How Can I Lose the Weight I Gained Over the Holidays?
By Kara Carper, MA, CNS, LN
January 2, 2017
Many people experience weight gain over the holidays. It might be helpful to remember how and why the weight was gained. Think about how holidays are different from other times of the year: busy schedules lead to a lack of meal planning and preparation, there are more social events usually revolving around “holiday” food and drinks, and it’s more difficult to stick to a regular routine.
Here are some tips that will help to take off those holiday pounds:
Plan & Prep Your Meals
This means going grocery shopping with a list and having the right foods in the house. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight without a plan. Plan your meals out a day or more ahead of time. Ask yourself, “What will I eat for breakfast tomorrow morning, and lunch, and dinner, and snacks?” Prepare foods in advance and pack a cooler with lunch and easy-to-grab snacks.
Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake
The foods you eat during the holidays are likely high in sugar and carbohydrates. It’s easy to graze on candy, cookies, bars, breads and the wide assortment of treats that are readily available around the holidays. Excess carbohydrates increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, and are usually stored as fat in your body. By reducing the amount of carbohydrates you consume, your blood sugar will normalize and fat will be burned as energy.
Measure and Weigh Your Food
Planning ahead and reducing carbohydrates may be enough for you to lose the weight you gained during holidays. But, if you find yourself still struggling to lose the pounds, you may need to weigh and measure your food. It’s important to weigh protein (after cooking) on a food scale because it’s easy to underestimate the amount your body needs. For best weight loss results, aim for 4-6 ounces of protein per meal. Measure the carbohydrates you consume as well. Limit starchy carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, squash, carrots and peas to one-half cup per meal. Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, salad greens and lighter vegetables do not need to be measured since they are low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber and nutrients. If you are someone who can’t stop eating nuts or uses gobs of dressing on salads, then you will want to start measuring your fat intake as well. Try to get 10 grams of healthy fat at each snack and meal and avoid trans-fats.
Gym membership specials abound with the New Year. This is wonderful, and there are countless benefits achieved from exercise. However, hiring a personal trainer or meeting your buddy at the gym is only part of the picture when looking at weight loss. Don’t be afraid to get support with your eating as well. Just as people need help when starting a weight training program, they also need support with an eating plan. Choose the option that’s right for you:
- Meet with a nutritionist for one-on-one support and a personalized eating plan that will help you lose those holiday pounds and restore your energy.
- Sign up for the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program to get the information and support you need to lose weight and conquer your cravings.
- Take the Jump Start Your Metabolism class for a quick nutrition refresher.
Once you have a plan in place, you can stop worrying about your weight!
Listen to Dishing Up Nutrition podcast: Losing Those Same Ten Pounds (Dec 31) for more information.