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While the holiday season is well behind us, some of us are still dreading the extra pounds gained in December thanks to the feast of biriyanis, Christmas puddings and warm buttered rolls that came your way hot from the oven. The holidays are for merriment and only come once a year, but it's important to realize the cost of enjoying the extra serving of chocolate cake.

Five pounds may not seem like much, but they could become a long-term problem if you don't act quickly to get any poor eating habits in check. Get on the scale as soon as your vacation's over and develop a plan of action to lose the weight, which could take up to a month or 2. Here are my five ways to lose weight after holiday eating, that I find works every time.

  1. Cut out the sweet stuff

Recent research show that that sugar intake can be addictive and can lead to an unhealthy cycle of cravings and binges. This is largely due to the insulin spikes that follow after you consume foods with high sugar content. Insulin clears the blood sugar and causes storage of extra calories as fat, and causes a sugar crash later, making you irritable, sleepy, and is responsible for "food coma" commonly experienced on festival days. The sugar crash also causes further sweet cravings in order to raise your blood sugar level, but inevitably results in another crash, causing a snowball phenomenon which can be hard to escape from.

With so many holiday parties and weddings ending in delicious milk puddings and other sweets, it definitely is the season of high levels of sugar and fat! Make a vow now to cut back or eliminate ALL desserts or sweets for four to ten days. Although it won’t be easy, this amount of time will cause any cravings that your body has begun to experience to be relinquished. While cravings decrease, your body will begin to prefer naturally sweet foods, including fruit and vegetables. 

  1. Shrink Your Stomach

Did you know that your stomach is "elastic"—meaning it can shrink or enlarge based on the amount of food you consume?

Our stomach wall has nerve receptors that send signals to the brain once it has been stretched beyond a certain point saying that it is full. Individuals with a larger stomach capacity will need more food before the stomach reaches this point. While we cannot alter the actual size of our stomachs (without restrictive stomach surgery such as gastric imbrication), it is possible to reduce the capacity of our stomach by eating less.

If you eat less, over time, your stomach will shrink to feel fuller on smaller amounts of food, making you eat less calories, and keep weight off. Try it. While eating at home or out at a local restaurant, serve less or take 1/3 off your plate. By doing this, you can shrink your stomach after a season of over-eating and subtract hundreds of calories from your daily caloric intake. 

  1. Have more protein

Let's do something we all love. Eat more protein! Research shows that protein is more difficult to digest, leading to less of an insulin spike. This prolongs the feeling of fullness and makes you less hungry at your next meals. Protein also requires your body to burn a few more calories to digest it.

My advice would be to stick to low-fat protein sources like fish, chicken or plain yogurt. Make sure you have a protein at every meal which will cut the excessive eating that often happens when not feeling full. 

  1. Cut back on the alcohol and cordials

When it comes to the calories in alcohol or drinks, the stomach and brain do not register these liquid calories in the same way as solids. We often continue to eat and drink without taking into account the added calories. It is time to cut back on the high sugar drinks or alcohol and find some alternatives for satisfying with healthier beverages.

When thirsty, reach for low-calorie drinks, such as green tea (or tea with little or no sugar), sparkling water, or a pitcher of fruit-infused cold water. People very often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like snacking, reach for water first, drink a few glasses, and wait 20 minutes. Often, your false "hunger" that was actually thirst, will go away. Make sure you are having at least 2 and half liters of water a day between meal times.

  1. Increase Your Daily Exercise or move more

While doing all of these, in order to lose the weight faster, increase your daily movement. After the holidays, resume your normal gym routine if you have a membership or join a nearby gym. Consider investing in 2 kg dumbbells that you can use for weight training at home or follow some HIIT sessions on YouTube. Consider movement as an opportunity to get fit rather than a burden!

breakfast bowl

If you are serious about weight loss or have tried many times only to fail and regain the weight back, learn the biggest health and nutrition secrets most experts won’t tell you in our new workshop “The 9 missing pieces for Burning Body Fat.”

*Book your seat in February to be eligible for the 30% discounted early bird offer. Limited seats, only 10 places left!*

Call Nazreen on 0776865261

Author: Dreamweight
This article was written for mums in colombo by Nazreen Nakeeb, a dietitian and nutritionist who qualified in Australia and returned home to open Dreaweight. Nazreen takes immense pleasure in seeing people stop dieting and instead, establish a positive relationship with food and their body. Her primary goal is to change the way people think about food which enables them to enjoy all food in moderation and feel more confident in their ability to manage their weight and take care of their health for as long as they live.
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