungry binges and maintain your metabolism, while keeping you safely under 2000 calories.

4. Write it Down. If you can, try to ascertain just how many calories you've been consuming each day by using a food journal. Given the holiday meals, drinks and snacks, it's probably well over 2000 calories. Notice any patterns and then use that as a lesson learned to move forward. Each person is different but at the most the average adult doesn't need more than 2000 calories each day. Going forward, write down everything you eat or drink during the day and be as specific as possible. After a week, reassess.

5. Get Sweaty. The old adage "calories in, calories out" might sound too simple, but the truth is it works. If you're burning more than you're consuming then you will realize weight loss. Cut the excuses, everyone has at least a half hour to give to a workout each day. You shouldn't quit until you're drenched in sweat - that's the sign of a good workout. You also shouldn't drag yourself to the gym. If that's the case, you need to change the routine and make it something you look forward to and enjoy. Try different machines, introduce a weight training routine, join a class, jog your favorite neighborhood trail or even grab a fun workout DVD you can do at home. When you enjoy it, you're more likely to do it, and when you do it, you're definitely going to lose weight.

As mentioned before, if you really want to lose this weight and keep it off, you can't expect to lose the weight over night. Part of breaking through that weight loss barrier, especially after coming off of such a food-focused season when your body has grown accustomed to lots of sugars and fats, is mentally focusing on the task at hand. More times than not it's going to come down to choices, so choose to make the healthier choice.

A few more quick tips that are certain to help you shed that holiday weight are to:

1. Watch portions and serving sizes. Don't go back for seconds.
2. Replace soda, alcohol and juice with water.
3. Get at least eight hours of quality sleep at night.
4. Eat more whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
5. Stay away from fast-food and limit dining out.
6. Pack a lunch for the office.
7. Make simple swaps like salsa for cheese dip and brown rice for white rice.
8. Squeeze in extra exercise by walking at lunch or while on the phone, or doing push-ups, lunges and squats during TV commercials
9. Limit sugar consumption and replace with natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar.
10. Reward yourself, without food, for reaching each small goal.

Source: Shine

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