So what if you had too much to eat during the holidays? Those extra inches around your waistline aren't the be-all and end-all of life; the memory of the holidays with those whom you love is.
The new year is an opportunity to tread a different path to your goals. If losing weight happens to be your primary destination, then you're in luck. This guide takes you through five easy, doable steps to shedding off the extra pounds that you gained in the last couple of months.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Water doesn't only quench your thirst; it helps burn calories too. Scientific studies show that drinking a glass of water, or two, before a meal makes you eat less as the stomach tells the brain that it's full. Water is the favourite beverage of people who hardly have any weight issues because it contains zero calories, unlike alcohol, soft drinks and processed fruit juice.
2. Start With Small Goals
Just because you've gained 20 pounds, it doesn't mean you have to kill yourself in the gym to shed it off fast. Baby steps will significantly reduce your weight if you don't miss a step. That means you have to do something small every day to achieve your goal.
You can start with a 30-minute walk around the neighbourhood, and then complement it afterwards with running, cycling, planking and other exercises. Focusing on one particular area of your body will also help you lose weight faster. So, try working on the belly fat first before moving on to toning your legs and arms.
3. Eat Small Meals Frequently
Contrary to what crash diets teach, eating more will keep the weight off for good than eating less. The word "more" refers to the frequency of eating, not the food portions. So eat more often, but do it mindfully, especially focusing on vegetables and lean protein, but in small servings.
To ensure that you don't go overboard, use a small plate during meals. Fill half of it with your veggies and one-fourth of it with meat. Eating at least five times a day will help curb your appetite, speed up your metabolism and boost brain activity.
4. Beat Procrastination
Procrastination disconnects you from your goals. Never look its way to avoid frustration. If you feel bogged down, or you're just not in the mood to work out, turn your attention to something that will generate positive thoughts and feelings.
Swimming, jogging, dancing and even gardening aren't only enjoyable activities, but they also stimulate the brain to produce happy hormones like dopamine and endorphins. These mood boosters can instantly change your mindset and motivate you to pursue your goals.
5. Shut the Door to Stress
You've been told time and time again that stress is inevitable. It turns up uninvited in different forms. However, if you can spot it from afar, you can quickly shut the door to its face before it gets a foot through. Studies show that people find comfort in food when they are stressed, which leads to increased calorie intake and weight gain.
To avoid resorting to overeating when you're feeling stressed out, close your eyes and perform some breathing exercises. While doing this, count from one to 10 and focus your mind on your goal. The moment you open your eyes, you'll find your stressors more manageable. Other mind-body interventions like yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and hypnosis, are also powerful weapons to combat stress.
By following these five simple steps, you can easily lose weight after the holidays and be ready to face the new year with a positive mindset.